ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2014 New Call for Positions

2014 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2014 cycle.

Position Details

101 Pathology of Field and Vegetable Crops Specialist

Proposed Location/Housing

Department of Plant Pathology, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

Proposed Area of Coverage

California agricultural lands, with emphasis on San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys


Associated Documents



This is one of the most critical positions in Cooperative Extension for supporting the work of Farm Advisors through out California. Mike Davis's research and diagnostic lab has provided an invaluable service to the Agricultural Industry by diagnosing new diseases, educating the ag industry about plant diseases, and evaluating new methods to control plant diseases. It is very important to keep the continuity of this service by quickly refilling this position, ideally before Mike retire's so that he can provide some guidance to the new Specialist.
Posted Apr 21, 2014 9:21 AM by Michael Cahn
I agree with Mike Cahn's input on the importance of this position and the need to refill before Mike retires.
Posted Apr 22, 2014 2:12 PM by Surendra Dara
i think Mike Cahn captures it. This is a critical position for the university and the state, with impacts that go well beyond our borders. I believe this should be a top priority for ANR.
Posted Apr 30, 2014 8:24 PM by Rick Bostock
We (UC Davis and California agriculture) have been very fortunate to have Mike Davis in this position. I think his accomplishments, and the respect and positive interactions that have come from his work have only been positive on all fronts. This position is now critical for California, for agriculture and for the University and its reputation. This position is now one of the most important, it must be filled as a priority and we must make the effort to maintain the excellence that is expected. Mike's accomplishments will make it much easier for someone new to move in and get support, but only if we move on this now. And we need it now.
Posted May 1, 2014 7:32 AM by Bryce Falk
Filling this position proposal is extremely important to California agriculture. Growers, PCAs, and farm advisors including myself are heavily reliant on the disease diagnosis services currently provided by Mike Davis. A large portion of CA's multi-billion dollar field and vegetable industry relies on UC expertise for disease diagnosis and research investigating methods to improve disease management. Private industry expertise in disease diagnosis is very limited, and many stakeholders are concerned about filling the gap in service and expertise when Mike retires. Although not discussed in the proposal, this position has strong support from the ANR Research and Extension Centers. The position's focus is a great fit with priority research and extension topics at multiple RECs, and Mike Davis currently provides extensive research and extension support to multiple RECs.
Posted May 1, 2014 7:59 AM by Rob Wilson
The Pathology of Field and Vegetable Crops Specialist position is crucial to growers and consultants working in annual crops, and for continued visibility of UC among these clientele groups. Mike Davis has been a valuable resource in the area of plant pathology by working with many Advisors in diagnosis and research. Advisors, with or without plant pathology background, routinely receive calls for diagnosis or pathology issues; the availability of a pathologist with a well-equipped laboratory is an indispensable benefit. Plant diseases are consistently listed among the most critical production issues by agricultural industry representatives: Evidence for this is the lists of priorities and funded projects of annual crop commodity groups. If the position is established soon enough to provide continuity, it is more likely to benefit from the momentum that Mike’s program has generated.
Posted May 1, 2014 9:00 AM by Tom Turini
The Leafy Greens industry also supports the need for this position. Mike Davis has been an important resource for us and we would strongly recommend that his replacement be hired on a schedule that allows for some overlap. Plant disease diagnostics and research are critical for California agriculture.
Posted May 1, 2014 10:31 AM by Mary Zischke
Field and Vegetable crop specialist position is a very critical position. Mike davis has accomplished an amazing job over the years. He built a great reputation for this position in California during his assignment. It is a need position needs to be refilled as soon as possible.
Posted May 1, 2014 3:48 PM by Akif Eskalen
This is a critical needs position. Mike Davis and his lab have been instrumental in helping with so many UCCE research projects and providing diagnostic plant disease identification. My program has been dependent on his expertise and help with projects and thanks to his contributions and leadership, California agriculture has benefited tremendously.
Posted May 2, 2014 11:26 AM by Rachael Long
The cotton industry has been challenged over the last several years after the discovery of a rare disease of cotton known as Fusarium oxysporum vasinfectum(FOV) Race 4. Ca, is the only state in US where this disease has been absolutly identified to date althought supicious relatives are being tracked in other areas of US. There are no known economic resasonable controls for this disease to date and its spread has continued in Ca. cotton fields. We are fortunate that when first discovered there were already a few commercial varieties being planted here that had varying degrees of tolerance from very little to high so testing for tolerances, management and containment measures have been the key to our industry survival thus far, but the ultimate solution will be development of resistant varieties which is underway. Mike Davis and his lab's outstanding work has been a key componentof our industry's research program to deal with this disease thus far. Identification of the disease in plant tissue, seed and soil, disease profile and educating the industry, producing inoculm for testing, inoculation methods, measurements of inoculum levels, control of disease in seed lots, and on and on. Loss of this position and continued work of this type on behalf of the Ca. Cotton Industry would be a tremendous set back in this industry's quest to survive this plague. With Dr. Davis' planned retirement in 2015,we urge UC's utmost consideration and expedited review and filling of this key position to allow for a productive and efficient transition and transfer of knowledge. Thank you.
Posted May 5, 2014 12:18 PM by Earl P. Williams, former Pres./CEO (retired) Ca. Cotton Growers and Ginners Associations
This is a vital position for the vegetable, cotton and other field crops grown in California. This position has a long history of having significant impacts on many row crops grown in the state. These have been real world contributions to the growers, pest control advisors, and farm advisors who work in the field. The bottom line is that this position has saved significant monetary loses by plant pathogens to the agricultural industry.
Besides being a vital position research position this position has directly served farm advisors by providing support in identification and recommendations of pathological issue seen in the field thus providing quick solutions to growers. This position is also vital in communicating to the department what issues are affecting growers and what pathological issues lay beyond the campus.
This is a hugely important position that provides significant support to a wide range of agricultural industry people across a wide range of agricultural commodities. Arguably this position has historically impacted the agricultural industry more so than any other UUCE specialist position. Getting the right candidate for this position will allow for that tradition of excellence to continue.
Posted May 6, 2014 11:31 AM by Joe Nunez
This is an extremely important position for California Agriculture. This position should be filled as quickly as possible so Dr. Davis can have some time to impart some of his knowledge to the incoming candidate. As a farmer who has worked closely with Dr. Davis and who has seen the benefit of this research position, I urge you to quickly fill it. Thank you.
Posted May 6, 2014 2:28 PM by Cannon Michael
This is a critical position and should be filled as quickly as possible while Mike is still working to ensure a smooth transition, so as to not have a negative impact on the California agriculture industry. Mike has served a vital role for ag in this state and there are currently no other UCCE specialists that will be able to fill the void that will be left when he retires. I urge you spend time finding the right candidate that will carry on the tradition of hard work and dedication that Mike is known for. Thank you- Nicole Hostert, California Crop Improvement Asso.
Posted May 7, 2014 10:00 AM by Nicole Hostert
This position is critical to California agriculture and to the reputation and visibility of UCCE. As Tom Turini mentioned, plant diseases are among the most important production issues identified by industry, however the private sector has little capacity in the areas of disease diagnosis and management. Therefore this position presents a great opportunity for UC to have a major impact on California’s field and vegetable crop industries. This position is also vital in connecting UC advisors to the department; it directly supports advisors’ research and extension programs and also supports the research of AES faculty by informing them of disease issues that are affecting California growers.
Posted May 7, 2014 12:45 PM by Brenna J. Aegerter
This position, whether occupied by Mike or his predecessor Dennis Hall, has been an important resource for the vegetable growers, consultants, and advisors in Merced County for decades. The partnership between Bob Scheuerman and Dennis Hall lead to the development of meristem tip propagation in sweetpotatoes to control viruses and was instrumental in making the commercial sweetpotato industry in California the most productive in the world, and created a model that other universities have followed. This is just one small example of the importance of this position and the real impact it can have on California agriculture. I send many plant samples to Mike for disease analysis and verification, and this connection back to the main campus is extremely valuable to myself as well as growers and consultants. The lab, expertise, and credibility of the UC support system are all important. Keep the paradigm intact without a break in service.
Posted May 9, 2014 11:02 AM by Scott Stoddard
On behalf of the California Research Boards and Commission housed here at Monfort Management Services, Inc., (alfalfa seed, carrot, celery, citrus nursery, cling peach, dry bean, melon, pepper and potato) I enthusiastically support the filling of this vital position at the University. Mike's unique experience and expertise will be greatly missed, and though replacing him will be a tall task, it is critical that the position he leaves be filled in a timely manner. California's size, crop diversity and many unique growing environments make it difficult to identify and stay ahead of the ever expanding universe of plant diseases, making this position essential to the continued outstanding reputation that California agriculture currently enjoys.
Posted May 22, 2014 4:18 PM by JD Allen
The California Tomato Research Institute, a crop improvement association active in supporting many UC activities, appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposed Pathology of Field and Vegetable Crops Specialist position to be housed at UC Davis. In reading the currently 16 comments, it is heartening to see the wide scope and tremendous service provided by the current specialist, Mike Davis. For processing tomatoes, Mike remains our primary diagnostic and research pathologist. His position and proximity give him the unique role of first responder and lead organizer in nearly every plant health issue we have had. His ability in coordinating cross-discipline diagnostics will be difficult to duplicate, but we must.
Like other commenters, we greatly appreciate his high level of effectiveness and are concerned with a timely transition to a new specialist. Due to the direct and often immediate industry importance of this position, we highly encourage an overlap to avoid any gap in capability. In evaluating the position proposal, we also strongly encourage retention of the full time CE appointment feature, as even minor partial appointments (instruction) greatly impact location-specific work and responsiveness. We remain hopeful that UC will recognize the importance and relevance of this position to stakeholders by expediting a successful search and placement. Thank you.
Posted May 23, 2014 12:45 PM by Charles Rivara, Director California Tomato Research Institute, Inc.
I strongly support the refill of the UCCE Plant Pathology position at UC Davis for vegetable and field crops. For my program over the years, the Extension Pathologist has been perhaps the most valuable in helping solve industry problems and to support the program needs in my vegetable crop assignment.

Critical need. Will continue to be a highly valued position for advisors and industry. Needs support for travel to the counties and for operating the diagnostic lab service.
Posted Jun 4, 2014 5:11 PM by Gene Miyao
California’s agricultural industry generates $43 billion in annual output and accounts for over 7.5% of employment, directly and indirectly. A major key to good yields starts with the seed and disease free plant development. Mike Davis’ field visits, research, diagnostic lab, industry education, and evaluation of new disease control methods has been critical in understanding and solving a compendium of plant diseases affecting crop production. The agricultural landscape continues to change and with it comes new disease challenges that can severely threaten any commodity. A recent case in point is the disease Fusarium oxysporum vasinfectum (FOV) Race 4 that is seriously afflicting cotton production. It is vital that Mike Davis’ position be immediately filled, preferably before Mike retires, in order to share his expansive experience and expertise and for a seamless transition of service so needed by our industry.
Posted Jun 25, 2014 11:29 AM by Mary Wadsworth, J. G. Boswell Company
The Pathology of Field and Vegetable Crops Specialist position is of critical importance to the health and productivity of agriculture in California. At no time has this been more evident than during the recent establishment and spread of FOV race 4 in San Joaquin Valley cotton fields. The proactive response of Dr. Mike Davis and his colleagues has been critical to understanding the origin and spread of this disease. Furthermore, Mike has developed molecular tools which have been essential in identifying infested fields and he has provided greenhouse screening protocols which are assisting the industry in the phenotyping of breeding and mapping populations thereby enabling the rapid development of genetic resistance. This cooperation represents the absolute best in collaboration between the public and private research. FOV race 4 is an excellent current example of the speed with which new pathogens can arise to threaten California agriculture and underscores the need for the ongoing funding of this position which has proven to be of enormous value to California agriculture.
Posted Jun 28, 2014 7:41 PM by David Anderson
Zuckerman Family Farms has depended on the support provided by this position for many years. The help given to our farm has been instrumental in making proper management decisions regarding pathology and quality issues related to potatoes and other crops. Through the cooperation of Mike Davis, with the California Potato Research Advisory Board, important insight and understanding of plant diseases and their control has benefited the California potato industry as a whole. As competition increases and profit margins shrink, support given by this position will continue to be vital for the coming years.
Posted Jul 8, 2014 12:21 PM by Ken Jochimsen, Zuckerman Family Farms, Inc.
I am an organic vegetable grower and need to have more weapons in my arsenal to combat weeds, insects, and diseases. Nutritional programs-organic would also be beneficial. I need to know what is going on with my crops. Hopefully the pathology specialist will be able to provide answers.
Posted Jul 11, 2014 11:00 AM by Hans Wilgenburg
This position through Mike Davis has been extremely important to the success of the processing tomato industry over the years. As a grower and a director of the California Tomato Research Institute I recall many times we have asked Mike Davis to assist in critical issues facing the tomato industry and I don't see the need becoming less in the future.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 11:10 AM by Tony Turkovich
The Plant Pathology position at UC Davis for vegetable and field crops is definitely needed . The Extension Pathologist is of high value to the extension service which is very beneficial to us as growers. I believe it to be one of the most beneficial in helping solve issues in vegetable crops.

Posted Jul 17, 2014 3:10 PM by Bryan Barrios
The California Alfalfa & Forage Association strongly supports filling the proposed position “Pathology of Field and Vegetable Crops Specialist.” As mentioned by previous commenters, Mike Davis’ retirement will leave a void which must be filled. A broad cross-section of California agriculture relies on the disease diagnosis services currently provided and there must not be a lapse in provision of this vital service.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 9:58 AM by California Alfalfa & Forage Association
I have little to add to the other comments. My family farms a variety of row crops, and the work of plant pathologists is critical to our business. Both organic and conventional growers depend on the knowledge of Extension experts in this field. It is important, too, that the transition to a new person does not waste the expertise of Mike Davis; there needs to be some overlap for training and learning.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 1:24 PM by Philip Bowles
My #1 source for information to solve problems comes from the UC extension system, especially the area of plant pathology as symptoms can be tricky to diagnose in the field. I have grown tomatoes for 41 years capitalizing on critical analysis by UC extension. A huge void would develop with the absence of a plant pathologist as California agriculture turns more to drip irrigation which saves water, but leads to monoculture systems that tend to have more disease issues.
Posted Jul 19, 2014 10:04 AM by Scott Park, Park Farming

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