- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
UC Cooperative Extension in Sutter and Yuba counties is celebrating a century of serving its community.
“Earlier this year, we unexpectedly found two boxes full of our historical records,” said Janine Hasey, director of UCCE Sutter‐Yuba counties. “In those boxes were original reports and photos from 1918 through 1959 for both Sutter and Yuba counties.” The counties merged into one UCCE office in 1974 located in Yuba City.
Sutter County administrator Scott Mitnick paid tribute to UCCE in his blog, writing:
“The Community Memorial Museum of Sutter County conducted a great deal of research into the 100-year history of the Agricultural Extension and discovered that the UC Cooperative Extension has been helping to solve agricultural industry problems from its beginnings. They've tested new crops - they abandoned cotton as a failure here in 1926 - conducted demonstrations on proper tree pruning practices, advocated for the establishment of an adequate system of rural roads, and have played pivotal roles in pest management, best irrigation management practices and orchard nutrition. In 1927 they placed bees in almond orchards and yields increased by 158 percent. Varieties developed by the UC Cooperative Extension make up 85 percent of California's walnut industry. Seven years after introducing safflower in 1950, more safflower was grown in Sutter County than any other in the United States.”
With Hougen's assistance, the UCCE Sutter-Yuba staff wrote articles highlighting UCCE's contributions to the local agriculture industry, which Agricultural Commissioners Lisa Herbert of Sutter County and Steve Scheer of Yuba County published in their annual crop reports.
Beginning on page 15, the 2017 Yuba County Crop Report outlines the history of UCCE in the county, starting with the hiring of William Harrison as Yuba County's first UCCE farm advisor on July 1, 1918, then listing a timeline of contributions that resulted in economic benefit to farmers and reduced impacts on the environment.
The first two pages of the 2017 Sutter County Crop and Livestock Report list major contributions of UCCE to the county over the past 100 years, with a sidebar focusing on rice.
“Our partnership goes back to our first farm advisors, who were housed in the same buildings with the ag commissioners in each county,” Hasey said.
UCCE Sutter-Yuba staff invited elected and appointed officials, 4-H and Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, former UCCE employees, UCCE specialists and UC faculty collaborators, commodity board members and others to celebrate the local UCCE centennial Aug. 24 at John Heier Historic Howard House at the foot of the Sutter Buttes.
After dinner, the guests were given an overview of UCCE history by Chris Greer, UCCE area IPM advisor and former UCCE Sutter‐Yuba director and former ANR vice provost of Cooperative Extension. David Ramos, UCCE specialist emeritus and former California Walnut Board research director, who started his UC career as an extension assistant in Sutter County in 1959, provided his perspective on UCCE for the past 60 years.
During the event, Hasey was presented a Senate/Assembly Resolution for UCCE Sutter-Yuba by Laura Nicholson, senior district representative for state Senator Jim Nielsen, and Joe Brennan, who represented Assemblymember James Gallagher. Sutter County Supervisor Mat Conant presented Hasey with a resolution on behalf of Sutter County and Andy Vasquez, Jr., chair of the Yuba County Board of Supervisors, and Supervisor Randy Fletcher, presented a Yuba County Proclamation.
“It is recognition of our value to the community that the boards of supervisors in both counties have funded our operating budget for CE for 100 years for a non-mandated program,” Hasey said in her closing remarks. “Back in the 1920s and early 1930s, the Giannini Foundation at UC Berkeley did a six-year study on the value of Cooperative Extension in Sutter County and found it was over $3 million dollars for that time period. I'm not aware of another study that has determined the value of CE to these counties since then. We thank you, Sutter and Yuba supervisors, for supporting CE's operating budgets for 100 years!”
“When I started in Sutter County, Hartley was the leading walnut and all the others in production were varieties that were brought in from Europe and elsewhere,” Ramos told Kaufman. “Today, virtually all the walnut acreage is almost all university-developed. It revolutionized the nature of the industry with higher quality and more production.”