Speaking at a centennial event? Being interviewed by media? Trying to communicate what the UCCE centennial is all about? Use the following talking points as a guideline.
Add 1-2 local historical anecdotes
- The year 2014 marks the Centennial of University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE), the research and outreach arm of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, a nationwide system of community- based education, established by passage of the Smith-Lever act in 1914 as part of each state’s land-grant university.
- By 1914, new knowledge and technologies developed by UC scientists were critical to the growth of farming and allied industries around the state and efforts were already underway in California to create an agricultural extension system, building on the success of the University of California.
- Many California farmers were excited about the possibility of having a Cooperative Extension farm advisor,who was familiar with local conditions and crops, assigned to their community.
- Valuing public-private partnerships, the Smith-Lever Act required each county government that wanted to participate in the Cooperative Extension partnership to allocate funding to help support extension work in that community. Additionally, it required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a “farm bureau” to help guide the farm advisor on the issues of local agriculture. (These grassroots groups later evolved into the California Farm Bureau Federation).
- Humboldt County was the first county to sign up and they had their farm advisor in place by July 1913, anticipating passage of federal legislation. (Our county got its start in ____________)
- In its first years, Cooperative Extension played a critical role on the home front during World War I, helping farmers to grow enough wheat and other crops to meet expanded wartime needs.
- Cooperative Extension officials understood the importance of introducing new technologies to a younger generation. They formed clubs in which youth could experiment with new agricultural methods and then share their success with their parents. Eventually the clubs took the name 4-H, representing head, heart, hands and health.
- After World War II, as the nation urbanized, many Cooperative Extension efforts were developed to meet the needs of non-rural audiences including nutrition education and the creation of the Master Gardener Program, which offers workshops and advice to home, community and school gardeners.
Personalize with local details when and where possible
- Today, UC Cooperative Extension spans the state from Tulelake to El Centro, employing 320 UCCE academics actively engaged in research and extension projects.
- UCCE advisors and specialists are critical partners with California’s farmers and ranchers, providing growers with scientifically tested production techniques, increasing food safety, and help addressing environmental concerns.
- UC Cooperative Extension is also a key research and outreach partner with government agencies in communities throughout California. For example, UCCE is partnering with the California Department of Water Resources to provide Californians with resources to cope with drought.
- Every year, 4-H youths participate in approximately 140,000 science, engineering and technology related projects, 13,000 healthy living projects, and 28,000 citizenship projects. Recent evaluations show that youths engaged in 4-H excel at a greater level in school and in the sciences, make more healthy choices, and more actively contribute to their communities than non-4-H youths.
- UCCE Nutrition education program staff are members of the communities they support; and programs focus on low-income underserved populations (69% Hispanic, 13% Asian, 9% African American, and 6% Native American). Using hands-on, interactive workshops and a class series, an average of 74,460 youth as well as 11,700 adults and families improve their diet and food safety skills through ANR’s nutrition programs each year.
- California is also home to 5,400 trained University of California Master Gardener volunteers who contribute roughly 350,000 hours to educating the public in research-based home horticulture practices each year.
Under each called out problem, highlight work that is being done locally to address the issue.
- After years of reductions due to state budget cuts, UC ANR is rebuilding and committed to strengthening UC’s public service mandate to conduct and apply the best research to vexing problems in agriculture, natural resources, youth development and nutrition. Problems such as:
- Water - in California, water is the life-blood of the state’s economy; its availability and quality is critical for the state’s agricultural, urban, and environmental systems now and in perpetuity. We need to improve Water Quality, Quantity, and Security.
- Pests and Diseases – We need to manage Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases.
- Childhood obesity, rising school dropout rates, and low student achievement – We need to increase science literacy and improve the health of families and communities.
- Rising global populations, climate change and a potential decline in agricultural productivity -- we need to enhance competitive, sustainable food system.
- Land use change, fragmentation, and limited science literacy about these ecosystems – We need to enhance Sustainable Natural Ecosystems.
- Investment in agricultural research is important for the economy, the environment, and the health of our communities. Economists have shown that every $1 invested in agricultural research and development has provided a benefit to California of $21, with another $11 in spillover benefits to other states.
- With your help, we envision a thriving California where healthy food systems, healthy environments, and healthy communities are strengthened by a close partnership between the University of California's research and extension programs and the people of the state.