A torrent of technology is flowing into the agricultural sector. To make sense of it, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Fresno State and West Hills Community College came together with technology vendors and growers at Open Farm 2018, held in October at UC ANR's Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
“A lot of technology is coming out,” said Kearney director and UC Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist Jeff Dahlberg. “I need to caution you, it's not all is based on science. We are helping with testing.”
Dalhberg has been working with Blue River Technologies to monitor the growth of dozens of sorghum cultivars. Throughout the growing season, Blue River flew drones over the sorghum nursery with cameras to capture their growth and development.
“We have a huge phenotypic dataset,” Dalhberg said. “It will be compared at the genetic level with plant samples and help us identify genes associated with drought tolerance.”
At Open Farm, Dahlberg's field presentation was paired with Smartfield, a company that uses fixed cameras and field sensors to gather information for “big data crunching.”
PowWow Energy, based in San Francisco with a field office at the Water, Energy and Technology (WET) Center at Fresno State, met near a well at Kearney to explain how the company can help growers with decision support tools. The company believes their technology will be useful for farmers tracking groundwater usage, data that will be key to complying with new rules associated with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). SGMA, signed by Gov. Brown in 2014, gives local agencies the authority to manage groundwater in a way that achieves sustainability by 2042.
UCCE agriculture mechanization specialist Ali Pourezza introduced a prototype he developed with junior specialist German Zuniga-Ramirez that he believes will make early detection of the devastating citrus disease huanglongbing as easy as taking a photo with a smartphone camera.
The idea is based on the optical characteristics of the disease in leaves. By using a polarizing light, leaves on diseased trees are immediately identified. Infected trees can then be torn out before insects have the chance to spread the disease to other trees.
Pourezza and Zuniga-Ramirez are seeking funding to take the prototype to the next level, and eventually commercialize the product.
This sampling of innovations being showcased at Kearney is part of a continuing effort by UC to connect the ag community with technology developers and resources that is shepherded by a new UC ANR program called The VINE, Verde Innovation Network For Entrepreneurship. The VINE was created by UC ANR in 2017 to link entrepreneurs with mentors, advisors, collaborators, events, competitions and education.
At Open Farm 2018, UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston was the keynote speaker. She outlined three areas where farmers, the technology sector and academia can work together to accelerate technology application in rural parts of California: improve broadband access, identify high-value uses for biomass and establish water infrastructure in rural communities.
To address the broadband issue, Humiston is leading an initiative to document mobile internet speed across California – including rural areas. In April 2019, Humiston plans to enlist 4-H members across the state to test internet speed using the free smartphone app CalSpeed several times over a period of a week.
“This will give us a snapshot of mobile broadband service availability,” Humiston said.
The crisis in the Sierra Nevada – where millions of trees died from the drought of 2010-16 – could prompt the development of high-value uses of biomass and establish a market for biomass derived in the agricultural sector, she said.
Humiston also took the opportunity to ask participants to help make sure the critical services UC ANR provides – including county-based UC Cooperative Extension, nine research and extension centers, the UC integrated pest management program, 4-H youth development, UC Master Gardeners and others – continue to fuel the California economy. Diminished funding from the State of California is taking a toll on the UC ANR budget.
“We need people like you to work with the VINE to set up improved support,” Humiston said.
Kearney REC director Jeff Dahlberg speaks to participants at Open Farm.
UCCE specialist Ali Pourreza compares a citrus leaf infected with HLB with one that is not infected.
Representatives of PowWow Energy meet with Open Farm participants near a well at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.
Hands-on crafts, farm animals and fresh organic produce brought the Santa Clara County community to the Martial Cottle Park Harvest Festival in San Jose Oct. 6. UC Cooperative Extension in Santa Clara County participated to share gardening information, composting basics and the fun of 4-H with children and families.
The UCCE 4-H program brought virtual reality goggles that allowed children to look in any direction for a view under the sea, complete with coral, fish and a sea turtle. Santa Clara County 4-H ambassador Alexa Russo used a tablet computer to interact with the children as they looked through the goggles, asking questions to engage them in the experience.
The goggles are just one way 4-H is seeking to light a spark of interest in youth. In clubs throughout the state, 4-H youth are taking part in fun computer science and engineering projects while learning about healthy living, citizenship and leadership.
Booth visitors intrigued by the goggles at the harvest festival were invited to participate in a free event at the Google Mountain View Campus called Code Your World. The activity was developed by 4-H, Google and West Virginia University Extension to teach children about computer science with games and interaction. The Oct. 13 event is being held to to mark 4-H National Youth Science Day.
"Code Your World is fun, hands-on and easy, even for people with no computer science experience," said Fe Moncloa, UC Cooperative Extension Youth Development advisor for Santa Clara County. "We opened Code Your World to all our 4-H members, and we're also encouraging kids who aren't members to come." Space is limited and pre-registration is required. To register, go to: http://ucanr.edu/nysdscc
For more information on Code Your World and the Youth Science Day event, see the Santa Clara County 4-H website.
Children peer through VR goggles to see an undersea world, a 4-H activity shared with potential new members at the harvest festival. Behind the table from left are 4-H volunteer Stan Alger, 4-H program representative Sue Weaver, 4-H youth development advisor Fe Moncloa, and 4-H teen ambassador Alexa Russo.
Sunset 4-H member Kate Straub shows off her old English game hen.
UCCE certified master composters encourage Santa Clara County residents to turn their green and food waste into a rich garden amendment.
UC Master Gardener volunteers answered garden questions in their four-acre demonstration garden.
Master Gardeners offered a learning activity to youth visiting the event.
Fall succulent sales raised funds to support the Master Gardeners' garden.
Coyote Crest 4-H member Wes Hann with his brother's rabbit at the harvest festival.
Now through Oct. 14, California Tractor Supply customers can support 4-H by purchasing paper clovers for $1 or more at checkout.
“We are excited to partner with Tractor Supply on this annual fundraising campaign,” Shannon Horrillo, University of California's statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director said. “The funds raised will benefit California 4-H members who wish to attend 4-H camps and leadership conferences across the country.”
“The Fall Paper Clover campaign raises approximately $140,000 annually in support of California 4-H leadership and camp activities,” Horrillo said. “It's a fun way to support our 4-H youth!”
Since it began in 2010, the Fall Paper Clover campaign run by Tractor Supply Company and 4-H has generated more than $11 million in essential funding nationwide.
Find a local store at https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/store-locator.
Show your 4-H spirit by posting selfies wearing a 4-H clover, shirt or green on social media using #InspireKidstoDo or #TrueLeaders, the hashtags for National 4-H Week 2018, and tag @California4H.
About the University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
The University of California 4-H Youth Development Program is open to all youth age 5 through 19 years. More than 109,000 youth and nearly 14,000 adult volunteers participate in 4-H throughout California. The program is delivered through the Cooperative Extension offices of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), a statewide network of the University of California. UC ANR researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more at ucanr.edu.
4-H, the nation's largest youth development and empowerment organization, cultivates confident kids who tackle the issues that matter most in their communities right now. In the United States, 4-H programs empower 6 million young people through the 110 land-grant universities and Cooperative Extension in more than 3,000 local offices serving every county and parish in the country. Outside the United States, independent, country-led 4-H organizations empower 1 million young people in more than 50 countries. National 4-H Council is the private sector, non-profit partner of the Cooperative Extension System and 4-H National Headquarters located at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within the United States Department of Agriculture.
About Tractor Supply
Founded in 1938, Tractor Supply Company is the largest rural lifestyle retail store chain in the United States. As of July 1, 2017, the company operated 1,630 Tractor Supply stores in 49 states and an e-commerce website at www.tractorsupply.com. Tractor Supply stores are focused on supplying the lifestyle needs of recreational farmers and ranchers and others who enjoy the rural lifestyle, as well as tradesmen and small businesses.
People who raise backyard and community livestock and poultry are invited to learn the latest disease prevention and treatment information from University of California experts. UC Cooperative Extension and the School of Veterinary Medicine are hosting a series of workshops in Northern California, starting in Sonoma, Contra Costa and Stanislaus counties.
- Animal health
- Emergency preparedness
- Veterinary feed directive
- Antibiotic use under Senate Bill 27 (SB 27)
Livestock owners will have an opportunity to ask questions, raise concerns and connect with local veterinarians, UC Cooperative Extension advisors and other livestock enthusiasts.
The Healthy Animals, Healthy People Workshops are scheduled at the following locations:
- Santa Rosa, Sept. 29, 2018, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Sonoma County Farm Bureau, 3589 Westwind Blvd, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
- Modesto, Oct. 13, 2018, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Stanislaus County Harvest Hall, 3800 Cornucopia Way, Modesto, CA 95358
- Concord, Nov. 10, 2018, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the UC Cooperative Extension Office, 2380 Bisso Lane Ste. B, Concord, CA 94520-4829
The workshop fee is $10, which includes lunch. For more information and to register for this workshop, please visit http://ucanr.edu/backyardlivestock.
[Updated 10/5/2018 The Oct. 6 Concord workshop has been postponed until Nov. 10.]
On Oct. 2, the prescribed-fire workshop will be held at Colfax Veterans Memorial Hall, 22 Sunset Circle, Colfax.
On Oct. 4, the workshop will be held at Ebbett's Pass Fire District, 1037 Blagen Road, Arnold.
The one-day workshop is designed for landowners and land managers who want to learn skills in prescribed-fire planning and implementation. In addition to reducing wildfire fuels, prescribed fire is used to control invasive plant species and for ecological restoration.
Each workshop will feature similar content including presentations on prescribed fire, including local fire history and current fire research, prescribed fire permitting and legal considerations, fire weather forecasting and online tools, air quality and smoke management, fire terms and fire behavior, burn plan development, burn unit preparation and fire tools and equipment. Instructors will also discuss models for accomplishing prescribed fire on private lands, including prescribed burn associations and CAL FIRE's Vegetation Management Program.
During the last week of October, participants in each workshop will be invited by UC Cooperative Extension to a field trip to look at lands actively managed with prescribed fire and to participate in a live training burn (weather permitting) at UC Berkeley's Blodgett Research Forest in Georgetown in El Dorado County.
For more information, contact Susie Kocher, UC Cooperative Extension advisor, at (530) 542-2571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.