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

002 Agricultural Systems Advisor Lake/Mendocino Counties

Proposed Location/Housing

Lake County

Proposed Area of Coverage

Lake and Mendocino Counties


Associated Documents



I am writing as the Coordinator of the Mendocino County Food Policy Council. As an advisory group representing Mendocino County's food and farming community and as shepherds of our 2014 Food Action Plan, we want to offer our unanimous approval of this position. This position could have exponential rewards for both Lake and Mendocino County's small farmers who are eager for assistance to meet the growing demand of our burgeoning local food system. The position directly addresses many of the goals and actions listed in our Food Action Plan, which you can read at, and could help facilitate the building of our community-wide Food Hub project, which will ultimately include both Lake and Mendocino County farmers. Our community is ready for the focused attention of a UCCE advisor in this role, one that can focus on diversified farms that feed the region. We strongly encourage the funding of this position for the benefit of all citizens of Lake and Mendocino Counties.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 12:49 PM by Jen Dalton
As the Coordinator of the North Coast Regional Food System Network I have seen first hand how many farmers would benefit from a Small Farms Systems Advisor. UCCE has long provided tremendous support to livestock, vitaculture, and pear growers in our county, and that ability to assist our burgeoning row crop farmers would prove equally valuable. As national and global markets shift, and the demand for local food increases, providing our farmers with the skills and knowledge to grow a more diversified crop base is essential to economic and social well being of our counties. I am delighted to see that UCCE is contemplating providing these assets to our small farms. I urge you in the strongest terms to create this position for the good of all our local farms and the community at large.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:18 PM by Clifford Paulin
My husband and I have been considering expanding our diverse orchards and knowing that a farm systems advisor were available to offer support and information would make the decision that much easier. The resource of a farm systems advisor would be valuable to our community's small farms.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 1:49 PM by Megan Watson
Having a farm systems advisor would be of tremendous assistance to Lake County, especially one that would support research and development of alternative energy systems that enhance agricultural sustainability. Most farm inputs have to be imported from quite a distance, including fertilizers and fuel, and some farm outputs need to be trucked out of county to be processed. As manager of Lake County Farmers' Finest I experience first hand the challenges this county faces in regards to food security and distribution costs related to accessing fresh fruits and vegetables, not to mention eggs, dairy, meat, and grain. It would be great to have someone who could/would coordinate and communicate available resources to help make farms more sustainable and profitable.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 3:03 PM by Cornelia Sieber-Davis
An Agricultural Systems Advisor position has been needed in Mendocino and Lake County for years. We are thrilled to hear of the opportunity. Our local UCCE's have been a great support to our grape and livestock industries. But with the rapidly growing local food movement and burgeoning number of small and medium scale fruit and vegetable producers in both counties, this position will fill a vital gap of research and knowledge. Our farmers are hungry for the support that UCCE can provide regarding all aspects of production and sustainable energy on the farm.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 4:59 PM by Miles Gordon
The timing to create the position of Agricultural Advisor Lake/Mendocino Counties could not be more perfect. As an Economic Development professional and a member of both the Mendocino County Food Policy Council and the North Coast Regional Food Systems Network, I write in support. Specialty Agriculture, Food and Beverage has been identified as one of the region's fastest growing industry sectors. Many of the businesses in this sector begin as micro and small businesses. They thrive when they get technical assistance for business practices and for industry specific issues. This position would fill a missing gap in providing an integrated package to help emerging farmers - small and young - to stabilize and grow.
Posted Jul 17, 2014 5:02 PM by Sheilah Rogers
The odds are long for diversified farming operations in rural Mendocino and Lake county area. Diversified farming is critical for the health of our community in the long-run, and it faces every possible disadvantage. Competition from much larger mono-producers, higher input costs, smaller customer bases, lack of capital, etc., etc. I have watched the cycle of start-up (and even long term) farm failures for many years. An advisor focused on this undeserved segment of the agricultural community, particularly one bringing knowledge about lower farm energy costs, would be an important addition and could help more of our small farms survive.

Scott Cratty
Market Manager, Ukiah Certified Farmers' Market
General Manager, Mendocino County Farmers' Market Association
Posted Jul 17, 2014 11:32 PM by Scott Cratty
Lake and Mendocino County farmers could certainly use an Ag System Advisor in their corner! With a small and generally low-income population spread across a large geographic area, our farmers face an uphill battle before even breaking soil. Even so, many of them have dedicated their lives to growing food for this community, and any resources we can dedicate to them in return - such as this proposed Ag System Advisor position - will greatly impact their ability to succeed and continue to support the community for years to come. This position would be warmly embraced by our farmers and support organizations, and would be an incredibly positive addition to our community.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 11:05 AM by Elizabeth Archer, North Coast Opportunities Food Hub Project Assistant
Having read the 8 comments by the thoughtful, highly involved and informed individuals who posted before me, I hesitate to be repetitive, but I heartily agree that this position has been overdue for years at least in Lake County.
While I realize that pears, walnuts and wine are the main agricultural commodities in our county, there is a great desire and enthusiasm amongst young farmers to diversify in order to create more local food security and sustainability.
I have come to know most of our produce farmers and know the incredible struggle they face on the road to becoming sustainable and profitable.
I just had one of them contact the Master Gardeners' help line last week in desperation, not knowing who to turn to with a pressing issue that may cost him a large part of this years' crop, and I felt terrible having to tell him that we as Master Gardeners are neither allowed nor equipped to advise him on this issue.
I ended up referring him to our Viticulture Advisor, who I was told has some experience with the matter, in hopes that he might get some constructive input, but I felt personally remiss, knowing that this was just a band-aid solution at best.
There is no way we can make our strategic vision points happen, or even preserve the current diversified farming community without competent leadership in this area.
Like my fellow commenters have already pointed out, non tree or vine crop growers have too many odds stacked against them, and while they possess a lot of enthusiasm, that can only carry them so far, if they don't get the support of institutions like UCCE.
To say I strongly support the approval of an AG Systems Advisor for Lake and Mendocino Counties is almost an understatement and I will be more than happy to collaborate with them in any fashion we can as UC Master Gardeners!

Gabriele O'Neill
Program Coordinator
UCCE Master Gardeners of Lake County

Posted Jul 21, 2014 10:18 AM by Gabriele O'Neill

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