- Author: Wendy Powers
Welcome to Luke Milliron, the Sustainable Orchard Systems Advisor for Glenn, Butte, and Tehama Counties, based in Oroville. Luke joined UC ANR on June 11. Officially starting this weekend is Keith Taylor, Assistant Specialist in the Department of Human Ecology at UC Davis. I am looking forward to meeting both Luke and Keith soon. With all of the new hires, we are preparing to kick off a peer cohort of recent hires to help people settle in when they arrive at UC ANR. The idea is that the group can learn from each other, get to know peers who may not work in the same program area, geographic area or at the same campus and, as a group, connect with resources and information from around UC ANR. If anyone has experience with such a program or wishes to share ideas to ensure success, we'd love to hear them. The plan is to discuss it at the New Employee Orientation to be held mid-October so there's plenty of time to share your ideas and experiences.
The Forbes Ag Tech Summit was nice. I'm still digesting the information. But it was great to see Crop Manage in the Innovation tent and meet a number of people from diverse businesses. It was also nice to meet more of UC ANR; people I had only emailed with or spoken on the phone with previously. A keynote from Steve Forbes was really a highlight - turns out he is from an ag background in New Jersey and his wife is the caretaker for their 100-head herd of belted Galloways. President Napolitano received high marks for her keynote the previous day. One start up that was in the innovation competition and caught my eye applies acoustic technology to make smart irrigation systems using an algorithm that factors in the size of water droplets – fascinating. Not quite at the same level, on my ‘fascination scale' as solving odor problems encountered by astronauts but exciting all the same. More homeowners need to identify and adopt irrigation systems that sense when water is needed rather than deploy a clock-based schedule. I also saw some interesting platforms that integrate a multitude of sensor data into a single report – it made me wonder if they were easier to code than LabView (National Instruments; Austin, TX) which is the platform I coded for my labs in Iowa and Michigan. The user interface of the product was certainly nicer than what my group developed but we weren't going for pretty but rather an easy means of seeing real-time conditions.
There's always so many options of things to do each day. As a result of attending the Forbes Summit, I was unable to attend an informal gathering to recognize Chris Greer as he relocates to SLO. He will remain Vice Provost – Cooperative Extension through the end of the September but last week's heat likely has him looking forward to a change in scenery and climate. I'll have to find someone else to chat with first thing in the morning. Vice Provost Greer has been a tremendous asset to me and many of us so we wish him well but won't let him off too easy for the next several months.
I suspect many may be heading out for an extended weekend. Whether or not that's the case, I hope everyone enjoys the weekend and the holiday. Stay safe.