- Author: Wendy Powers
It's time for more fun facts:
- Almonds represent approximately 29% of ag receipts in Stanislaus County and dairy brings in 18%
- Mechanical thinning of stone fruit translates to an estimated $1400/acre profit
- Nutria, a rodent pest, is a force to be reckoned with in California. Its orange teeth distinguish it from other rodent relatives. It reminded me of the capybara that were seen everywhere during a visit to the Pantanal. Capybara have been spotted in California.
- Stanislaus County has recently provided support for both a 1.0 FTE Master Gardener Coordinator and a 1.0 FTE 4-H Community Educator
- A local school district provides the land where almond variety trials are conducted
- The UC ANR team in Stanislaus County is beginning to discuss metrics and indicators of progress, as part of their reporting back to the County
These are all things I learned during a recent visit with this relatively new team, many of whom have been with UC ANR less than 2 years. While this may have some suddenly calculating how old they were when these newcomers were born, the upside is that 1) the offices are almost all occupied, and 2) there are new skills and energy contributing to the team environment. I'm excited for this office team. They have great relations with clientele, the county, and each other – provided Roger remembers to bring cake on his birthday.
Today, a group of us talked about communication needs for the division with the intent of these needs/goals translating into a position vacancy announcement for a Director of Communications (I may have the title incorrect). As Scott Brayton pointed out, we are all communicators, each with different primary audiences. Yet, we all need to be part of the effort to enhance communication to a broader audience – whether that is increasing reach to clientele, improve understanding of who we are to others in UC, or conveying the public value of UC ANR work to influencers and supporters. Crafting the message and getting it out there offers a continuous improvement challenge for us all.
Communication, the message itself and how the message is shared, is especially challenging when the topic is controversial or evokes strong emotions. The need for our messages to be balanced and science-based can't be understated. Fortunately, we have a number of people who do a great job at this! Take a look at the blog that Laura Snell hosts. Her 2 summer interns provide the content, under her mentorship. And if that's not a great example of how Laura's work addresses all sides of a topic, take a look at the new video that she and her team produced, working with the US Forest Service. A great example of the important communication coming from Modoc County!
Speaking of Modoc County, the big topic for a group of us heading back from Alturas a few weeks ago was the price of a drink + hot dog at Costco. I stand corrected; Anne Megaro was correct in telling us that the cost was $1.50. That definitely fits my expense budget for the upcoming long weekend. I hope everyone makes the most of the ‘last weekend of summer'!