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

114 Soil-plant-water Relations and Irrigation Management Specialist

Proposed Location/Housing

Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis

Proposed Area of Coverage

California - statewide

Contacts

Associated Documents

Comments

19 Comments

1
I would like to express my strong support for this position. I believe the understand and applied research in soil-plant-water relations is extremely important for the state of California. There is a need to optimize the use of our water and soil resources in agronomic systems, thus, this position will help to understand this relationship and provide solutions in a field that at this point there is no specialist working on. In terms of collaboration, I can easily seeing this individual collaborating with many departments of different campus, as well as institutions such as USDA, NRCS. DWR, and group of crop commodities. This person will also enhance a core group of water and irrigation specialist at UC Davis
Posted Jul 18, 2014 7:19 AM by Samuel Sandoval
2
The State Water Resources Control Board (State Water Board) supports UC Davis creating/filling the position of "Soil-plant-water Relations and Irrigation Management Specialist” with expertise in resource-efficient irrigation management as described in the position description provided (i.e. “…….. in the face of diverse and evolving cropping systems, water quality regulations, and the increased scarcity and uncertainty of irrigation water supplies in California.”). The State Water Board recommends that the position description tie-in nutrient use efficiency (e.g. nitrate balance and budget) with irrigation management.

The State and Regional Water Boards’ (collectively Water Boards) mission is “To preserve, enhance, and restore the quality of California’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations.”

To accomplish its mission, the Water Boards develop regulatory programs to assess water quality and protect the beneficial uses of State waters. One of these programs is the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program (ILRP). The ILRP objective is to work with the agricultural community and other agricultural related agencies/entities, such as UC Davis, to assist the growers enrolled in the ILRP to:

• Meet regulatory requirements while maintaining health, safety and environmental standards by promoting cost-effective innovation.
• Expand environmental stewardship on farms and ranches by identifying beneficial management practices that improve the environment, farm viability, and, the agricultural economy.
• Promote agricultural research that anticipates growing challenges by working to ensure research and the extension of research to support economic viability and environmental sustainability.

Building relationships and creating effective partnerships is vital for protecting our water resources while at the same time sustaining California agriculture. The State Water Board recognizes that UC Davis ANR and LAWR programs have the potential to provide great value by working in a collaborative partnership to address irrigation and nutrient management issues in the irrigated agriculture arena. The State Water Board also recognizes that numerous strategies will be needed to address agricultural related water quality impairment and enhance a sustainable future for agriculture, as well as address other agricultural priority issues.

As California attempts to grapple with the worst drought in modern history, the State Water Board looks forward to developing ongoing partnerships to accomplish our mission as stated above.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 8:11 AM by Johnny Gonzales
3
The California Alfalfa & Forage Association (CAFA) strongly supports filling the proposed position “Soil-plant-water Relations and Irrigation Management Specialist.” California’s robust dairy industry is dependent on high-quality, affordable forages. As our state’s water resources are stretched and dairy demand increases, alfalfa and forage growers must maintain or increase yields while continuing to produce high quality forage- all with less and less water. The position’s stated focus on “resource-efficient and sustainable irrigation management practices to optimize crop production and quality, under limited and uncertain statewide water supplies” is exactly what our industry needs.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 10:06 AM by California Alfalfa & Forage Association
4
As a grower in the San Joaquin, I am strongly in favor of this position being filled. Even under normal circumstances, a better understanding of the plant/water relationship is critical for success. In the present drought, it is essential.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 1:27 PM by Philip Bowles
5
We have a critical need for expertise in irrigation management, especially with the recent retirements of Specialists Hanson, Prichard and Schwankl. The need for applied research and information related to water management is only going to grow in the future and UC is well-positioned to help meet this need with a new Specialist. This position would be a great resource for UC advisors and for California agriculture.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 3:20 PM by Brenna Aegerter
6
California is well known throughout the world for growing an incredibly diverse range of crops. With the Mediterranean climate California enjoys the vast majority of agriculture uses irrigation to meet crop water demands. A lack of summer rains are key in why the state successfully produces many of these crops in significant quantity and high quality. In order to support the thriving agricultural economy, supplemental irrigation is critical. This heavy dependence upon irrigation is even more noticeable in drought years like the current season.
I view this position as critical within the Cooperative Extension system. A prime example of this is happening this year. The research that CE has conducted within irrigation is priceless in helping many growers survive the ongoing drought. Water is and will continue to be a prime source of contention within the state. This ranges from ag and urban conflicts to environmental demands. All said and done, there is going to be little to no new water, and an ever increasing demand on existing resources. If the past several years are any example, Agriculture is going to be called upon to produce more crop with less water. This position is key in Cooperative Extension’s effort to support farmers with sound science and useful research to weather these hard times.
California Agriculture needs this position.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 4:01 PM by Cayle Little
7
This position would surely succeed given that it addresses an obvious need and would build a critical mass with Sandoval and Zaccaria as a team.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 5:40 PM by Lynn Wunderlich
8
I am supporting this position. With the ongoing trends in ground and surface water resources there is a need to improve understanding of how to adjust nutrient and water application rates during drought conditions, under deficit irrigation and for various drip/micro-sprinkler irrigation systems. This requires fundamental research of soil-plant-water interactions of different cropping systems. The person filling this position would have the task to fully integrate several critical research areas including soil sciences, hydrology, plant sciences and soil microbiology.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 10:16 PM by Helen Dahlke
9
This is a critical position for a State that has such wide variety in crops, soils, water quality and irrigation styles. We've lost a number of positions at both the Specialist and Advisor levels and we need to refill them.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 8:00 AM by Ben Faber
10
As a UC Berkeley Professor of earth sciences who studies the history of drought in California, I strongly support this position. Clearly water scarcity will continue in California, and with agriculture using 80% of the state's water resources, improved management of irrigation and drainage should be a very high priority. There is clearly a need for more than a single agricultural water management specialist.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 9:00 AM by Lynn Ingram
11
I strongly support this position. As a faculty member in the ecological aspect of the UC Davis hydrology program, I view this Cooperate Extension position critical in bridging the research in plant water relations and the management practices from farm to the state levels. Given that water is the major factor limiting agricultural productivity in California and further water scarcity is projected under future climate change, there are strong needs for agricultural sustainability and profitability. California producers and farm advisers will benefit from a better understanding of 1) how plant physiology responds to water stress, 2) how soil water status affects plant nutrients and uptake, and 3) how climate change and soil water affects plant-water relations. This type of specialist will focus on the integration of three interfaces among water and soil, plant, and atmosphere, and will make significant contribution to develop the best irrigation management practices and also help nutrient management practices to increase water use efficiency and maximize yields. Understanding how different crops physically tolerate water stress can also help with better crop selection and management.

Posted Jul 20, 2014 9:32 AM by Yufang Jin
12
As a Sacramento Valley alfalfa grower during this drought period, I need all the help I can get with my irrigation management. We must grow more alfalfa with less water if we are to succeed in producing the high quality alfalfa hay required by the California dairy industry. The "Soil - plant - water Relations and Irrigation Management Specialist" stated focus on resource efficient and sustainable irrigation management practices to optimize crop production and quality, under limited and uncertain water supplies is very necessary statewide. It is my hope that USDA - ARS will have a presence in California soon and it would be wonderful to have a water and irrigation specialist in place to work with those people to address the irrigation needs of western forage producers.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 5:24 PM by Tom Ellis
13
As a Sacramento Valley alfalfa grower during this drought period, I need all the help I can get with my irrigation management. We must grow more alfalfa with less water if we are to succeed in producing the high quality alfalfa hay required by the California dairy industry. The "Soil - plant - water Relations and Irrigation Management Specialist" stated focus on resource efficient and sustainable irrigation management practices to optimize crop production and quality, under limited and uncertain water supplies is very necessary statewide. It is my hope that USDA - ARS will have a presence in California soon and it would be wonderful to have a water and irrigation specialist in place to work with those people to address the irrigation needs of western forage producers.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 5:35 PM by Tom Ellis
14
Growers of every crop are being impacted in some way by the reduced supply of irrigation water. With the vast array of crops and cropping systems in California's agricultural system and the rapidly increasing/changing technologies available to measure crop demand, water use, and irrigation efficiency, the University of California needs another specialist who is able to lead an applied, on-the-ground research program to leverage these tools and improve water productivity. This is a high-priority position.
Posted Jul 20, 2014 9:20 PM by Mark Lundy
15
This is a critical position that will address many challenges facing irrigated agriculture in California agriculture. With limited water supply, this position will address important aspects related irrigation management, crop water use, water quality, and environmental issues related surface and subsurface drainage from irrigated areas. With ever-changing irrigation and cultural practices on new and existing crops, there is a gap of information related to crop coefficients on some of the major crops in California. Most of the existing crop coefficients were developed for surface irrigation practices and growing conditions that have dramatically changed over the last twenty years or so. Some crops are either over irrigated or under irrigated due to the lack of accurate crop coefficients under current irrigation practices. Excessive irrigation leads to environmental issues related to nitrate movement into ground water and other water quality issues related to surface discharge of runoff water. I see this as an important position to improve water and fertilizer use efficiency in California and address the critical needs of irrigated agriculture in California.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 11:27 AM by Khaled Bali
16
This is a critical position that will address many challenges facing irrigated agriculture in California agriculture. With limited water supply, this position will address important aspects related irrigation management, crop water use, water quality, and environmental issues related surface and subsurface drainage from irrigated areas. With ever-changing irrigation and cultural practices on new and existing crops, there is a gap of information related to crop coefficients on some of the major crops in California. Most of the existing crop coefficients were developed for surface irrigation practices and growing conditions that have dramatically changed over the last twenty years or so. Some crops are either over irrigated or under irrigated due to the lack of accurate crop coefficients under current irrigation practices. Excessive irrigation leads to environmental issues related to nitrate movement into ground water and other water quality issues related to surface discharge of runoff water. I see this as an important position to improve water and fertilizer use efficiency in California and address the critical needs of irrigated agriculture in California.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 12:31 PM by Khaled Bali
17
In my view, ANR has allowed expertise to 'expire' over the past 5-7 years, and been very slow to address this erosion in expertise. Do we simply want to concede the issue of irrigation management to others (e.g. Cal State)? Those of us working on the key issues with crops (vegetables, orchards, vineyards, row and pasture crops) really need much greater depth of expertise in irrigation management to partner with in solving problems. Although the principles of irrigation and water management are well known, and some might call 'scientifically solved' - the implementation of those principles are far from complete. How many farmers actually use CIMIS networks? Soil Moisture Monitoring? on-line tracking? Improved methods of surface, sprinkler and drip irrigation? The lack of implementation of scientific management of irrigation water (we're talking about >30 million Acre Feet) per year among the farming community is striking. ANR is in the key position to strengthen this area. Unfortunately, we have not been able to strengthen this area with the wave of retirements: With 8 million acres of irrigated farmland, with only a few campus-based programs, we simply don't have the personnel to meet the challenges of irrigation management in this large state for the future. This is a very critical position to fill.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 1:09 PM by Daniel Putnam
18
Current research and extention is not keeping up with the water management information demand in California. This demand will increas as farmers are asked to control irrigations to a degree they would not have imagined ten years ago. We've made great strides in development of crop coeficients, deficit irrigation, soil moisture monitoring, irrigation system evaluation, flow measurement and precision irrigation. However, these are far from being mainstreamed by the bulk of Calfornia farmers. We need expanded research and extention to work out the details and to be able to utilized these on most of our 250 plus crops. These need to be commonplace on Calfornia farms. I and NRCS - CA support the establishment and filling of this possition.

Posted Jul 21, 2014 1:17 PM by Dan Johnson, USDA, NRCS
19
General comment on 2014 ANR call for water positions

043 Area Water Management Advisor (UCCE Tulare Co., ANR)
091 Irrigation Water Management Specialist (KARE, ANR)
103 Plant Water Relations Specialist (KARE, UC Riverside)
114 Soil-plant-water relations and Irrigation Management Specialist (LAWR, UC Davis)
090 Irrigation Engineer Specialist (LAWR, UC Davis)
088 Ground Water Quality Specialist (LAWR, UC Davis)

The California Tree Nut & Extension Planning Group, representing the almond, pistachio and walnut industries support the continued and increased presence of ANR in the area of water and irrigation management. Surface and ground water quantity and quality issues and more precision in irrigation are critical now and certainly will be more so in the future. This is submitted to encourage ANR, UC Davis and UC Riverside to coordinate water positions with the following comments for consideration.

Positions 043, 091,103, 114, and 090 – With the retirements of Dave Goldhamer, Terry Prichard and Larry Schwankl, there is a critical need to fill water and irrigation management positions to at least address these vacancies. But beyond just replacing the “status quo”, there is even a wider array of skill sets and coordination needed to respond to the challenges. In coordinating positions, a number of important principles should be considered. These include: 1) There needs to be complimentary skillsets and expertise across the plant, soil, water continuum in concert with system engineering/precision agriculture; 2) There needs to be coordination across both the skillsets and UC entities involved; and 3) Geographic placement and engagement with stakeholders will be important – for instance, given the acuity of surface and groundwater problems in the Southern San Joaquin Valley, there should be a presence at KARE.

Position 088 – Certainly groundwater quality issues are and will continue to be critical. In reading this position proposal, we are unclear on: 1) How much would this position duplicate the expertise already at UCD; and 2) How much will this position be policy/regulatory oriented vs. hands-on problem solving - in our view, problem solving has a higher priority than policy/regulatory. With the current Irrigated Land Regulatory Program there is a requirement to the grower coalitions to research which management practices reduce the potential for crop inputs, in particular nitrogen, to leach into ground water. The regulators are also trying to figure out how to limit salt leaching, which is critical to maintaining the health of the agronomic soils. Thus there is a need for the practical problem solving aspect as to how best to minimize leaching within the current Central Valley agronomic systems.


Posted Jul 21, 2014 5:57 PM by Bob Curtis

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