Search Results - Kings County

  • UC Calfresh encourages fruit and vegetable consumption among students in Tulare and Kings Counties

    Research indicates that repeated exposure to a variety of healthy foods including fruits and vegetables in different forms can increase their acceptance, preference, and consumption. To expose students to healthy foods, increase students’ willingness to try healthy foods, and encourage them to ask for these foods at home, the UC CalFresh nutrition education program in Tulare and Kings Counties of California conduct food tasting activities and recipe sharing across schools and after-school settings.

  • UC CalFresh’s Youth Engagement Initiative builds tomorrow’s leaders

    Youth live, play, eat, shop, and learn in their communities but are rarely included in decision-making processes that directly impact their health and nutrition. Engaging and building the capabilities of youth as leaders is an important step toward effective policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. Three counties in California—El Dorado, San Mateo, and Imperial—initiated pilot Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) projects during the 2016-2017 school year. All school sites are located in rural regions that face similar issues, such as lack of access to healthy foods, no walkability, and geographic isolation from the rest of the county. As a result, these communities have high rates of obesity, low physical activity, and poor nutrient intake.

  • UC researchers discover cost-saving response to pathogens in restoration sites

    Introduced plant pathogens together with other invasive organisms represent the third most significant threat to biodiversity and the integrity of native ecosystems. To date, not a single exotic plant pathogen has ever been eradicated from natural ecosystems. The damage these introductions causes is irreversible and can be estimated in the billions of dollars annually for the US alone. Recently, a group of the most aggressive plant pathogens, Phytophthora, were discovered to be introduced through infested plant material used in restoration projects. These introductions establish the exotic microbes as they are placed in an ecosystem while thriving on a host. Rather than having successful restorations, there is a potential for failed restorations and disease progression into areas adjacent to these sites.

  • UC Master Gardeners pilot gardening program for incarcerated youth

    Incarcerated adults reap tangible benefits when they learn to garden, reporting feelings of accomplishment and improved self-esteem when they produce food for themselves and others. Gaining life skills and marketable technical experience support healthy behavior post-release, explaining the lower recidivism rates among those who have been involved with prison gardening programs. Research indicates that youth held in detention facilities similarly benefit from mentoring in a productive garden.

  • UC ANR develops online tool to calculate forage loss from California rangelands fire

    Wildland fires have occurred with increasing frequency in recent years. Most of the affected land is rangeland, providing forage for livestock and wildlife. Forage production can be impacted for three years post-fire. That means that not only is there an immediate and complete loss of forage, but a 40% reduction on average the year following the fire and a 20% reduction on average the second year. Documenting forage loss is important to aid in financial recovery, whether from an insurance claim or federal funding for disaster relief.

  • UC Cooperative Extension takes leading role in climate change research and extension

    Rising summer temperatures and extreme events – including a recent swing from a 5-year drought to one of the wettest winters on record – are indicative of a warmer, more variable climate future in California. The changing climate has already begun to stress our social, economic, and ecological systems. It is threatening crops, increasing catastrophic wildfires, harming fish and wildlife, and limiting water supplies while also increasing flood risk and ultimately impacting the health and quality of life for Californians. Public awareness of climate change impacts is growing, but there is significant uncertainty around how climate change will affect natural resources and communities. The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) representation across the state and engagement with its diverse communities uniquely positions us to understand and communicate the consequences of climate change and identify strategies to mitigate negative outcomes for local economies, the environment, and public health.

  • UC spurs oak woodland conservation momentum and policy changes

    The loss of deciduous oak woodlands to native conifer encroachment is a major conservation concern in California, resulting in associated losses of wildlife habitat, traditional uses, biodiversity, and other ecosystem services. These concerns – compounded by development pressures, evolving understanding of fire’s role in California landscapes, and health threats like sudden oak death – have drawn increasing attention in recent years, and conservation and restoration efforts have gained momentum. However, efforts are complicated by a paucity of information on the rate and extent of conifer encroachment, successional dynamics, and trajectories of oak regeneration and conifer recruitment in a changing climate. Landowners, policymakers, conservation groups, and agencies have looked to UCCE for scientific guidance and landowner cooperation.

  • UC Calfresh Kings County engages students, teachers, and parents to make healthful choices

    One of the main avenues that schools can use to positively affect health is empowering students, teachers, and parents with nutrition knowledge and skills while providing opportunities for physical activity. However, poor eating habits and lack of exercise are major concerns among youth and adult populations in Kings County. Lack of knowledge and skills to make healthy food choices compounds the issue. Additionally, according to the SNAP-Ed work plan for the County, of the 65 schools located in the county, 83% are SNAP-Ed eligible (> 50% of students are eligible for free or reduced-priced meals, FRPM, enrollment) and almost 68% of students are eligible for FRPM. Powered with this knowledge, key community stakeholders came together to create nutrition awareness and physical activity opportunities in schools where a high percentage of students participate in FRPM programs.

  • UC CalFresh Imperial County Empowering Youth as Leaders

    Childhood obesity is a problem that affects many in the Imperial County - 40.9% of 5th graders and 45% of 7th graders are overweight or obese. Fitness levels are low- only 13.9% 5th graders and 23.6% of 7th graders meet all of the fitness standards (ED-Data, 2018). Imperial County is known for its desert location with little access to indoor recreational facilities and highly accessible fast food restaurants. Empowering youth as leaders to address the issues affecting the health of their families will create change in Imperial County.

  • EFNEP Helps California’s Low-income Families Make Healthy Choices while Saving Money

    Twenty-five percent of California adults are obese while over 30% of California children, ages 10-17, are considered overweight or obese. One in eight Californians experience difficulties providing healthy nutritious foods for their family.

  • Tackling Childhood Obesity: A Systems Change Approach

    On paper, the charge was clear: launch a statewide effort to integrate the nutrition education programs of the US Department of Agriculture’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) funded partners. Address childhood obesity and food insecurity holistically, yet specifically. Do this through policy, systems, and environmental approaches that will leverage community participation and resources in order to create sustainability at the local level. Accomplish this as funding is declining in SNAP-Ed programs. What would this integrated effort look like in practice? How could a work plan weave together the many agencies, actors, and systems that influence a child's earliest years, a family's food selection, and school and community activities?

  • UC CalFresh Fresno helps transform challenge into change

    Poverty combined with high unemployment rates can be a recipe for disaster. Entire families become engulfed in crisis. Rescue the Children (Rescue), a ministry of the Fresno Rescue Mission, is a nonprofit that transforms lives lost to drug or alcohol addiction and assists homeless families and previously incarcerated women. Rescue provides an in-house rehabilitation and transition program. Priscilla Robbins oversees the program and noted the importance of including a nutrition and healthy living component.

  • EFNEP helps parents improve food resource management and nutrition practices

    Juxtaposed with agricultural production abundance, a significant proportion of Tulare County low-income residents struggles to put enough nutritious food on the table. In Tulare County, 29% of children are living in food insecure households (i.e., without access to a reliable source of nutritious food) as compared to 22.9% in California. Families with young children are particularly at risk of food insecurity. Because poor dietary health disproportionately affects minority and limited resource populations and children, it is critical to empower low-income parents with knowledge and skills to help them use their food dollars wisely in order to provide healthy food to their families for the entire month. Research indicates that nutrition and food resource management are modifiable behaviors and strategies such as the ability to plan meals, shop on a budget, and stretch groceries until the end of the month, can protect families from food insecurity.

  • Improved management of Lygus bugs has reduced unnecessary insecticide applications reducing risk to crops and the environment

    The Tulare Lake Bottom is an area in Kings County, California that produces a variety of row, field and vegetable crops. Crop rotations of safflower, cotton and tomato are essential in maintaining soil quality and managing ground water issues. In the westside of Fresno and Kings Counties, major changes to cropping landscape took place in a single year. The shift to safflower overwhelmed the landscape and resulted in a breakdown of expected patterns of insect migration. In order to improve Integrated Pest Management (IPM), the management of key pests such as Lygus bugs must be considered at a larger and wider level then individual fields and farms.

  • Collective impact: The Calaveras County experience

    Statistics can inform us of challenges counties face, but people create solutions. This is well illustrated in Calaveras County, a rural Sierra foothills community. Calaveras residents face many stumbling blocks to sustaining a healthy lifestyle. Dogged by high unemployment, the overall food insecurity rate is over 15%, with a rate among children as high as 23%. Other challenges include isolated residential areas with limited public transportation and infrastructure. In addition, the community has experienced natural disasters such as the 2015 Butte Fire, affecting over 12,000 people in the Sierra foothills.

  • Alameda County’s 2017/2019 Integrated Plan, Best Written in Western Region

    Collaborations create value and accelerate change said Terry F. Yosie, president and CEO of the World Environment Center in Washington, D.C.: “Corporations, non-governmental organizations and institutions… are more successful in attaining individual objectives by collaborating with partners with aligned interests…”, ( Alameda’s County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) was first organized in 2006 with six USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) providers. University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) is one of the founding members. CNAP is faced with the challenge of reaching 209,000 county residents, representing 13 percent of the population that are living in poverty and eligible for SNAP-Ed. This challenge includes reaching youth in 206 schools, (52 percent of the County’s schools) and families spread across 45 of the County’s 360 census blocks.

  • UC ANR 4-H builds bridges with Mexico by helping launch a 4-H Club in Mexicali

    Baja California, Mexico, and California, U.S.A. share a 156-mile long border which includes cities like Tijuana and Mexicali. Even when both states are geographically close, the disparities between them are incredibly large in terms of population, income, and education. For example, in Ejido Sinaloa, in Mexicali only 37% of the population is employed, the average monthly income per household is $450, and the average level of education is 7th grade. California and Baja California also share an agricultural legacy that has been challenged in recent years by issues such as drought and climate change, which do not recognize borders. Mexico and the US require leaders, scientists, educators, entrepreneurs, and professionals with an outstanding education to solve these issues. For more than 100 years the 4-H youth development program (4-H) in the U.S. has facilitated the development of leaders in part by increasing the number of youth that gives back to the community, make healthy decisions, and improve their grades at school.

  • UC IPM delivers IPM solutions to Californians

    Chlorpyrifos is an important insecticide in IPM programs for alfalfa, almond, citrus and cotton due to its efficacy, value as a resistance management tool, and established international registration status. Public health and environmental concerns about chlorpyrifos resulted in an ongoing evaluation about its use in agriculture. Regulatory safeguards could include changes in use, up to and including full cancellation of registration. Crop teams, made up of industry leaders, agreed that stewardship and education are needed to ensure the safe and effective use of chlorpyrifos. Additionally, decision support tools are needed to enable pest control advisers (PCAs) and growers to recognize when chlorpyrifos use is necessary and justified. The new generation of PCAs coming into the field provides an excellent opportunity to train emerging professionals about chlorpyrifos use.

  • UC IPM coordinates a statewide conversation about the role of chlorpyrifos

    Combined, alfalfa, almond, citrus, and cotton represent a value of over $10 billion, and are grown on 2.5 million acres of farmland. Chlorpyrifos is an agricultural insecticide used in these crops as well as other food, fiber, and forage crops in California. Chlorpyrifos is an important tool against invasive pests and endemic pest outbreaks due to its efficacy, value as a resistance management tool, and established international registration status for exporting agricultural commodities. Currently, there are ongoing evaluations at the state and national levels to assess potential human and environmental health risks from chlorpyrifos and to consider what, if any, regulatory actions on chlorpyrifos might provide further safeguards up to and including full cancellation of the registration. The results of the safeguards could change the use of chlorpyrifos, including increased use restrictions and could impact many well-established IPM programs previously developed by UCCE scientists.

  • UCCE Alameda Helps Change The Culture In Preschools.

    Family food security is important in the quest to increase the consumption of healthy foods. Rasmussen, 2006 literature review examined the “determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among children and adolescents”. They reported that the key determinants of fruits and vegetable intake are gender, age, socio-economic position, food preferences, parental intake, and availability or accessibility in the home. Families with limited funds need critical life skills to help them manage their resources smartly to pay their bills and feed their families. Preschool teachers in the Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) started early trying to teach preschoolers some of the basic concepts of how to manage limited food dollars.

  • Wellness Challenge leads to results at the 4-H State Leadership Conference

    National and state priorities highlight the importance of modeling and encouraging the best health and safety habits when working with children to support optimal development and success. Currently, several steps are being taken to strengthen the physical, social, and emotional health for all 4-H participants. 4-H events are ripe for strengthening, such as, by improving the nutritional value of snacks and beverages, increasing the amount of sleep scheduled, and eliminating some “hazing” traditions that may undermine emotional safety. The Wellness Challenge, conducted in 2015 and 2016 at the State Leadership Conference (SLC), is one way to identify and address how to best support 4-H event planning and execution in the future.

  • Playing for Life: Integrating Physical Activity into Preschool Programs

    Starting early with creating a lifetime habit of play and movement is critical. Research links overweight/obesity, poor nutrition, and lack of physical activity to negative physical, academic, social, and psychological outcomes. While a constellation of factors contributes to weight gain in children and adults, one factor—inactivity—can be addressed through the integration of physical activity (PA) into daily schedules. "Easier said than done" is a comment frequently made. However, USDA-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) agencies are now engaged in strategies to integrate PA into their nutrition programs. This is part of recognizing that direct nutrition education, coupled with policy, systems, and environmental supports such as physical activity with hardscape reinforcements, help create a healthy lifestyle. Further, best practices advise that preschoolers receive at least 2 hours of both structured and unstructured physical activity daily to encourage competence in fundamental motor skills.

  • UC CalFresh – UCCE Alameda County revitalizes preschool gardens in Oakland

    Servings of fruits and vegetables consumed per day among all ages are below the Dietary Recommendations for Americans. Research shows that nutrition and gardening experiences, linked to academic standards for a specific age group, can increase vegetable and fruit consumption and physical activity. Gardening activities can help increase children's interest in eating fresh fruits and vegetables and improve their understanding of the health benefits and major nutrients found in the plants grown.

  • UCCE Alameda helps develop preschool obesity prevention policies

    The early years of life are critical times in the physical and mental growth and development of the young child. Children are often exposed to many unhealthy choices at an early age while they are forming lifestyle habits (involving eating and physical activity, for instance) that may last a lifetime. Head Start and state pre-K child developments centers in Alameda County serving over 12,000 children are not affiliated with schools with federal mandates requiring nutrition and wellness policies. The Alameda County 2014 SNAP-Ed Profile shows that 33.4% of 2-to-4-year-olds are overweight/obese and 17.4% are obese. The alarming rates of obesity and the associated high risk of negative consequences establish the research basis for Policy, Systems, Environment (PSE) work—focusing on nutrition and physical activity—in early childhood (EC) development sites in Alameda County.

  • UC CalFresh Yuba County: Making lunchrooms smarter

    For many parents, an ongoing battle with their child is about healthy eating practices. With more than one-third of U.S. children overweight or obese, promoting healthy eating behaviors has never been more essential. Out of this national crisis, The Smarter Lunchroom Movement (SLM) was born, spearheaded by Cornell University's Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs in 2009. Their evidenced-based approach helps nudge students to make healthier choices through low cost/no cost solutions; a lunchroom environment focus; promoting healthful eating behaviors; and using policy, systems, and environmental approaches to promote sustainability.

  • Partnering for Positive Health Outcomes in Shasta

    Recent studies indicate that obesity is a complex issue, with individual behavioral and environmental factors at its core. The problem can also be multigenerational, entrenched in family food choices passed from adult to child. Some experts believe that one of the most effective ways to address the obesity issue is through community-based nutrition education with "farm-to-fork" initiatives.

  • UC partners with industry in Beef Quality Assurance

    Identification and control of preharvest critical control points for the safety of beef are necessary. In particular, the beef industry wants to eliminate residues and contamination in market beef and dairy beef products; enhance food safety and microorganism biosecurity at the beef production level, including prevention of zoonotic diseases; and improve medical care, including appropriate drug and antibiotic use, and avoid development of antibiotic resistance.

  • Enhanced irrigation and crop management technologies developed in Five Points, Calif.

    The need to produce more food, feed, fiber, and fuel with less water now looms as perhaps the greatest challenge ever faced by farmers worldwide. Our ability to meet this challenge may well determine not only our overall quality of life, but also our very survival in the future. Developing and adopting enhanced irrigation and crop management technologies that achieve greater water-use efficiencies is essential.

  • Thousand cankers disease research increases awareness and solutions for walnut industry

    Thousand cankers disease (TCD) is an emerging tree disease that is responsible for the death of ornamental eastern black walnut species throughout the country. In California, TCD is contributing to the decline of other native black walnut trees as well as English walnut trees in nut-producing orchards. TCD is caused by a fungal pathogen transmitted by the walnut twig beetle (WTB). There is great concern over the potential for further spread of TCD throughout the native range of eastern black walnut, as well as uncertainty about the disease’s potential agricultural and ecological impacts in the USA and in Italy, where it was first reported in 2013.

  • Bringing integrated pest management to schools

    Since the enactment of the Healthy Schools Act (HSA) in 2001, both UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and the California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have been working with school districts in California to provide information about integrated pest management (IPM). The strategies employed in an IPM program include modifying horticultural practices, such as changing mowing heights and managing irrigation appropriately. These practices can reduce the amount of pesticides used on school grounds to help schools to meet the standards of the HSA and provide a safe and healthy environment for students, teachers and staff. DPR has coordinated numerous workshops for school districts covering general landscape and building IPM topics. However, attendees requested more detailed training about turf IPM since they manage turf areas like playgrounds and sports fields. UCCE has extensive experience in this area and was called upon to help schools implement this policy.

  • 4-H youth practice healthy living

    Obesity among 6- to 11-year-old youth has tripled over the past 30 years. Many youth and adults lack basic meal planning and food preparation skills. In a typical week in 2007, the number of dinners that were cooked and eaten at home was 4.8, but only 57 percent were prepared from scratch (Food Technology, 2008). Empowering youth and their families to adopt healthy food habits - such as planning, preparing and sharing meals at home - will improve the well-being of the entire household.

  • Money Talks: Program improves financial literacy of teens

    Teenagers' financial illiteracy is a current and growing national family economic trend and concern in the United States. Teens have access to and spend a great deal of money each year. A survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited indicates that today’s teens spend $179 billion annually (2006). In addition to personal spending, many teens purchase food and other items to be used by the entire family. The concern about teen financial illiteracy is supported by a national money management test of high school seniors that revealed an average score of 48.3%, a failing grade by standard grading systems (Jump$tart Coalition, 2008). High school seniors have little knowledge of money management, savings, investments, income and spending. The vast majority of students aged 16 to 22 have never taken a class in personal finance, with two-thirds admitting that they could benefit from more lessons on money management. Alarmingly, 9% were rolling over credit card debit each month (ASEC, 1999).

  • Biological control microorganisms for use against invasive annual grasses

    Invasive plants are detrimental to natural ecosystem services and they reduce biodiversity. Red brome and medusahead are two abundant grass species that are much more invasive here in California than in their Mediterranean countries of origin. This is likely because they left behind their natural enemies, such as root and shoot pathogens, when they left their native habitat. UCCE researchers are trying to understand the effect of above- and below-ground changes in an effort to find a way to control these invasive grasses. Managers and owners of lands affected by the two highly invasive species will benefit from this research.

  • 4-H’ers drink water first for thirst!

    Childhood obesity is a major concern for University of California scientists, for families, and for the affected individuals themselves. Children who are overweight have an increased risk of developing diabetes, which has a lasting impact on the quality of life for those affected. Research shows that increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is one of the most significant contributing factors to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. By aligning with the national Drink Up campaign and making water the primary beverage for youth to drink, we can help create healthier families and communities. In addition, a major goal of the 4-H Program is to promote healthy living. “Health” is one of our 4 “H”s. The health and safety of members is a priority at all 4-H activities and events. Drinking water is crucial for good health: among other things, it helps prevent dehydration and heat illness and provides a healthy beverage alternative for those already struggling with diabetes or food allergies. Having drinking water available at all 4-H activities ensures that all members have a healthy beverage choice. The environment in which youth work and play is a key contributor to the development of their perceptions, attitudes and habits. The 4-H drinking water policy is consistent with existing obesity research and the UC Nutrition Policy Institute’s recommendation to add drinking water to the USDA MyPlate guidelines.

  • Educating parents helps kids lose weight

    In the U.S., 32 percent of children are overweight or obese. Intervention and prevention efforts point to the importance of multifaceted approaches that include both children and parents. Recent research establishes important links between warm and responsive parenting practices and children’s healthy diets and weight. With children spending much of their day at school, many current interventions for obesity prevention focus on the school environment. In such cases, it is important to establish links to parents and to address the parenting environment.

  • Shaping Healthy Choices Program improves children's health

    Simply offering healthy options is not enough to motivate children to make healthy choices. Moreover, imposing restrictions rather than providing children with options to make healthy choices has long-term negative implications. With recent estimates of childhood obesity showing that approximately 32 percent of children are overweight or obese, it is clear a program that addresses multiple, obesity-related factors is necessary to successfully target this complex issue.

  • 4-H youth improve their technological literacy by producing films

    Youth in the United States spend much of their time with digital technologies. However, the mere use of technological devices is not enough to succeed in today's world; young people need to learn to apply and adapt technological processes and tools. Fluency with technology will help them thrive and participate in issues affecting their communities. In order to do this, they need practical, hands-on experience.

  • State 4-H event promotes personal responsibility

    Young people want to contribute to their communities and are often our most enthusiastic champions. To become agents of change, however, they need opportunities to exercise and develop personal responsibility and character skills. Research shows that the development of personal character (being an accountable, committed and effective communicator) underlies individual and community success.

  • UCCE equips Californians to stretch their food budgets

    During the past four years an estimated 3.8 million California adults could not afford to put sufficient food on the table. California is one of the states hit hardest by the economic downturn; unemployment rates increased from 5.3 percent in 2007 to 11.3 percent in 2009. Adjusted median household income decreased by nearly 5 percent (2009- 2010) and the poverty rate (2007- 2009) rose faster than the national level. In addition, participation in CalFresh (formerly Food Stamps) increased 6.8 percent from 2011 to 2012, significantly higher than the national increase of 2.9 percent. Add to this rising food costs of 4 percent (in 2011) and the results translate to significant increases in food insecurity, which is defined as not having enough food to ensure a balanced diet. Food insecure households are at greater risk for physical and mental health problems, such as depression, obesity, diabetes and hypertension. Although many of these families receive supplemental food assistance monies, they lack the skills to put their food budgets to maximum use.

  • UCCE helps low-income Californians increase food security

    From 2007 to 2009, during the nation’s economic downturn, food insecurity in California’s low-income adult population increased from 35 percent to 40 percent. These adults were not able to procure sufficient food to maintain a healthy diet for themselves and other household members. Food insecurity effects academic achievement, increases the risk of obesity and chronic disease and impairs mental health. A 2012 UCLA Health Policy Brief reported that 38 million low-income adults in California were food insecure and that rates were highest in low-income Spanish-speaking households and those with children. Although participation in federal food assistance programs has increased since 2007, many recipients experience food resource management challenges, lacking skills to maximize their food dollars to buy, prepare and store healthy foods. Providing low-income families with food education along with resource management skills can help improve the overall health and food security of the household.

  • Alameda County’s bilingual nutrition educator models effective adult education

    Alameda County is one of the most diverse counties in California, with over 30 languages spoken among 111,000 households on public assistance. Over 156,000 county residents live in poverty, and at least 25 percent are children at risk of food insecurity, poor nutrition and obesity. The largest ethnic minority groups are Hispanics, African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders. The number of low-income, Spanish-speaking families attending health education programs is on the rise. The county’s need for nutrition educators who are culture-, literacy-, and language-sensitive is even more evident today than 43 years ago when the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) was piloted at UCCE Alameda in 1988–1989. Low graduation rates, however, have been a problem.

  • Promoting positive youth development: Initial results from 4-H Thrive!

    Far too many youth currently fail to reach their full potential. For example, one out of five adolescents in California are at risk for depression; national costs for treating youth with mental health issues is estimated to be $12 billion. Strategies are needed to promote attributes in youth that lead to successful adult development and prevent these negative outcomes. To address this issue, the UC ANR 4-H Youth Development Program (YDP) partnered with the Thrive Foundation for Youth to deliver a new program for increasing the number of thriving youth in California who reach their full potential and become successful, contributing members of their communities.

  • Surface residues and no-tillage reduce soil water evaporation

    Improving water use efficiency is increasingly important as California agriculture confronts water shortages. Changing tillage and crop residue practices could help. In regions of the world where no-tillage systems are common -– such as Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Canada, Western Australia, the Dakotas, and Nebraska -– generating and preserving residues are an indispensable part of management and sustainable production. Residues reduce erosion, provide carbon and nitrogen to soil organisms, and reduce soil water evaporation, along with other advantages and drawbacks. The water conservation value of crop residues and conservation tillage has not been evaluated in the warm, Mediterranean climate of California. This study measured the effects of residues and no-tillage on soil water evaporation in California conditions.

  • Putting youth on the map

    A key step in fostering healthy families and communities is presenting accurate, compelling and actionable community-scale data about the condition of youth. California wants and needs for its youth to thrive — not merely to survive or face fewer problems. But how do we know whether our young people are doing well?

  • Thousand cankers disease attacks commercial walnut in California

    A new disease affecting walnut trees, "thousand cankers disease," poses an environmental threat to natural ecosystems containing native black walnut species and an economic threat to commercial English walnut growers in California. If introduced to the Midwest, it may also affect commercial production of black walnut. Thousand cankers disease was first associated with widespread mortality of black walnut in Colorado, but is now known to occur in nine western and three eastern states. The disease is caused by a fungal pathogen transmitted by the walnut twig beetle, which carries spores on its back as it bores into the tree. Because numerous beetles attack a single tree, the pathogen is introduced at the many points of beetle entry. Consequently, many cankers form as the fungus colonizes and kills plant tissue.

  • 4-H Revolution of Responsibility raises funds for community youth projects

    2013 marks the centennial for 4-H in California, an important milestone for an organization that is deeply connected to communities throughout the state. Service learning has been a cornerstone of the 4-H educational approach for the past century, connecting education and community service to strengthen learning and positive youth development. To celebrate the centennial, funds are being raised for youth to design and lead community-based projects. Through these projects, youth mature and develop skills while making a difference in their communities.

  • Agritourism workshops build new networks for diversification

    Many factors - such as supply chain consolidation, falling wholesale prices, rising costs and economies of scale - push small- and mid-scale farmers increasingly to direct marketing and alternative enterprises to keep their agricultural businesses viable. Public demand is increasing for local agricultural products and education about local farms and ranches. Agritourism welcomes visitors to a working farm for education and enjoyment while providing additional income for the agritourism operator. In a 2009 survey by UC researchers, operators reported agritourism as a profitable diversification strategy. Agritourism requires farmers and ranchers to learn new hospitality skills and marketing partnerships, and it is a business that is regulated by zoning ordinances and permitting in each of the state’s 58 counties.

  • Educating California’s youth on water issues

    Clean water is critical for life and needs to be managed wisely to ensure adequate supplies for natural ecosystems and human use. Thus, water quality and conservation are important public policy issues. In order to make informed decisions to address these challenges, citizens in today’s society require a fundamental understanding of science. Unfortunately, standardized assessments have revealed low levels of science literacy among K-12 youth in California, which also raises concerns about the future of the state’s workforce and economic prosperity.

  • Adolescents Eat Better When Setting Guided Goals

    Adolescents are less physically active and eat more calories than past generations. They spend about 7.6 hours each day using electronic media, and only 1.75 hours being physically active. Intakes of calcium, iron, and fruit and vegetable intakes are low while added fats and sugars, especially in soda, are high. These eating and activity behaviors have resulted in increased obesity rates for adolescents. Today 34 percent are overweight and 18 percent are obese. Adolescent obesity increases the risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer, and impacts school performance.

  • 4-H develops Junk Drawer Robotics to teach youth science and engineering

    The prosperity of the United States relies upon our investment in educating and preparing future scientists and innovators to provide solutions to vexing environmental, economic, and social problems. Science, engineering, and technology rely upon one another and all have a vital role in ensuring the prosperity of our nation. However, engineering programs are still rare within K-12 school walls and in out-of-school time programs.

  • Strategies to Engage Parents in Public Decisions

    Busy parents often lack the skills or inclination to participate in public decision-making processes. Yet their insights help insure that programs for children and youth are effective. Public officials can use a variety of civic engagement tools to engage parents, including advisory committees, outreach workers, community conversations, mini-grants, or program design workgroups. But the strengths and limits of these strategies, especially in engaging low-income parents or others who are not usually engaged in public deliberation, are not clear.

  • Factors and Practices that Influence Livestock Distribution

    Reducing livestock impacts on water quality, aquatic and riparian habitat, and biodiversity are continuing goals for livestock producers, natural resource managers, and conservation groups. These livestock impacts are frequently due to problems with livestock distribution. While fences are usually an effective tool for controlling livestock distribution and reducing impacts on riparian zones or other critical areas, manipulation of grazing patterns can also effectively reduce adverse impacts from livestock. These practices can also facilitate the use of grazing to manipulate vegetation to meet management goals. It is crucial that livestock producers, land managers, community watershed groups, environmental interest groups and policy makers understand the factors that influence where animals graze, rest, and drink, and how livestock can be predictably and effectively redistributed so that they do not produce undesirable effects in grazed watersheds.

  • Engaging Youth as Partners in Research on Workforce Issues

    A statewide team of 4-H Youth Development advisors and UC Davis researchers enlisted youth to interview their peers as part of a study on youth workforce development programs. At issue is how to connect youth to jobs in the emerging economy, especially given evidence of rising numbers of youth who are out of school and out of work. The research sought to incorporate the perspectives of youth participants in local workforce development programs funded by the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Participants were asked about their experience in WIA-funded programs, their career and educational goals, and on where they get information related to vocational and career planning.

  • Evaluation finds California workforce programs succeeding but underfunded

    Since 2000, California and its partners in local workforce areas have implemented new provisions contained in the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA). WIA gives local areas considerable discretion to tailor programs to community needs, but little was known about how this discretion was being used.

  • Biological frost control strategies reduce crop damage

    Frost damage persistently limits the production of many important crops and costs California agriculture up to $1 billion annually. Flowers of deciduous fruit and nut trees, vegetables and subtropical crops are damaged when temperatures drop even slightly below freezing. Existing methods of frost protection, such as overhead sprinklers, heaters, and wind machines, are expensive to use, limited by water supplies and relatively ineffective. For many crops, no methods of frost control are currently available or practical.

  • First statewide agritourism survey: Visitors generate critical income for California small farms

    Agritourism is a vital strategy for diversifying and boosting profit for a small but significant number of California farms, but data of agritourism's economic impact as a farm diversification strategy was lacking. Agritourism is defined as any income-generating activity conducted on a working farm or ranch for the enjoyment and education of visitors. This includes on-farm produce stands, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, U-pick operations and special events such as weddings and conferences, as well as overnight stays, cooking classes, festivals, tours and lectures.

  • Academy improves capacity of 13 western states to deliver 4-H science education

    Scientific literacy is necessary for developing an informed citizenry, workforce preparedness, and economic growth. However, national and international assessments of K-12 youth have revealed that U.S students' achievement scores in science have been stagnant for over a decade. Also, fewer students are pursuing science-based degrees and careers, which adversely affects the nation’s workforce. Research has documented that nonformal science programs can interest youths in science, positively influence their academic achievement and expose them to future career options in scientific fields. As one of the nation’s leading nonformal youth education organizations, the 4-H Youth Development Program can play an important role in improving youth science literacy. Furthermore, strengthening 4-H science programming can lead to higher quality educational experiences for 4-H youth.

  • Pest Management Alliances lead to IPM adoption

    Farmers are facing increasing regulation of pesticides, in part the result of environmental concerns about pesticides in water supplies and health effects on farmworkers.

  • Practical method for measuring vineyard crop coefficients improves irrigation management

    The irrigation crop coefficient relates vine water requirements to climatic conditions. Having an accurate crop coefficient allows farmers to estimate irrigation requirements accurately based on local weather data. Past UC research has demonstrated that the crop coefficient itself can be estimated based on measurements of the ground area shaded by the vineyard leaf canopy at midday. However, previous methods for measuring the shaded area were not practical for commercial use, limiting the use of important irrigation information.

  • Food Industry Referral Guides help California food processors and producers

    Small and large food processors, and entrepreneurs thinking about producing a food product, need similar information and services. Fruit and vegetable products specialist Diane Barrett saw the value in consolidating and centralizing information for processors and producers.

  • UC 'Organically Grown' Help

    With the U.S. market for organic products expected to top $20 billion in 2006 and national organic standards in place, many farmers and consumers are looking for clarification on what constitutes “organic” and how to grow it. ANR is responding to these questions through local research and extension programs, publications and online resources.

  • Oak woodland management, research and outreach

    For more than 25 years, the University of California has collaborated with the California Department of Fish and Game, CalFire and other agencies to conduct research and outreach focused on conserving California’s native oaks. In order to continue these efforts, UC has organized the Oak Woodland Conservation Workgroup (OWCW), which seeks to maintain, and where possible, increase acreage of California's hardwood range resources to provide wildlife habitat, recreational opportunities, wood and livestock, high quality water supply, and aesthetic value.

  • Creating a management system for spotted wing drosophila in caneberries and strawberries

    In September of 2008, UCCE in Santa Cruz County discovered a new vinegar fly pest infesting caneberries and strawberries, which was later described by the California Department of Food and Agriculture as Drosophila suzukii, and given the common name spotted wing drosophila. In 2009, spotted wing drosophila spread to cherries, blueberries, caneberries and strawberries in California, Oregon, Washington, British Columbia and Florida.

  • Business planning helps small farms in a challenging economy

    Small-scale foothill farmers and ranchers are known for the quality of their products. However, excellent animal or crop production skills, hard work and dedication may not be sufficient to maintain an economically viable farm business. No matter how good their product, farmers and ranchers who lack the business and marketing skills critical to a viable small business may not be successful.

  • Sustained conservation tillage tomato systems show promise

    California tomato producers need profitable technologies that guarantee long-term viability in the marketplace and on the farm. Production practices used by tomato farmers need to be affordable and also preserve or improve the long-term sustainability of production fields. Two practices that can help producers with economic and sustainability goals are covercropping and conservation tillage. While widely used in the 1940s, cover crops were not a mainstay of California production systems during the last half of the twentieth century. In recent years though, their potential benefits have received renewed attention by researchers and farmers, and there is interest in integrating them into tomato production systems. Cover crops provide soil cover, scavenge and recycle nutrients, break up monocultures, and add organic matter to production fields. But they require additional costs and careful management to be successfully integrated into tomato production systems. Conservation tillage (CT) practices include a number of tillage management approaches that reduce overall operations and costs. CT systems are also frequently associated with adjunct benefits such as lower dust and diesel emissions, reduced equipment maintenance, and lower total labor requirements. CT systems also require management “know-how” and up-front planning.

  • Conservation tillage systems for California cotton

    Cotton production in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV) relies on soil tillage for seedbed preparation, weed control, and postharvest pest management. Intensive tillage practices throughout the production season contribute to the crop’s yield and help producers manage risk. But these practices are costly, requiring considerable labor, specialized tillage implements, and adequate tractor horsepower. Despite incentives programs through the Farm Bill and USDA encouraging tillage reduction, along with rising costs of tillage, most SJV cotton continues to be produced using traditional, heavy tillage practices. Cotton is one of the most tillage-intensive agronomic crops produced in California; tillage systems for cotton have changed little over the past 50 years.

  • Training offered in after-school delivery of science, engineering and technology

    The need for after-school professional development in California is great, with over 4,000 state and federally funded after-school programs and nearly that many other community-based after-school sites. Over 2 million youth, 19 percent of California’s total youth population, regularly attend these after-school programs. Even in the highest quality programs, the annual staff turnover rate exceeds 33 percent, severely impacting program quality and pointing to the need for continuous in-service training. Increasingly, after-school programs are being called upon to ramp up their science, engineering, and technology (SET) program offerings to address the decline in youth interest, competency and performance in these fields.

  • California 4-H Technology Leadership Team

    Young people today consume a vast amount of media delivered by hi-tech computer technology. Over two-thirds of youth own a cell phone while 84 percent of youth have Internet access at home. However, the mere use of technological devices will not fully prepare our young people for the future. Youth need a basic level of technological literacy to make decisions, engage in civic debates, and be successful in the workplace.

  • New youth evaluation tool saves teachers’ time

    A valid evaluation tool is important in education programs designed to change behaviors, skills and/or self-efficacy. Most programs use a traditional prospective pre/posttest method of data collection. A pretest is given before the start of the program and a posttest using the same questions is given after the program. This method has limitations in real-world application, especially with adolescents. Establishing rapport with youth at the first educational meeting is important for learning. Test taking at the start of the program may seem intrusive and be an obstacle to establishing trust. Youth may also rate themselves differently on the posttest, after acquiring new information during the lessons that was related to the test question. For example, youth may believe they eat enough fruits and vegetables until they learn the daily recommendations. When the posttest is completed, their responses may appear that they did not change behavior. Such miscalculation may mask actual behavior and skill changes resulting from the nutrition program.

  • Urban runoff study motivates change in landscape practices

    Recent droughts and expanding urban populations place increasing pressure on California’s water supplies. In residential areas, outdoor water use, primarily for landscapes, comprises 50 percent or more of total water use. It is commonplace to see excess water gushing down storm drains from poorly aimed sprinklers, broken sprinkler heads, and a larger volume of water applied than the soil can absorb. The runoff water can carry pesticides, fertilizers and other waste into waterways, causing a detrimental effect on the health of the aquatic life in rivers, lakes and bays.

  • UCCE Shasta helps consumers grow their own strawberries

    A low cost route to improved nutrition is to grow your own food. Shasta County is headquarters to the largest strawberry nursery plant production system in California and the world. But few of the billion strawberry nursery plants produced in the county annually make it to backyards for production of fruit for personal consumption. Most nursery plants are shipped from Shasta County to coastal areas of California where fruit is grown, then shipped back to Shasta County's approximately 50 grocery stores to provide most of the strawberries for the county's 183,000 residents. Although, there is some roadside production of fresh strawberries in the spring in Shasta County, there is almost no backyard production. In fact, it is difficult to find small lots of nursery plants to grow the new flavorful and popular UC strawberry variety Albion in Shasta County.

  • Seafood Safety Information Centered at University of California

    Since the April 20, 2010, Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill, attention has focused on the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. Many fish are at risk: blue crabs, crawfish, oysters, shrimp and fish (about 86 species including albacore, channel catfish, red snapper and tilapia). The impact on the nation’s seafood industry and consumer confidence could be devastating. In a June 2010 telephone survey of 1,076 consumers conducted by University of Minnesota’s Food Industry Center, Louisiana State University AgCenter and the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, 54% of respondents said the oil spill has affected their seafood consumption somewhat, 44% said they will not eat Gulf seafood, and 31% said they will eat less seafood regardless of its origin. Further, 89% said they are concerned about the spill’s effects on Gulf seafood, while 50% are “extremely concerned.”

  • Parrots as pets and the revolution in the conduct of aviculture

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the popularity of parrots as pets increased markedly in the U.S. During that time, production of parrots in captivity was limited due to a lack of information about their nutrition and reproduction. Birds, mostly parrots, became the third most popular pet after cats and dogs. Most of the parrots sold as pets, except for budgerigars and cockatiels, were caught from the wild. Capture from the wild was so extreme that it led to the endangerment of many parrot species. As a result, the Wild Bird Conservation Act was enacted in 1992 to reduce capture from the wild by stopping importation of birds into the U.S., a major market for such birds. The act has been highly effective. Since 1992, the demand for pet parrots has been met by increased domestic production. To meet domestic demand, the conduct of aviculture has improved dramatically.

  • UC and IR-4 support California's fresh produce

    Most fruits, vegetables, nuts, herbs and spices that help make a healthy and diverse diet are specialty crops. To provide consumers with this wide array of fresh produce, growers of specialty crops need sustainable and affordable pest management technologies. The cost to register pesticides for each specialty crop far exceeds the purchases made by growers, who are a relatively minor segment of a pesticide company’s customers. So the U.S. Department of Agriculture created the Interregional Research Project No. 4 (IR-4) to enable the registration of low risk, effective pest management solutions for domestic, low-acreage specialty crops. No other public organization does this work so California’s $20 billion fresh produce industry depends on the publicly funded IR-4 project.

  • Reducing environmental impacts of foothill citrus orchards

    Pest management is a key concern for small-scale foothill citrus growers, but few pest control advisers serve Placer and Nevada counties. Integrated pest management requires a high level of knowledge as well as careful monitoring. Growers must be able to identify pests, assess available tools and develop an effective combination of management methods. Citricola scale has been a major foothill citrus pest for many years, often requiring several sprays per year. In 2003, California red scale began to emerge as a problem in Placer County mandarin orchards.

  • Increasing nut crop acreage expands need for integrated pest management training

    Due to the economics involved in agriculture, the southern San Joaquin Valley has seen significant expansions in the acreage of almonds and pistachios. As of the late 2000s, the value of these two crops in Kern, Kings and Tulare counties approaches $1 billion annually. Along with the increase in acreage has come the need for additional pest control advisers to make decisions regarding the management of insects, diseases and weeds. It is imperative that this new generation of advisers be versed in integrated pest management practices that are safe, effective, affordable and respectful of the environment.

  • UC-FSNEP: Fifteen years of nutrition education to California's families

    Poverty in California is at 13.3 percent, according to the U.S. Census Community Survey published in September 2009. Combined with current economic challenges, this vulnerable population is at risk for food insecurity. The UC-Food Stamp Nutrition Education Program (UC-FSNEP) helps low-income families make healthy food choices, stretch food dollars and increase consumption of California’s agricultural products. UC Cooperative Extension academics and nutrition educators also evaluate educational methods and outreach strategies used with families at risk.

  • Families learn to make every dollar count

    Families with lower educational levels and limited resources make more money management mistakes than wealthier and better-educated families. Providing money management information in formats that appeal to limited-resource families and in a learner’s native language are known to increase financial literacy of less-educated families. International studies have shown that computer-based money management programs are effective in helping less-educated families improve their financial knowledge and decisions.

  • Children wash hands to prevent flu and other illness

    In the United States, on average, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 36,000 people die from seasonal flu complications each year. To prevent the seasonal and H1N1 flu, the Centers for Disease Control recommends getting a flu vaccine and practicing everyday preventive actions, such as frequent handwashing. Handwashing is easy and the most important step to help prevent the spread of the flu. Yet research indicates that many adults and students do not practice frequent or proper handwashing. In fact, 1 out of 5 people do not wash their hands after using the restroom (American Society of Microbiology, 2005).

  • Sand backfill improves transplant success of some landscape palms

    Imparting an exotic and dramatic theme, palms are emblematic of California landscapes. Indeed, there is a revival of interest in palms as specimens and accents or to add height, dimension, and architectural interest for homes, businesses, parks and other public areas. Because of their unique root and trunk structure, large specimen palms can be transplanted with a relatively small root ball, creating an instant, mature landscape. The standard industry practice when transplanting palms is to use builder's or washed plaster sand as the backfill medium in order to enhance stability and anchorage, drainage and survival, but the practice had not been scientifically validated.

  • Goat milk producers form new association and improve practices

    Goat milk production in California is increasing. Goat milk producers are typically small- to medium-sized dairies who sell their milk to milk processors or cheese makers. There are also dozens of farmstead cheese makers who raise fewer goats but add value to the milk by making their own cheese. Other goat milk products are yogurt, dried milk, canned milk and ice cream. The consumption of goat milk products, especially in the cheese sector, has been rising steadily. Some specialty goat cheese producers report sales increases of 30 percent per year.

  • The 4-H Agua Pura fotonovela project

    It has been shown that Latinos are generally interested in environmental issues, and that they are particularly concerned about the health impact of a polluted environment. However, because of language and cultural issues, they are often not engaged in water protection activities.

  • Farm succession: Helping families nurture the next generation

    A profitable, owner-operated system of agriculture is necessary for the economic well being of our rural communities. Many farmers will retire in the next two decades and younger people are needed to carry on these farm businesses. Young people have little opportunity to enter farming, and even those whose parents have a farm may lose the opportunity because of poor succession and estate planning. Several surveys have found that as many as 64 percent of landowners do not have estate plans. Careful planning is needed for families to provide retirement for the senior members and farming opportunities for the next generation.

  • A Pilot Study for Improving Energy Efficiency in the Seafood Sector

    It takes energy to process, package and deliver seafood to American consumers. As with other sectors of the economy, the seafood industry would like to become more energy efficient to lower production costs and to market its products as more “green.” Actually implementing conservation strategies, however, can be difficult because it is not always obvious where energy-saving opportunities exist. A simple first step in reducing a company’s energy consumption is to identify its most energy-intensive processes or activities.

  • 4-H SET trains volunteers to engage youth in science actvities

    Despite the United State's rich legacy of innovation and global contributions, we face declining proficiencies and workforce shortages in science, engineering, and technology. Nationwide only 18% of high school seniors are proficient in science while only 15% of U.S. college graduates earn degrees in natural science and engineering. The National Science Education Standards emphasize that effective science education requires good educators.

  • Managing data-poor fisheries

    The 1998 California Marine Life Management Act (MLMA) provides a guide for the California Department of Fish and Game as it manages coastal fisheries. A key requirement of the MLMA is the development of fishery management plans that are based on estimates of the abundance of a fished species and other types of data-intensive biological and socio-economic information. Unfortunately, essential biological and socio-economic information are lacking in California’s fisheries. This has created a bottleneck to MLMA implementation. New, less resource-intensive assessment methods and techniques are required to move the management process forward.

  • Ready, 4-H SET, Go!

    The United States is at pivotal point in its history. Despite our nation’s rich legacy of innovation and global contributions, we are facing declining proficiencies in science, engineering, and technology (SET). Too many of our youth lack the SET literacy needed for careers in the 21st century. Nationwide, only 18 percent of high school seniors are considered proficient in science while a mere 5 percent of all 24-year-olds earn undergraduate degrees in the natural sciences and engineering. The 4-H Science, Engineering, and Technology (SET) Initiative is the 4-H program’s response to our nation’s and state’s concerns for improving human capacity and workforce abilities in these fields. It combines nonformal education with hands-on, inquiry-based learning in a youth development context to engage young people in improving their SET knowledge, skills, and abilities. The California 4-H SET Initiative aims to impact 150,000 new youth members and 15,000 new adult volunteers over the next five years through innovative SET programming.

  • Fungus research helps sustain San Joaquin Valley Pima cotton industry

    Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.Vasinfectum (FOV) is a widely spread soil-borne fungus that attacks cotton and other plants. FOV causes a general wilt. Its symptoms include leaf yellowing and necrosis beginning at the leaf margins. The vascular system of infected plants becomes “plugged up” from the fungus and the plant’s defense response to the infection. Previously identified FOV races infect plants through injuries caused by root knot nematodes. Root knot nematodes are most widely found in coarse texture soils in the San Joaquin Valley. Crop rotation or chemical applications reduce nematode populations so their damage is not significant. However, a new race of FOV, Race 4, has been identified in California. Race 4 is different because it can infect cotton plants in the absence of nematodes, causing infections in both coarse and fine textured soils. Generally, Pima cotton varieties are more susceptible than Acala or other upland varieties are to FOV Race 4.

  • Connecting youth with natural resource management

    California's four million acres of rangeland are an important natural resource, providing wildlife habitat, scenic open space and an economic base for many rural communities. Over recent decades, California rangelands have been threatened by invasive weed species, wildfire, concerns over water quality impacts, and conversions of the land to other agricultural uses or to development. Another, perhaps less visible, threat to rangelands is a steady reduction in the number of students preparing for careers in natural resources and range management.

  • UC Cooperative Extension helps family farmers comply with labor laws

    Many small farmers in California, especially the 2,000-plus refugee farmers from Laos and Thailand, rely on extended family to help on the farm. Typically, these relatives volunteer or trade labor on each others' farms. Often unbeknownst to the farmers, the state considers the relatives to be employees and a workers' compensation policy is required. The farmers must also comply with other labor regulations. The State of California conducts unannounced "sweeps" of farms (and other businesses) to inspect for violations of labor code, safety and health regulations and payroll rules. In 2005 and 2008, individual Hmong and Hispanic farmers were fined between $14,000 and $26,000 each for non compliance.

  • Trap Cropping for Management of Root-knot Nematode by Home Gardeners

    Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic roundworms that cause problems for home gardeners. Few control measures are available to California homeowners other than keeping the planting area fallow for two years, or planting nematode-resistant tomatoes. The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne sp., causes the most serious problem and its effects are readily visible to home gardeners by the presence of knots or galls visible on roots.

  • Field trials identify more native plants suitable for urban landscapes

    California's landscape horticulture industry is constantly growing due to population growth, housing expansion and refurbishing of older urban areas. This industry growth requires an almost constant input of new plant material to address a variety of horticultural needs and tastes. Historically, many landscapes were planted with species requiring large amounts of water, fertilizers, and pesticides to remain attractive and healthy. One significant result of this practice has been increasing levels of chemicals in urban water run-off to watersheds, leading to negative impacts on the health of the aquatic ecosystems. In addition to this, widespread use of inappropriate plants in a summer-dry climate can contribute to a shortage of water in areas supplied by seasonal snow-melt. For these reasons, the nursery and landscape industry is in constant need of a supply of new, beautiful, drought-tolerant and disease-resistant plants.

  • UCCE investigates how E. coli survives in vegetable fields

    Current evidence from surveys and product testing has shown that California vegetable commodities are rarely contaminated with detectable levels of the human pathogen E. coli O157:H7. However, periodic outbreaks occur. The September 2006 case of E. coli O157:H7 on spinach was a serious example that fundamentally changed the industry and public health landscape regarding food safety measures. To most effectively design risk reduction guidelines and improve food safety management, more information is needed on the biology and ecology of pathogens in actual field production environments. Many studies of E. coli O157:H7 and leafy vegetables are based on laboratory or growth chamber experiments. Many food safety guidelines and policies, by necessity, are based on such studies or on assumptions unrelated to vegetable production. It is imperative that more information be generated from trials involving natural populations of the disease organisms and the microbial-plant-animal ecology as it exists in the field. In addition, we need more information from controlled-inoculation experiments conducted in actual field production settings in California.

  • Addressing the Science Literacy Challenge through Educator Professional Development

    It is imperative that individuals be able to make informed decisions about the science and technology in everyday life, yet national and international assessments reveal that the levels of science literacy among youth in the United States are well below those of other developed nations—and the problem is worsening. The root cause of this problem lies in relying on lectures and demonstrations to teach science. These methods provide only a surface level understanding of the nature and processes of science and do not promote critical thinking skills. Furthermore, lectures and demonstrations tend to alienate youth who perceive science as too complicated and irrelevant. Youth science literacy can be improved with the use of Experiential Learning (EL), a strategy that involves direct experience and builds understanding through inquiry and reflection. Experiential Learning is similar to hands-on learning, yet goes much farther by including the discussion and analysis of experiences that deepen and broaden understanding. Teaching strategies such as EL encourage youth to use their own thinking to test ideas, reflect on and analyze information, and predict outcomes. Research indicates that youth retain and learn more when they are taught through experience because they are actively engaged in activities with visible outcomes and demonstrate their knowledge through practice. Those who train educators must model EL as an alternative and effective approach to teaching science. Otherwise, future youth educators will remain unprepared and unwilling to use EL and will continue to teach science with methods proven to be ineffective.

  • Teens and driving: What parents need to know

    High-risk driving is one of the most significant threats to the safety of California’s young people. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens 15 and older. Some of the factors contributing to these higher crash rates include lack of driving experience, risk-taking behavior and distractions from teenage passengers. Parents are in a prime position to influence safe teen driving because they are involved in their teenagers’ driving from the beginning and serve as primary mentors and role models in teenagers' lives.

  • UC studies improve the efficiency of weed control in broccoli production

    In broccoli production, a wide variety of techniques are used to control weeds: cultural practices, mechanical cultivation and hand weeding. Weeding costs generally represent a significant proportion of the broccoli production budget, and profit margins can be narrow. In addition, the current debate over immigration reform has increased concern about the availability of labor to conduct hand weeding operations in broccoli and other vegetable crops. Given the labor uncertainties, it is imperative that research be conducted to evaluate techniques that make weeding operations more efficient and effective.

  • Summer camp evaluation strengthens programs

    Every year millions of youth spend at least part of their vacation in some camp setting, be it day camp, resident camp or a specialty camp program. Hundreds of children attend California 4-H summer camps each year. Only recently have researchers begun to explore the impact and outcomes of outdoor living experiences on youth and to understand the elements of the camp experience. Are 4-H camps places that nurture children's positive growth? What would make camp programs stronger?

  • UC IPM guidelines for strawberries in Spanish

    More than 50 percent of the strawberry growers in California speak Spanish as their first language. While UCCE outreach through Spanish language meetings, various publications and Spanish speaking academics has been serving these growers for a long time, the UC IPM guidelines for strawberry production were available only in English.

  • UC delivers oak woodland planning support to California counties

    County-based planning is often an emotionally charged, financially motivated process where decisions can potentially affect natural resources for generations. As Californians move from urban and suburban centers into lands that have historically been hardwood forests, the expansion is impacting the biodiversity and ecological integrity of the state's oak woodlands. The shifting demographics are increasing the need for sound decision making if the ecological integrity of oak woodlands is to be maintained. The UC Integrated Hardwood and Range Management Program (IHRMP) has directed its efforts at planners for the past 15 years in recognition of the importance this dedicated group of professionals have in conserving California's wild spaces. California's oak woodlands are not subject to statewide regulatory oversight as are commercial conifer forests. Consequently, oak conservation measures are often handled by county and private planners on a fragmented, parcel-by-parcel basis. In 2004, the state passed legislation requiring all non-agricultural projects affecting oak woodlands be subject to evaluation under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Terms of the legislation required that planners must determine the project's “significance” and the impacts must be mitigated. At the time of the enactment, no existing documentation or precedent had been established to assist counties in making such determinations. The IHRMP undertook the task of articulating the complex issue of “significance” and developed a decision matrix designed to assist planners, developers and conservationists address the nuances of the new statute.

  • Refractometer calibration test kit developed

    San Joaquin Valley farmers rely on handheld refractometers to determine fruit maturity. A refractometer measures the percentage of sugar (ºBrix) in juice, allowing a grower to estimate a harvest date for a particular variety or field of grapes, peaches or melons. Often a refractometer is purchased and used year after year without being properly maintained or calibrated at the beginning of each season. A lack of calibration prior to each use can give faulty readings, leading a grower to think a crop is ready to harvest, when in fact it may be days or weeks away. Commercial refractometer calibration test kits are expensive and growers rarely purchase them. Additionally, the improper care and/or storage of refractometers will contribute to inaccurate readings. Proper calibration, use and maintenance of a refractometer will improve the accuracy and utility of sugar data in determining fruit maturity.

  • Hot water can prevent spread of vine mealybug by grape nurseries

    Vine mealybug is a serious pest of wine, raisin and table grapes in California. Mealybug feeding reduces grapevine vitality, transmits grape viruses, and produces tremendous amounts of sticky honeydew, promoting sooty mold that renders the grapes unmarketable. Until 2002, there was only one localized infestation of vine mealybug recognized outside of Riverside, Kern and Fresno counties. By the end of 2003, infestations had been documented in 16 counties, representing all grape-growing regions of the state. Subsequent investigations identified infested nursery stock as the cause for the rapid, widespread dissemination of this new exotic pest.

  • Control programs established for exotic pistachio pest

    For several decades, California pistachios suffered few pest problems. However, this changed in the late 1990s when a new species of mealybug was found in a Tulare County orchard. By 2002, Gill’s mealybug had infested about 20 acres of pistachios in Tulare County; by 2007 it had been found in more than 5,000 acres of pistachios statewide. Gill’s mealybugs damage pistachios by feeding on carbohydrates that would otherwise be used for nut development. This results in fewer of the highly prized split, in-shell nuts in exchange for smaller kernels in closed shells. Growers with infested fields applied multiple pesticide applications on a yearly basis to try to prevent significant crop losses. In 2004, the California Pistachio Commission approached the University of California for assistance in finding a solution.

  • Service-Learning Works for California 4-H Youth

    California communities need active, involved citizens of all ages. Through service-learning projects, teens learn to appreciate the value of contributing to their communities, strengthen their skills, and see themselves as leaders.

  • Strategic Supplement Placement Changes Beef Cow Distribution

    Reducing the impact of livestock grazing on water quality, aquatic and riparian habitat, and biodiversity is a continuing goal for livestock producers, natural resource managers, and conservation groups. Environmental impacts of livestock grazing are frequently the result of poor livestock distribution. Management practices that alter livestock distribution on the landscape by attracting livestock away from environmentally sensitive areas can effectively reduce these impacts. However, policy makers, regulators and land managers are often uncertain about the effectiveness of livestock distribution practices and therefore gravitate to the certainty of excluding livestock by fencing or lease termination. This can devastate the economic viability of rangeland livestock enterprises, reducing their competitive ability and adversely impacting the economy of rural communities. Furthermore, livestock exclusion limits our ability to use grazing to manage wildlife habitat, fire fuel loads and weed infestations. It is crucial that managers, regulators and community watershed groups understand how livestock can be predictably and effectively redistributed so that they do not have undesirable effects in grazed watersheds.

  • Livestock recycle pears, minimize harvest loss

    In 2006 the pear industry in Lake and Mendocino counties experienced up to 30 percent crop losses due to lack of qualified pickers to harvest the crop. These losses may have been a one-time problem but cull pears happen every year and represent an annual problem to the pear industry. While little can be done to salvage the direct loss of high-grade fruit, an opportunity exists for cattle, sheep and goat producers to recoup some of this loss by turning it into a quality feed source.

  • Nature of a beet cyst nematode population suppression unraveled

    Tiny parasitic roundworms (nematodes) that typically feed on underground plant parts are responsible for an estimated $10 billion in crop damage in the U.S. Nonchemical management of these pathogens has progressed slowly. No biological control product against plant-parasitic nematodes has ever received California EPA registration. The lack of understanding of microbe-nematode interactions is perhaps the greatest impediment to significant progress. Nematode-suppressive soils are soil sites where conditions for nematode-caused crop damage are present, but where such damage does not occur or where it occurs at a much lower level than expected. These are often sites where biological control occurs naturally and plant-parasitic nematode populations are typically maintained below the economic threshold.

  • Youth learn leadership at state 4-H conference

    A critical element in positive youth development is empowering youth and allowing them to make a difference in their communities. Youth development research suggests that developing citizenship, leadership and life skills can benefit youth and their communities. This can be accomplished, in part, through opportunities for youth to participate in governance and rule making, and to take on leadership roles.

  • The National Animal Identification System Information Education Project: Addressing 4-H Stakeholders’ Issues and Concerns

    4-H Animal Science projects, which engage approximately 30,000 youth annually in California, pose potential risks to biosecurity and animal disease traceability. The majority of projects focus on rearing, care, husbandry, and showing and marketing live animals, including poultry, ruminants, and swine. There is a lack of standardized guidelines or protocols for tracking 4-H project animals. There are also no regional or statewide systems to inform volunteers of biosecurity risks and preventative measures. A standardized electronic tracking system that is currently voluntary in California may become mandatory, as it is in some states. The National Animal Identification System (NAIS), established in 2002, provides animal health officials with disease tracking tools to protect animal agriculture during a disease outbreak. NAIS uses an animal-specific Animal Identification Number (AIN) and a site-specific Premises Identification Number (PIN) to provide trace-back data on at-risk animals within 48 hours of exposure or potential exposure. While the system offers a standardized means of identifying and tracking animals, there have been concerns among California 4-H volunteers and youth regarding NAIS, including its potential impact on Animal Science projects.

  • Spread of tomato yellow leaf curl in California tomatoes arrested

    Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV) is the most recent whitefly-transmitted virus disease to appear in Imperial County. The disease caused by TYLCV in tomato crops is the most destructive whitefly-transmitted virus disease of tomatoes worldwide. TYLCV threatens commercial tomato production in California, transplant production of peppers and tomatoes in Imperial County, and home garden tomato production. TYLCV is transmitted by adult silverleaf whiteflies and can spread rapidly, but TYLCV is not seed borne or transmitted mechanically. The presence of silverleaf whitefly host plants, both cultivated (such as peppers and tomatoes) or wild hosts (such as sowthistle, cheeseweed and nightshade) during spring and summer may lead to whitefly migration and spread of TYLCV. Immediate action was needed to inform tomato growers of the new threat to their industry and to attempt eradication of TYLCV from California.

  • Management practices to conserve water and reduce off-site movement of sediment and pesticides in drainage waters

    Drainage waters discharged from irrigated fields in California and other states are under ever-closer scrutiny. The quality of drainage waters discharged into waterways in California is regulated under California Water Code and Federal Clean Water Act. Growers that discharge drainage waters that could affect the quality of water bodies in the state are required to comply with water quality regulations. Compliance with water quality regulations could be achieved by filing a Report of Waste Discharge (RWD) that complies with state-prescribed Waste Discharge Requirements (WDRs). WDRs could be used as a permit, limiting the levels of pollutants that may be discharged in waterways to protect the beneficial uses of water bodies in the state. Complying with the Irrigated Lands Conditional Waiver Program or the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) limits may provide alternates to WDRs for growers in the state. Sediment, nutrients and pesticides in drainage waters have been identified as the leading cause of water quality impairments in rivers and other water bodies in California. For example, sedimentation/siltation TMDLs for agricultural drains and two major rivers in Imperial Valley have been implemented to address water quality problems in the Colorado River Basin of Southern California. Accurate and reliable estimates of the load of sediment, nutrients and pesticides in drainage water are needed to assess the quality of drainage water or to comply with WDRs.

  • California farmers see conservation tillage success stories

    California farmers face increasing challenges due to labor and water availability, environmental regulations, and competition. Cheaper and more resource-conserving systems that rely on less labor are needed for profitable and sustainable production. Reducing tillage may significantly cut fuel use, labor, and costs in intensive production systems. However, most California farmers have little experience with these techniques.

  • UC studies overhead center-pivot irrigation in no-tillage systems

    Sustainable crop production in California’s San Joaquin Valley (SJV) relies on efficient management of increasingly scarce irrigation water and farm labor resources. SJV producers face powerful pressures for new, cheaper, and more efficient water-conserving cropping systems. A potential means for achieving greater farm production efficiencies may result from the merging of two new technologies that are widely used in other parts of the world, but not yet in California. Coupling overhead low-pressure center pivot irrigation with no-till practices may be a “systems” means for achieving the kinds of production efficiencies that will be required in the SJV in the future. The merging of these technologies is common in several regions of the world including the Pacific Northwest, throughout the Ogallala Aquifer region of the U.S. Great Plains, and in Brazil and Argentina, but neither technology is currently used much in California.

  • Self-Help Kiosks Used to Extend IPM Information to Gardeners

    Pesticides used by home gardeners can contribute to water pollution if the chemicals get carried away in runoff. To minimize pesticide use, home gardeners need an interesting and easy way to identify pests and learn the least-toxic, science-based methods of controlling them. While much information is available online (, not all consumers are Internet users and must often depend on untrained store personnel or anectodotal information about how to treat pests in and around their homes. More often than not, a pesticide treatment is recommended, even if the pest has not been clearly identified.

  • Organic olive production short course and manual

    A 2004 survey of the California olive oil industry found that 66 percent of the olive oil acreage in the state was being farmed organically. Some of the producers are certified, some are not, and many are in transition to certified organic status. The growth of this industry has paralleled the growth of organic agriculture and there is much demand for research and educational information to serve this burgeoning segment of the economy. Interest in the production of specialty table olives is also increasing as the canned black olive industry suffers from import competition. One way table olive growers can separate their product from others in this competitive world market is to produce the fruit organically. Growers want to produce these healthful foods in a manner that does not disrupt the environment, produces an excellent quality product, and takes advantage of the marketing niche for organic products.

  • UC’s olive oil taste panel supports industry

    The California olive oil revival is a quiescent industry come dramatically to life. Acreage planted to oil olives has doubled in just the last five years to over 10,500 acres. California’s production of 400,000 gallons of premium quality olive oil is predicted to triple in the next three years and continue to grow. These oils are excellent, taking top awards in competitions all around the world, but this was not always the case. Only a few years ago, most producers in California had no idea what good olive oil tasted like and some, unfortunately, were producing and selling defective oils without knowing it. Much of the old traditions of the Mediterranean countries that were being adapted included some of the bad habits of processing oil using antique and limited resource technology that produced defective oils. The big question was, how could California olive oil producers ever develop a viable industry without recognized standards?

  • UC spotlights solutions to dairy water pollution challenges

    Milk is California's number one agricultural commodity, with a farmgate value of more than $5 billion annually. Although the state has fewer dairy farms than it did 20 years ago, the average herd size has increased. Dairy producers are faced with increasing scrutiny and more stringent regulations. In May 2007, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board adopted new dairy “waste discharge requirements” that impose stringent nutrient management and monitoring practices on the region’s 1,500 dairies.

  • Public Land Grazing Is Important to the Conservation of San Francisco's East Bay Private Rangelands

    Many important natural resource lands in the Bay Area are privately owned by ranchers, and others are leased by public agencies to ranchers for grazing. These lands provide forage and numerous other ecosystem services, including those valued highly by the public, such as a pleasing landscape and wildlife habitat. It is well-known that the private land is at risk of fragmentation and development, when ranchers decide to sell their lands. What role does the availability of public lands play in their decisions? How important is public land in the ranching enterprise and to the local industry? This study addressed these questions to assess the role of public land grazing in East Bay land conservation efforts.

  • Off to a Good Start...Getting Children Ready for Kindergarten

    Studies show that as many as half of California’s kindergarteners entering school are struggling. Learning and reading difficulties are more common among poor, non-white and non-native English-speaking children. However, problems exist in all socio-economic groups. Kindergarten teachers often cite early education in the home as the most important strategy to improve school readiness. Parent-child relationships in early childhood predict social and emotional development and lay the groundwork for academic growth and success. Likewise, a child’s readiness to enter kindergarten predicts future academic success and failure.

  • UC's Pima Cotton Research Bolsters California's Cotton Industry

    Elevated world demand for fine garments and quality textiles has lead to improved prices for select high grade cottons. California growers produce nearly 90 percent of the nation's highest quality cottons, known as Pima or ELS (extra long staple) types, prized for their long, strong and fine fiber. Because Pima yields are considerably lower than that of the conventionally grown upland cotton types, gaining domestic and world market share while remaining profitable is risky business. Variety development and testing programs are an integral part of identifying new germplasm that has the potential to meet the market demand for a high-quality product and the grower need to remain profitable.

  • Research provides stable fly monitoring and control tools

    High levels of stable flies on dairies are more than a nuisance. The bites also reduce milk yields. To keep stable flies at bay at dairies, it is standard procedure for dairy operators to hire a pest control service that sprays the premises with pesticides every two weeks during fly season, at an average cost of $250 per treatment. Because of pesticide resistance developing in the insect population, such sprays for stable flies are rarely effective. This management practice wastes dairy resources, adds to the pesticide load in the environment, and leads to increased pesticide resistance.

  • Regional marketing—A competitive niche for small and mid-scale growers

    An increasingly competitive global marketplace combined with higher input, labor and land prices have put pressure on many small and mid-scale growers throughout the state. As a result, many growers are looking to diversify their markets such as taking advantage of local or regional marketing. Consumers are demanding more food from local growers. Regional supplies mean that food is often fresher, and has traveled less distance from "farm to fork," thereby reducing ever-increasing fuel costs. More growers and their associations are beginning to establish “place-based” logos or labels as a way to create and maintain the value of their products and contribute to the economic viability of their operations.

  • Choosing a landscape company with environmentally sound practices

    For many years, we have worked with local agricultural producers to develop sound management practices to alleviate water quality and other environmental problems. Many of the legal requirements faced by the growers are a result of the concern of homeowners and other non-farming groups. Ironically, in many situations, the environmental impact of a large housing development can be equal to or greater than the impact of the farming operation. However, many residents do not understand the collective impact of their home and garden pest control and fertilization activities on the environment. In addition, most of these homeowner activities are generally unregulated.

  • Monterey County Lab To Assist in Biosecurity Efforts

    Biosecurity refers to safeguarding our national and state agricultural industries from damage caused by introduced plant pathogens and pests. Biosecurity plant pathology programs address two potential sources of introduced threats -- the unintentional, accidental introduction of exotic pathogens from outside the state or country and the intentional, deliberate introduction of damaging pathogens by factions antagonistic to our nation. Deliberate acts can be considered bioterrorism. In response to the attacks on Sept. 11 and the increased concerns about terrorism worldwide, the United States established a program to heighten awareness and detection of introduced plant pathogens and pests. The National Plant Diagnostic Network (NPDN) is a nationwide program that focuses on finding and identifying introduced plant pathogens, communicates such findings to appropriate network authorities, and trains professionals in various fields to look for these possible new threats. NPDN coordinates and organizes researchers, plant pathologists, extension personnel, regulatory agents, and industry members into a national network.

  • Innovative Almond Pest Control Reduces Toxic Pesticide Use and Improves Environment

    Tree crop growers typically use organo-phosphate (OP) pesticides in the dormant season to control an array of harmful insect pests. However, chemical residues of OP insecticides have been found in California waterways at concentrations harmful to aquatic life in the ecosystem. Apparently, heavy winter rains wash pesticide residues from orchards into nearby streams that drain into the major river systems. As a result of river water testing, state regulations have outlawed or imposed strict limitations on the use of many chemicals. The development of environmentally safe and effective alternatives to toxic chemicals is critical to sustaining both profitable crop production and a healthy environment.

  • Nickels Soil Lab Research Supports New Orchard Plantings

    Significant acres of California farmland are lost each year to residential and commercial development. The consequent economic and environmental impacts are of great concern to most Californians. To maintain rural environments and ag productivity, farms are relocating to the edges of the Central Valley, away from prime soils. Alternative farming practices must be developed to maintain production under these challenging conditions.

  • Oak Seedlings Can Be Established on Grazed Rangelands

    For nearly 100 years, there has been concern that several native California oak species are not regenerating adequately to sustain populations. Inadequate regeneration could adversly affect woodlands, resulting in conversions to shrub fields or bare pastures. A principal factor believed to significantly contribute to poor oak regeneration in California is livestock grazing. Since approximately 80% of California's oak woodlands are privately owned and the principal activity on many of these lands is livestock grazing, it is vital to understand how oaks can be regenerated in the presence of livestock. Such information will help ensure that our oak woodlands remain healthy and productive.

  • Mini Watermelon Research Benefits California Farmers

    Four types of watermelons are available in supermarkets. Older diploid (seeded) watermelons, grown since 1629, weigh 18-35 pounds. Large seedless triploid watermelons weigh 15-22 pounds and have been popular since 1988. Icebox-size melons, 6-12 pounds, have been available since 2000. The newest melons are seedless mini or “personal” watermelons, sometimes called “palm” melons. The new triploid one-serving melons, weighing 3-7 pounds, became widely available in markets in 2003. Besides the smaller size, advertisers tout its thinner rind, which means more edible flesh. California growers started growing the personal-size melons, but research was lacking for recommended varieties, quality characteristics, pollinators and spacing requirements.

  • Sheep Shearing School Improves Wool Quality and Creates Jobs

    The lack of qualified shearers is a major problem for both the range and small flock sheep operations in Mendocino and Lake counties and statewide. The skills needed are difficult to learn without "hands-on" training. Sheep shearers are also often a source of educational information about management and health care and play an important role in delivery information to their clientele - the sheep producers.

  • Conservation Tillage Workgroup Introduces New Tillage Alternatives

    Conservation tillage (CT) production systems have been developed in a number of regions around the world for crops such as corn, wheat, cotton, and soybeans . Widespread adoption of CT practices for these crops is common in South Dakota, Iowa, Georgia, Australia, and Brazil; however, CT currently is used on less than 2 percent of California's annual cropland. CT production may be a means for improving production economics of farming systems while also sustaining air, water, and soil quality; but, little research-based information and experience about CT is available that addresses California’s diverse production environments.

  • Conservation Tillage Cuts Costs in Tomato Production

    Rising fuel and labor costs oblige growers to carefully cut production costs. Reducing intercrop tillage typically associated with bed preparation operations is a promising means to cut costs in tomato production systems. A variety of “conservation tillage” (CT) crop production systems have been developed in other regions for crops such as corn, wheat, soybean, and cotton. To what extent, though, might CT principles and practices be adapted to tomato production in California?

  • UC Riverside Researchers Improve Drought Tolerance in Plants

    Diminishing water resources, climate changes brought about by global warming, and drought conditions in many arid and semi-arid regions of the world are making it increasingly difficult to grow viable crops. Rainfall in California has been below normal in recent years, raising concerns that the state may be experiencing another of its periodic droughts. And in the sub-Saharan area of Africa where many regions depend on rain-fed agricultural production, rain can be extremely scarce and the rainy season short. On top of this, there will be enormous needs for increased food production over the next 50 years. Current projections are that the global human population will increase from approximately 6 billion currently to between 8 and 12 billion around 2050.

  • UC Riverside Researchers Develop Low-Carb Corn with Enhanced Protein and Oil

    Projected world population growth from the current 6 billion to between 8 and 12 billion by the year 2050 is expected to outstrip food production. Over the last several decades, the Green Revolution has yielded many improvements in agricultural practices that increased crop productivity in the world’s most important cereal grains. But the agricultural practices adopted during the Green Revolution are unlikely to generate the productivity gains needed in the future.

  • Training Health Care Providers Helps Protect Farmworkers from Pesticides

    One important way to improve pesticide safety for farmworkers is to provide health care workers with training and resources to help them in recognizing and treating pesticide-related illnesses and injuries. Small, rural health clinics located in farming communities generally serve California’s farmworker population. These clinics often experience frequent staff turnover, so educators must use innovative methods to provide timely pesticide information and clinical training.

  • Protecting the Environment and Human Health Through Worker Training

    Keeping pesticides out of groundwater and surface water and preventing pesticide drift are two of the most important issues facing agriculture. At the expanding agricultural-urban interface, the spotlight on these issues intensifies. Pesticide applicators are directly responsible for ensuring that pesticides do not contaminate water or drift off the application site. Their supervisors play an important role in deciding when and how to use pesticides.

  • Study Manual Series for Commercial and Private Pesticide Applicators

    Since pesticide and pest control regulations are very complex, anyone who uses or supervises the use of restricted materials must be certified. Commercial applicators must pass at least two qualifying examinations administered by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Private applicators are certified by passing an examination given by county agricultural commissioners. Until UC experts stepped in, however, all those studying for the exams struggled to glean the information they needed from various sources.

  • Salt Tolerance of Landscape Plants for Reclaimed Water Irrigation

    Water is a limited natural resource for most of the arid and semi-arid regions of the United States. Despite this, rapid population growth and development are occurring in these areas, especially California. Many municipal water providers are faced with the need to reduce demand for freshwater supplies while protecting against drought and cutting down on wastewater discharges into sensitive bays and estuaries. Agencies encourage the use of reclaimed or recycled water from wastewater treatment facilities for appropriate non-potable uses, including urban landscape irrigation. In 2000, 19.5 percent of recycled water in California was used for landscape irrigation, saving enough fresh water to supply 300,000 homes. An important caveat to the use of reclaimed water for landscape irrigation is that after most of the water treatment processes, sodium chloride is the most detrimental chemical compound remaining in the recycled water. Little information is available on the tolerance of common landscape plant species to the levels of salts found in reclaimed waters. This basic information is needed by landscape managers to ensure the maintenance of healthy landscapes, given the reality of increased use of reclaimed water for irrigation.

  • Plant Monitoring Pays Cotton Growers Considering Plant Growth Regulator Use

    Safe and effective plant growth regulators are commonly applied to cotton during the growing season to help control excessively vigorous growth, increase yield and improve fiber quality. They have been used with success for more than 20 years in conventional Upland cotton grown in California and across the U.S. cotton belt. Pima cotton’s growth is especially vigorous and if left unchecked can result in significant loss of profit and crop quality. However, little growth-regulator research has been conducted on Pima cotton, which is prized for its long and strong fiber. Because of Pima's vigorous growth habit, long growing season and unique genetic background, growers need growth regulator guidelines designed specifically for this economically important crop.

  • Empowering Food Stamp Recipients for a Better Future

    The first goal of the Food Stamp’s Nutrition Education Program (FSNEP) is to empower families and individuals to help themselves. FSNEP offers food stamp recipients and applicants the "tools" to make positive changes in their lives. These tools range from motivating recipients to eat healthier diets to teaching families how to cook in order to prepare better foods at lower costs; teaching life skills that enable recipients to get and keep a job; teaching basic survival skills such as how to get out of debt, how to shop to save money, how to use community resources; introducing food safety skills to reduce food borne illness; and helping children learn better eating habits and the importance of physical activity.

  • A Nutrition Education Program That Helps Families Make Healthful Choices

    People who are most "food insecure"--those unable to use traditional means for acquiring and managing their family food supply--are at greater risk for obesity and poor health. That fact, confirmed by a recent UC study, is one reason that poor health is more common among low-income and minority populations. Obesity is not just a matter of personal health. It is a costly and deadly public health concern that affects economic productivity and state budgets as well as personal and family well-being.

  • Engaging Latino community volunteers

    Supportive communities with residents committed to and involved in the nurturing of youth contribute significantly to the healthy development of children and their families. The increasing cultural diversity of California communities and other social phenomena, such as working parents and changing family compositions, bring new challenges to UC Cooperative Extension programs that rely on volunteer participation. With Latinos now comprising one-third of the population of California, understanding the dynamics of Latino involvement in community life is essential to designing community programs to attract the participation and meet the needs of Latinos and their families.

  • Grow Food Safely in Urban Gardens

    Many urban residents grow much of their own food in backyard or community gardens out of necessity and/or as a hobby. However, any place subjected to human activity is likely to have potentially harmful trace elements at elevated levels in the environment, particularly in the soil. Trace elements, especially heavy metals, can accumulate in the soil and on plants, and may pose a potential health risk to people who breathe or, especially, swallow contaminated soil or eat contaminated vegetables, especially young children.

  • Helping Clinical Laboratories Standardize Farmworker Tests

    Growers are required to test the blood of pesticide mixer loaders, applicators and others who contact organophosphate (OP) and organocarbamate (CB) pesticides -- such as diazinon and carbofuran -- in the workplace. Barry Wilson, animal science and environmental toxicology professor, his students and colleagues showed that tests used by California clinical laboratories often were not optimal and that results were not comparable from laboratory to laboratory. This led to a change in state regulations requiring that mandatory tests be consistent and conversion factors be generated.

  • Outbreak of new disease affects almond orchards statewide

    During wet years in the 1990s a new and unknown plant disease, later identified as an anthracnose fungus, occurred throughout most of California's almond growing region. It destroyed flowers and developing nuts, producing toxins that killed almond tree branches up to two inches in diameter. Losses continued throughout the season whenever rains occurred. Growers were at a complete loss for control of this disease and believed they might have to remove the affected orchards. Processors also were concerned because nuts infected near harvest could have internal discoloration that was difficult to detect and reduced product quality.

  • Community Agency Learning (CAL) Series

    Because over half (55%) of all California children ages 5 to 14 have both parents or a single parent working at least 30 hours per week, after-school programs are critically needed and play an important role in the lives of many children. The most important factor in the quality of this care, according to the RAND Corporation, is the quality of staff. However, maintaining staff quality is challenging due to factors such as funding uncertainty and short work hours. Although staff generally do not have teaching credentials, they are increasingly called upon to improve the academic work of low-achieving students. When that happens, traditional teaching methods that have failed the student during the school day are unlikely to succeed in after-school programs.

  • Grass Fed Beef, A Way to Preserve Open Space in California

    A large part of California's open space and wildlife habitat is provided by ranchers, whose yearly return on their investment ranges from 3% down to minus 4%. In addition to this economic squeeze, increasing urban encroachment is limiting the sustainability of these open spaces. Marketing grass-fattened beef directly to the consumer could provide both a higher return to ranchers and a product that has many health advantages for consumers.

  • Protecting grazed annual ranges

    In the early 1980s, managers of grazing on California’s annual rangelands were beset with a host of problems exacerbated by drought. A simple and yet scientifically defensible method for determining grazing capacity and regulating grazing intensity was needed. The available science was primarily based on work by federal agencies outside of the state and on perennial-dominated grasslands.

  • An Alternative to Honey Bees for Pollination

    Managing bees for pollination is becoming more difficult as beekeepers face challenges from the Africanized honey bee, the Red Imported Fire Ant, Varroa and tracheal mites and several other pests and diseases. Colony strength, winter survival and restrictions on movement of bees in to and out of the state all affect the economics of beekeeping. Growers who rely on honey bees for pollination are concerned about future availability of bees as well as increasing costs for pollination. Leafcutter bees are used for pollination on certain crops in Canada and the Pacific Northwest, but they had not been used in California due to their higher cost and more intensive management requirements. If leafcutter bees could be used to pollinate several commodities in this area, there would be greater incentive to establish the necessary infrastructure, the cost would go down, custom pollinators might become involved and more growers could take advantage of the leafcutter bee's superior pollinating activity on certain crops.

  • Lowering Food Allergies

    Common staples like cereal grains and milk provide critical sources of nutrition for many people, but can cause problems for people with food allergies. A food allergy is an abnormal response to a food triggered by the immune system and it can result in diarrhea, vomiting and in the worst cases is life-threatening. Two foods that cause allergies in children, milk and wheat, do so because certain of their proteins are held together tightly with chemical "bungie cords" and are not digested. The allergens then interact with target cells in the small intestine, causing an allergic response.

  • UC biotechnology website helps the public understand GMOs

    Thomas Cardinal Wolsey gave this warning in the late 15th century, “Be very, very careful what you put into that head, because you will never, ever get it out.” His admonition still resonates today relative to the impact of information people receive about genetically engineered (GE) crops and foods. It is the responsibility of public sector scientists to provide facts to inform consumers about issues being raised over crops and foods developed through the process of genetic engineering (biotechnology, genetically modified, or GM). This helps individuals make informed decisions about the desirability of the technology and its products.

  • 4-H Program Reaches Over 84,000 Students Since 1992

    Enhancing the elementary school classroom by bringing in outside resources helps children learn. Children's natural curiosity and interest in animals and plants creates learning moments, encourages agricultural literacy and provides opportunities for students to discuss and learn about life experiences. To affect the classroom, however, the program must be longer than a one-day exposure.

  • Nematologist Works on Resistant Grape Rootstocks

    Grape vines are susceptible to diseases caused by various nematode species, including root-knot, root-lesion, ring, citrus, and dagger nematodes. Research has indicated that root-knot nematode species often adapt to invade previously resistant rootstocks within two to 14 years after planting. Once nematode populations develop the means to exploit one rootstock, they are then able to attack all the plantings using that rootstock. The damage caused by nematodes is economically significant, resulting in lost fruit and vine vigor for growers.

  • Mulches Used to Control Avocado, Citrus Root Rot

    Phytophthora root rot of avocado and citrus is a worldwide problem, causing the potential destruction of avocado orchards and reducing fruit quality and yield for citrus. It is estimated that some 60 percent of California avocado orchards are affected by the disease.

  • Agricultural Labor Management – Conflict Management: A New Approach

    Despite the enormous strides made in modern negotiation and conflict management theory, practitioners sometimes find themselves floundering. In the traditional approach, mediators bring the contending parties together where each has the opportunity to explain his or her side while the other side listens. In reality, this approach often increases the contention between the stakeholders. Also, in this traditional approach mediators tend to take a very active part in the process, where stakeholders talk to the other party through the mediator rather than addressing each other directly. One of the concerns with this conventional approach is that mediators often take on the role of arbitrator in the process.

  • Dairy Quality Assurance Animal Health and Well-Being

    Consumers have targeted marketing organizations such a chain restaurants and grocery stores with questions on the “humaneness” of production practices utilized in food animals. The California dairy industry has campaigned their products to the consumer with sayings such as “Happy cows come from California.” With the evolution of these ads -- along with consumer queries -- animal protection organizations have responded by filing national and state law suits, which have yet to be successful in court but which have actively used the media to raise consumers’ concerns for the well-being of dairy animals. This has paralleled the on-going development of an animal welfare module which will be included in the voluntary California Dairy Quality Assurance Program.

  • Cost-benefit Analysis of Gasoline Additives & Environmental Effects

    Methyl tertiary butly ether (MTBE) was added to gasoline as an oxygenate to reduce air emissions in the state of California as well as other regions. However, lacking a comprehensive assessment of all impacts to the environment prior to adding MTBE, California is experiencing widespread contamination of groundwater and surface waters as well as formaldehyde air emissions, posing a carcinogenic threat to humans. A cost-benefit analysis was needed to evaluate the gasoline blend with MTBE versus alternatives.

  • Home Gardener On-Line Publications

    In light of the increasing need to bring up-to-date information on landscaping and gardening to urban audiences, the web offers an efficient way to provide on-line information in an accessible format to home gardeners and horticulture professionals.

  • California Hardwoods Provide Economic Development Opportunities

    California hardwoods are an underutilized natural resource. California is a major consumer of hardwood lumber (20 percent of nation’s production) but the hardwood lumber production industry in the state is almost non-existent; this is in spite of a sizable hardwood tree resource (12 billion cubic feet of timber growing stock). The economic viability of a native hardwood lumber industry depends on a thorough understanding of the lumber recovery and grade yield expected from the resource and a solid knowledge of wood properties and manufacturing characteristics. The focus of this effort is to encourage a sustainable California hardwood industry by identifying basic industry needs, raising the awareness of the potential for value-added products, developing good manufacturing practices, and providing technical assistance.

  • Cotton Harvest Aid - Defoliation

    Before cotton can be harvested, the leaves have to be removed from the plants, a process known as defoliation. This is done with harvest aid chemicals. Improper choice of materials or time of application results in poor defoliation. Ideally, the material should defoliate the entire plant with minimal desiccation of remaining leaves. Under the constraints of EPA registration as well as environmental concerns, certain defoliants may not be available in the future. There is need to evaluate alternatives to current programs to insure both effective defoliation and minimum impact on air quality.

  • Increasing Use of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) by Low-Income Families

    The Earned Income Tax Credit has been described as the largest and most successful federal assistance program for low-income working families. Last year, the EITC was responsible for elevating the families of 5 million children above the federal poverty line. However, many eligible families do not take advantage of this valuable income supplement for various reasons, as indicated by the findings of Rural Families Speak. Rural Families Speak is a longitudinal study assessing changes in the well-being of rural families in the wake of welfare reform and associated reductions in programs and services. In the first year of the study, only about one-third of the Latino participants who were eligible for the EITC had actually received the credit. The data indicated that lack of and/or inaccurate information were common reasons for non-receipt. Language and cultural barriers further diminished the likelihood that Latino families knew about and claimed the EITC.

  • California Processing Tomato Variety Evaluation

    Tomatoes are the leading processed vegetable crop in California. Annual production is about 10 million tons of fruit, grown on more than 260,000 acres and with a total on-farm value exceeding $608 million. Processing tomatoes are grown throughout the state and in many soil and temperature regimes. Under such diverse growing conditions, the performance of different varieties also varies greatly. One that does extremely well along the Central Coast may simply not set fruit out on the West Side in Fresno County.

  • Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) Eradication Efforts

    Exotic Newcastle Disease (END) is a catastrophic avian (bird) disease. An outbreak was confirmed October 1, 2002, and Southern California is under state and federal quarantines. As new pockets of the disease have been identified, states of emergency have been declared in California, Nevada and Arizona.

  • California Youth Earn National Awards at 2002 Horticulture Convention

    California is the number one horticultural state in the U.S. and has a sizable proportion of the nation's population, yet awareness of horticulture among its youth is questionable. Very few California youth have represented California in horticultural competitions in recent years, and only one in the past 10 years. This is a problem, since such young people are the future leaders of California horticulture.

  • ANR Research Clarifies Role of Tree Species in Air Pollution

    Trees and shrubs help clean the air. They absorb carbon dioxide, release oxygen and provide surfaces for the deposition of airborne particles and unhealthful gases such as ozone. Also, water evaporating from tree leaves cools the air and shade from trees cuts energy consumption, reducing the need for air-polluting energy generation. However, there is another side to the story. Some trees and shrubs emit high rates of certain volatile organic compounds (VOC), which react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sunlight to form ozone, a ground-level pollutant. Other plants emit very little VOC.

  • 4-H Youth Development: Fostering Civic Engagement

    How do we help young people understand and effectively participate in the political and social processes and institutions that shape our society? How do we prepare and encourage youth to become engaged, competent civic leaders? In response to the events of September 11, 2001, there is increased national attention to these questions. Researchers, educators and others need to identify effective strategies for engaging diverse youth in their communities and preparing them for active citizenship.

  • 4-H Youth Development: Reaching Diverse Audiences, Building Understanding of Diversity

    California is the most ethnically diverse state in the nation. It has 35% of all Latino children in the U.S., 30% of all Asian and Pacific Islanders and 14% of all Native Americans (Children Now, 1992). Approximately 62% of California’s youth under age 18 are children of color. Additionally, California leads the nation in the number of new immigrants. In order to function effectively and successfully in today’s world, our youth must learn how to work well with people from a wide diversity of cultures and backgrounds.

  • 4-H Youth Development: Advancing the Field of Youth Development

    Much research has documented the important role that out-of-school activities play for today’s youth: preventing risky behaviors such as drinking, drug use, or juvenile crime; providing safe and engaging environments for young people to continue learning; and promoting healthy youth outcomes and developmental assets. There are a wide range of organizations and approaches to youth development, but a shortage of research on which approaches work best, and under what conditions. Youth development organizations feel pressure to develop tools for measuring outcomes, but do not always have the resources to accomplish that task.

  • Ranchers Voluntarily Protect Rangeland Water Quality

    Livestock grazing and associated ranch practices may pollute surface water if not properly managed, a great concern to downstream water users and state regulatory agencies. Increased sediment from grazing induced soil erosion; increased stream temperature from removal of streamside vegetation and nutrient loading have the potential to degrade aquatic habitat that is important to several endangered species. Improper management of livestock may result in pathogen loading that can impact domestic water sources. In 1989, the range livestock industry identified water quality as a high priority issue and in 1990 began discussions with the State Water Resources Control Board, UC Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS and the California Association of Resource Conservation Districts about a voluntary program through which ranchers address clean water issues on their own propery. These discussions led to the development of the California Rangeland Water Quality Management Plan (CRWQMP).

  • Biological Control Research Helps Address New Avocado Pests

    Two exotic pests, avocado thrips and persea mite, appeared in California in 1990 and 1996, respectively. A model based on 1998 harvest data predicted that growers in the state, who produce about 95 percent of the nation's avocado crop, would experience an estimated $13 million in short-term losses, with annual losses decreasing to $6 million as the industry developed means to deal with the pests. After more than four decades of largely pesticide-free insect control, many avocado growers now find it necessary to spray their orchards to minimize foliage and fruit damage.

  • New Rice Varieties Keep the California Industry Competitive

    Improved rice varieties that meet the changing needs of diverse domestic and world markets are central to keeping the California rice industry economically healthy and rice farmers in business. High quality and reliable supply are keys to sustaining the industry.

  • Collaboration Develops Improved Avocado Maturity Test

    Since 1983, the Avocado Inspection Program of the California Department of Food and Agriculture has measured the percent of dry matter content of avocados to determine fruit maturity. The maturity testing process used for the past nine years--the opposing eighths method--was time-consuming and potentially dangerous. It involved the use of sharp blades and required the use of food processor that had to be thoroughly cleaned between each test. Given the steps involved, Inspection Program personnel had to receive significant training to conduct tests.

  • Agritourism Manual Helps California Farmers Grow Economically

    A 1999 survey of California farm operators revealed a growing need for materials on two increasingly profitable industries: agritourism and nature tourism. Farmers and ranchers have heretofore lacked a centralized resource for obtaining such materials, in a time when opportunities abound for tourist ventures to take root.

  • IPM Programs for Celery, Tomatoes Aid Growers, Public

    North American vegetable growers face a compelling need to reduce pesticide use for several reasons, including the decrease in available and effective pesticides due to the development of resistance in pests and to increasingly restrictive state and federal legislation. AES Professor of Entomology John T. Trumble of UC Riverside has led research on novel, low-input pest management strategies that have greatly reduced the use of toxic class-one and class-two pesticides by California celery and tomato growers.

  • Conservation of Biological Control Posterchild, Cottony Cushion Scale

    The vedalia beetle is a predator of a major citrus pest, cottony cushion scale. However, many of the new insectides developed to replace organophosphates (neonicotinoids and pyrethroids) or developed as reduced-risk alternatives (insect growth regulators) are quite toxic to this beneficial insect. Biological control is important in the control of cottony cushion scale as insecticides are not very effective against the pest.

  • New Bait Technology Controls Ants in Urban, Agricultural Environments

    Ants are the major pests in urban environments. Recent introductions of the red imported fire ant in urban environments in California pose a serious threat to agriculture. Argentine and field ants are a major pest in citrus and grapes, where they tend, or care for, homopteran pests and disrupt biological control.

  • High-Pressure Washer Removes Red Scale for Citrus Fruits

    California red scale is one of the key pests of citrus in California. This pest can damage and kill citrus trees when it attains very large populations, which is a rare occurrence. The more common economic damage results from these scale insects settling on the fruit, causing cosmetic flaws and a downgrading of the fruit. Significant economic losses from this cosmetic damage occur at much lower population densities than the high densities required to damage the trees. Consequently, there is a very low threshold for California red scale in citrus orchards. To keep populations below the threshold, growers have traditionally relied on high-volume sprays (up to 1,000 gallons per acre) of insecticides.