- Author: Wendy Powers
This week was another fun time at World Ag Expo. The only disappointment was the drive down to Tulare. It looks dry, and the nut orchards were not in bloom this year as they were back in 2017. Elizabeth pointed out that the WAE is often the week before the bloom. I went back and looked at my old posts, confirming Elizabeth is correct in that my recollection of the 2017 bloom occurred the week of February 22. Of course, in 2017, I recall dairies evacuating cows due to all the rain. At least that was avoided this year. And, for perhaps the first year, I was able to get into the correct lane to park in the UCCE parking lot. Accessing the building parking lot is not as simple during WAE week, as you might think.
If you weren't aware, AVP Tu Tran enjoys getting out to program events. He's fascinated by the research and the programs delivered by our talented personnel all across the state. Tu's hectic schedule makes it difficult to get out and see the work in action, but occasionally he makes a getaway. And whether it's networking at the Citrus Gala or kicking the dirt at the WAE, Tu is right at home.
UC ANR hosted a reception on Tuesday afternoon. I enjoyed the lightning talks that included an update from Bob Hutmacher on the hemp research at Westside REC and Konrad Mathesius sharing his 'best brew' variety work. George Zhang's winegrape research was presented by a client who promoted the benefits of working with UC ANR better than anyone within UC ANR could. The last speaker, Shulamit Shroder, caught us up to date on the CDFA partnership to provide a Climate Smart Ag program. The fast pace of the updates left plenty of time for networking with the dozens of guests and members of UC ANR we don't have a chance to see often. I hope we host a reception again next year. Linda, Jeannette, and the team did a fabulous job lining things up. As far as I could tell, everything went off without a glitch.
No surprise, there were several hemp-related presentations and booths at the WAE. It is just a matter of time now, hopefully on the order of a few weeks, before USDA finalizes the hemp rules. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture did an excellent job with their comments on the proposed rules. The key point of the comments – states need flexibility. Indeed, many of the topics addressed by NASDA reflect points of discussion raised by Bob and others as they have worked towards initiating hemp research. I have not read many of the other public comments submitted, so it's difficult to guess at this point how the proposed rules might change as a result of the public input received.
In between the WAE and keeping up with a few Zoom meetings and calls here and there, my annual countdown has begun. I have 63 packages left to read through for a 'first look' (no supervisor, ad hoc, external letters, or PRC input available at this time), of 66 packages submitted for review this year. I feel like I am far ahead! This, too, shall pass, but for now, I will savor the moment.