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ANR shines at Ag Day at the Capitol

Ag Day is important for giving urban legislators a taste of agriculture, said Senator Anna Caballero, left. “It gives us the opportunity to show the product, to show how we do the work, and to also celebrate that we rely heavily on the food that is harvested here in California with the efforts of the workers who sustain the economy.

Legislators, agency staff and other policymakers celebrated Ag Day at the Capitol in Sacramento with UC ANR leaders, UC Cooperative Extension advisors, The VINE, UC Master Gardeners and 4-H members on March 19.

Under a warm sun, hundreds of Ag Day participants visited UC ANR booths to maneuver a farm robot, encounter 4-H rabbits and a lamb, ask gardening questions and view nearly 20 varieties of citrus grown at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center.

With direction from a Sheldon 4-H club member, Senator Monique Limon strikes a pose for showing a sheep as Assemblyman James Gallagher and a staff member observe.

State Senator Anna Caballero, speaking about Ag Day on camera to Miguel Sanchez of News and Information Outreach in Spanish, said: “Este es un asunto muy importante para el estado y muchas veces los que viven en las ciudades no saben nada de agricultura. Este nos da la oportunidad de enseñar el producto, de enseñar cómo hacemos el trabajo y de celebrar también que dependemos bastante en la comida que se cosecha aquí en California con el esfuerzo de los trabajadores que mantienen la economía.” [This is a very important issue for the state and many times those who live in the cities know nothing about agriculture. It gives us the opportunity to show the product, to show how we do the work, and to also celebrate that we rely heavily on the food that is harvested here in California with the efforts of the workers who sustain the economy.]

Susan Ellsworth, Master Gardener volunteer Anita Brown, Glenda Humiston and Lindsey Kelley, Small Farms community educator.

Vice President GlendaHumiston; Associate Vice President Brent Hales; Margaret Lloyd,UCCE small farmsadvisor; Sarah Light,UCCE agronomy farmadvisor; Clarissa Reyes,UCCE orchard systemsadvisor; andUCCE Capitol Corridor Director Susan Ellsworth were on hand to greet visitors and answer questions.

Clarissa Reyes, left, learns about farm robotics.

“We're talking about food, fiber, economic development, jobs, national security with food security and really celebrating the historical legacy of food in the state of California,” said Hales, who was participating for the first time. (See his blog post in ANR Adventures.)

Tammy Majcherek, left, described characteristics of different avocado varieties to Senator Steven Bradford.

Tammy Majcherek, community educator at UC South Coast Research and Extension Center, traveled to Sacramento to answer questions about avocados and citrus. The team from The VINE – Hanif Houston, Lucie Cahierre and Terri White – discussed UC ANR's role in helping entrepreneurs advance robotics and other innovations to keep California agriculture competitive.

4-H State Ambassador Laurelyn served as co-emcee.

Laurelyn Roeser of Orange County, one of our 4-H State Ambassadors, was honored to serve as co-emcee with a member of FFA for the ceremony. First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, California Secretary of Food and Agriculture Karen Ross, State Senator Melissa Hurtado, Assemblymember Esmeralda Soria and ag education leader Judy Culbertson spoke about “Next-Gen Tools, Talent and Tech,” this year's theme for Ag Day. They emphasized the importance of accessible, healthful food – and the people who produce it – for the health and prosperity of Californians.

Sloughhouse 4-H club joined the event for the first time.

Members of the Sheldon and Sloughhouse 4-H clubs brought rabbits and a lamb and described for visitors what they have learned from their 4-H experiences.

Anne Megaro greeted Assemblymember Jim Wood.

Anne Megaro and Sheron Violini of government and community relations worked with Ag Day at the Capitol co-hosts – California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Women for Agriculture, and the California Foundation for Agriculture in the Classroom – to coordinate UC ANR's presence at Ag Day.

Karen Ross, CDFA secretary, discussed kumquats with Mike Hsu.

Global Food Initiative fellow Mia Reyes made an overview video for Instagram.
“There is no other event at the Capitol like Ag Day,” said Megaro, who attended Ag Day for five years when she worked for the California Senate Committee on Agriculture before joining UC ANR.

“Legislators and their staff see, smell, touch and taste actual produce grown at our RECs; they hear directly from our 4-H youth and Master Gardener volunteers about their personal experiences; they meet real scientists who work in soil and agricultural production; and they get to control a live, working robot. It's these first-hand experiences that stick in the memories of legislators and their staff and build appreciation and awareness for UC ANR.”

To see more photos of the event, see @ucanr social media posts for March 19 and 20 and #CAAgDay24. UC ANR Global Food Initiative fellow and UC Davis student Mia Reyes made an video of Ag Day for Instagram and the News and Information in Spanish team made a video for YouTube.

On April 10, Megaro and Violini will be coordinating visits for legislators to meet with UC ANR academics to learn about wildfire preparation, economic development and other research and extension projects.

Posted on Wednesday, March 27, 2024 at 9:38 PM
Tags: Ag Day (3), March 2024 (10)

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