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

049 Forage, Agronomy & Waste Water Reuse in Merced, Madera & Stanislaus

Proposed Location/Housing


Proposed Area of Coverage

Stanislaus, Merced & Madera


Associated Documents



The westside of the San Joaquin Valley, with Dos Palos/Los Banos being central and extending northward into Stanislaus County, has a long and favorable history of high production of many agronomic crops, especially cotton, alfalfa, melons, and tomatoes. Commercial growers are very supportive of Extension programs in cotton variety development and IPM. An agronomy advisor would have ample opportunity to have significant impact on important issues of nutrient and water management, irrigation technology, and weed control.
Posted May 9, 2014 10:42 AM by Scott Stoddard
The California Dry Bean Advisory Board would like to offer its support of the proposed position “Area FA with emphasis on agronomy, weed management, and nutrient/waste water management” in Stanislaus, Merced and Madera counties. Weeds can always threaten the production of dry beans and weed control continues to be a priority for the bean industry. Although growers maintain their own weed control programs as mentioned in the justifications there are always new issues growers face that may complicate their programs. Common weeds that are difficult to control is nutsedge, nightshades and annual morning glory.
Posted Jul 11, 2014 1:06 PM by Nathan Sano
Given the myriad challenges faced by alfalfa and forage growers in this area (weed management and water management to name two), the California Alfalfa & Forage Association strongly supports filling of the proposed position “Area Advisor for Forage, Agronomic Crops & Waste Water Reuse in Merced, Madera & Stanislaus Counties.” This position would fill the current agronomic weed management advisor void left by prior UCCE retirements. San Joaquin Valley’s unrivaled concentration of dairy cow requires massive amounts of high-quality forage. Filling this position will help support the critical forage producers that support the dairy industry in this area.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 9:28 AM by California Alfalfa & Forage Association
My family has farmed in the Los Banos region for nearly 160 years, and although some of our crops have changed, we have produced forage the entire time. Forage production is one of the primary economic engines of the entire local farm economy. This particular position, with its emphasis on water use, is particularly timely. We are all learning how to do more with less, and help from an advisor in this position would be invaluable right now.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 9:36 AM by Philip Bowles
Milk is the top valued commodity in California, accounting for $6.9 billion in 2012, and is also the top valued commodity in Stanislaus and Merced Counties & third in Madera County. Combined, these counties account for 29% of the CA milk supply and $1.9 billion. In recent years, the dairy industry has been plagued with a combination of low milk prices and very high feed prices, conditions that have led to numerous dairy closures in recent years. Applied research is desperately needed to address the challenges of the CA dairy industry.

One of the challenges is forage availability and quality; homegrown forages are the most economical feedstuff utilized in California rations. Corn silage ranks in the top 10 commodities produced in each of these counties, accounting for $287 million. Winter cereal, alfalfa, and alternative dairy forages such as sorghum are other commodities for potential research. An advisor conducting an applied research program with dairy forages, including management of manure nutrients and increasing irrigation efficiencies is desperately needed.

Jennifer Heguy
Dairy Farm Advisor
UCCE Merced, Stanislaus & San Joaquin Counties
Posted Jul 18, 2014 2:06 PM by Jennifer Heguy
On behalf of the Dairy Quality Assurance Workgroup the following comments are provided:
The workgroup identifies the Area Advisor for Forage, Agronomic Crops & Waste Water Reuse in Merced, Madera & Stanislaus Counties as a high priority position. This position would complement the Tulare, Fresno, Kings county agronomy advisor and aid in providing critical mass and vital impact in the San Joaquin Valley. California dairy cows produce more than 20% of the US milk supply. The largest concentration of dairies (greatest number of individual operators) is in Merced, Madera, and Stanislaus Counties. Forage is a key ingredient in cattle diets both to control costs associated with feed production and to manage nutrients on farm. Key to dairies in the Central Valley is compliance with Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Waste Discharge Requirements for Existing Milk Cow dairies. Dairy operators are obligated to not exceed nitrogen application of 1.4 times nitrogen removed on farm land where manure is applied. Key to this process is determining nitrogen mineralization rates and disseminating information to dairy producers. Equally important is irrigation water management to improve efficiency and distribution uniformity to keep plant available nutrients in the root zone while conserving valuable water resources. An Area Forage, Agronomic Crops and Waste Water Reuse Farm Advisor will fill a void in our ANR system. We currently have no specific individual identified for solely this purpose although there are/were some individuals who do parts of forage and waste water reuse. Having a dedicated individual will complement the UC ANR team. The individual will have a natural, logical connection to the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program’s Environmental Stewardship module. The individual will work with existing alfalfa and forage advisors and specialists at Kearney (sorghum and corn expertise) to expand ANR visibility and impact. Drought and climate change will alter the landscape of the San Joaquin Valley. Improved water use efficiency will require improved weed control practices. As long as agriculture is present, a vibrant dairy industry is needed so cattle may consume by-products (almond hulls, cottonseed meal, distillers grains, wheat bran, cull produce, cull fruit, citrus pulp, etc.) thereby improving profitability of many farming operations by selling waste as feed. Absent the cows, these waste streams may yield reduced revenue or worst case scenario may require costs for disposal.
Posted Jul 19, 2014 2:06 PM by Deanne Meyer
The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) supports the Area Advisor for Forage, Agronomic Crops & Waste Water Reuse in Merced, Madera & Stanislaus Counties as a high priority position. This position would complement the Tulare, Fresno, Kings county proposed agronomy advisor and aid in providing critical mass and vital impact in the San Joaquin Valley. The California dairy industry produces more than 20% of the US milk supply and is a critical component to the state’s economy. The bulk of the state’s dairy operations are located in the San Joaquin Valley (with the highest numbers of facilities being located in the Merced, Madera & Stanislaus Counties collectively) and are regulated by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Waste Discharge Requirements for Existing Milk Cow Dairies. Their ability to grow forage is key to their ability to maintain affordable feed rations as well as implement nutrient management plans to comply with regulations. Dairies in the Central Valley are under some of the strictest water and air quality regulations in the nation. As a base funder of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program, CDRF has been partnering with the University of California Cooperative Extension in supporting dairy producers in ongoing environmental stewardship improvement and compliance through its wide-spread education program and understands the dire need for additional expertise in this area. Since 2007, dairy operators in the Central Valley have been required to hit a 1.4 nitrogen ratio on a per crop, per field basis as part of their nutrient management plans. Subject matter experts on forage cropping systems, nutrient management and irrigation management are critical to assisting the dairy operators in continued nutrient management improvement. This is the single largest critical issue to the longevity of the dairy industry. No current position within the UCCE exists to provide this combined package of service and focus. Continued unbiased, applied research and grass roots education will be paramount to supporting the dairy industry in improved nutrient management and ensuring their continued viability and economic contribution to the local and state economies. Such a position would be a welcome addition to the team working within the CDQAP.
Thank you.
Gonca Pasin, RD, PhD
Executive Director
California Dairy Research Foundation
Posted Jul 21, 2014 4:09 PM by Gonca Pasin, RD, PhD

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