- Author: Wendy Powers
I've been thinking a bit about the adage “if it's not broken, don't fix it.” It makes perfect sense. The problem is that when something is working, it's easy to overlook the need to do preventative maintenance, much less consider what happens when that something breaks. That's why many years ago, the timing chain broke in my pickup truck. The truck ran fine, so I didn't bother to heed the recommendation to have the chain replaced at 60,000 miles. Fortunately, I avoided the costly engine damage that could have occurred. As a result, I repeated my behavior in my next vehicle. Again, I was fortunate. But when that replacement timing chain broke only 10,000 miles later, I needed a new engine. The engine was replaced at Ford's expense, but I learned that what had worked in the past would not necessarily be successful in the future.
Last week I met a potato grower from Live Oak, Florida. I was taken aback to learn of this farm because Florida is not, historically, a potato state. The grower changed his crop in anticipation of declining demand for peanuts. Despite the resource investments necessary, that change in crop choice is what keeps the farm in business. We continuously need to look at new ways of doing things, if for no other reason than to be prepared when the old way no longer works. This doesn't mean we make a wholescale change but that we prepare for necessary or preventative change, including testing our options.
The SI Leaders met Tuesday and talked about things they are testing out, like video clinics coming in April and a think tank in the very early stages of development. Program Council met Wednesday and tested out a new process of asking recently reviewed statewide programs to come back and provide us an update on what's happened since the program was reviewed and received recommendations from the Vice President. Greg Ira filled us in on all that the California Naturalist program has done since the program review was completed in fall 2018. He did a fantastic job providing us with an update on program successes and activities. The program continues to expand and reach more people in different ways.
Program Council received an update from Amanda Crump about her new role on the Davis campus that the Extension, Outreach, and Science Communication certificate program she oversees. The program, developed out of a need identified by CE Specialists, will produce future Cooperative Extension professionals and professionals that have a greater understanding of what Cooperative Extension is and does. Along the way, the program provides internship opportunities for graduate students (120 hours). What I found interesting was the breadth of program areas represented by current students. I look forward to following the success of the program and identifying ways to expand the connection with UC ANR.
Now it is time to catch up on emails and prepare for tomorrow's meetings.