- Author: Wendy Powers
I spent a fair bit of time this weekend reading the draft report to our Federal partners (USDA). It is a big undertaking to craft the 78 pages of activities and impacts, beginning with each of you entering data into Project Board. Strategic Initiative leaders or other leaders within the division comb through the data to pull out key impact stories. Each of those individuals or 2-person teams submits their information to the Program Planning and Evaluation team, and from there it is formatted and compiled before editing to read from a single voice. This year we were able to organize the report around condition changes that will resonate with our partners. Below are a few examples :
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to increased agricultural efficiency and profitability.
- After presenting the sorghum trial results, 92% of 60 growers and industry consultants expressed a willingness to plant the low seeding rates that performed best in trials. Before the workshop, most growers were planting higher seeding rates because of industry recommendations. This increased efficiency should result in good yields with lower seed inputs, and thus improved profitability. (Note: this is a behavior change where follow up can confirm that the change in profitability occurred.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved animal management, productivity, and efficiency.
- In 2017, 780 dairies acquired the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program's environmental stewardship certification qualifying for a 50% fee reduction in water quality fees. The actual value to producers exceeds $2,250,000 annually.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved food security.
- Over 1,200 UC CalFresh participants responded to a survey about their experiences with the Plan, Shop, Save and Cook curriculum, designed to help adult participants stretch food dollars by learning shopping strategies and meal planning. Participants reported improved food security by running out of food less often (36%). Also, 4,000 EFNEP adult graduates reported an average monthly food cost savings of $38.20, which collectively saved California EFNEP families $2,916,340.The survey results support national data that, according to the USDA Economic Research Service, the estimated percentage of food-insecure households in 2013-2015 was 12.6%, which decreased by 3% from 2010-2012 estimates.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to increased ecological sustainability of agriculture, landscapes, and forestry.
- Concerning Asian citrus psyllid, more than 10 million natural parasitoid enemies have been mass reared and released in California in cooperation with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). Establishment has been confirmed at 95% of release sites, parasitoids have spread up to eight miles without human assistance, and pest populations have declined on average by about 70%.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to the increased ecological sustainability of agriculture, landscapes, and forests.
- Extension about oak restoration has led to planning and contracting several projects covering 300 acres. As of 2018, 212 acres of oak woodland have been successfully restored. Additionally, with support from UC ANR, the Natural Resources Conservation Service now has a legal permitting pathway for their oak restoration programs.
Condition Change: UC ANR contributed to improved water use efficiency.
- Garden Walks program participants saved over 9000 gallons a year on average when compared to control groups. Total water savings for all participants over the lifetime of the program are over 27 million gallons to date, and the program has cost less to run over that same time-frame than it would cost to directly buy 27 million gallons at the average rate paid by the Metropolitan Municipal Water District residential customers.
These are just a few of the many, many examples provided that are sure to impress our Federal partners as they have me.
If you happen to be following the ERS/USDA move updates, you will know that California is no longer under consideration despite, in my opinion, meeting the criteria as well as many options in the 27 states that remain under consideration. That's only eight states fewer than the original list; perhaps a strategic move on the part of the Secretary. Pretty much the whole state of Virginia remains under consideration, which makes far more sense to me than Tallahassee (the only area of Florida still under review). And, does anyone even know where Hanover Township, PA is, much less why a private citizen would submit a bid that remains under consideration? Perhaps the answers will be revealed soon.
Over the weekend I received the photo from Mark Bell. Care to take a guess where he is? That answer to follow.
If you happen to be keeping track, I have 61 dossiers remaining.