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

005 Area - Small Farms & Local Food Systems Advisor

Proposed Location/Housing

Amador/Calaveras County - Central Sierra Multi County Partnership

Proposed Area of Coverage

Central Sierra Multi County Partnership (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties)

Contacts

Associated Documents

Comments

5 Comments

1
A Small Farms & Local Food Systems Advisor in the Central Sierra Region would complement NRCS efforts to reach out to Socially Disadvantaged, New Beginning Farmers and Veterans who are under capitalized and operating on small acreages. Many of these new operations do not fully understand their regulatory responsibility and the complexities of direct or nitch farming. We feel that the basic security of rural america economies depend on its ability to grow and sustain farm small operations which haven't reached the ability to diversify.
Posted Jul 10, 2014 9:07 AM by Danny Marquis, NRCS, District Conservationist in El Dorado County
2
Small Farms and Local Food Systems Advisor in the region would be helpful in the efforts already underway to develop food hubs and meat processing and distribution outlets within the county and work with organizations like Calaveras Grown to promote farm products from small local facilities.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 10:57 AM by Kevin Wright, Agricultural Commissioner
3
I am writing to request ANR support for a Small Farms Advisor position for the Central Sierra MCP, the first MCP to be created and a region which I feel is currently strained from a lack of a critical mass of Advisors here. These positions (including the Livestock and Nutrition position proposed for the Central Sierra MCP) are vital to delivering an effective UCCE presence in the four county region (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne Counties) we serve.

Consider that currently the 4 counties only have 3 Advisors total in addition to CD Oneto : Jolynn Miller (Youth Development, headquartered in Tuolumne), Suesie Kocher (Forestry, headquartered in S. Lake Tahoe, El Dorado), myself (Farm Advisor, headquartered in Placerville, El Dorado) and also CD Oneto (headquartered in Jackson, Amador). Since Smith's retirement, we have no advisor headquartered in the Calaveras office and Calaveras or Tuolumne would be an ideal location for any of the proposed Central Sierra MCP positions.

Driving time distance across counties should be considered when filling and supporting positions. The driving time from Placerville to Groveland, the farthest I've driven to serve small farmer needs, is 2.5 hours one way on windy foothill roads. In my experience, a driving time of greater than one hour one way becomes a large barrier to effective CE presence and should be considered when placing positions and expectations for coverage. In addition to farm calls, attending night meetings (Farm Bureau meetings are generally in the evening) is difficult. Yet, individual county support is important and therefore we understand Advisor visibility is critical. Having an agricultural position located in the Southern end of the MCP would help fill some of this need.

Finally, the numbers: although the agricultural acreage is relatively small in the foothills, the number of farmers is large, most farm less than 10 acres and their needs are significant since few use private consultants. Numbers of growers from my records from El Dorado and Amador counties alone (from 2008, prior to our 4 county partnership) indicate 1408 small farmers growing a variety of crops: tree fruit, vegetables, Christmas Trees and grapes (the largest number is for wine grapes, my current focus).

The region is poised for an increase in small farm production, as famer's markets, CSAs and agritourism groups (Apple Hill, Farms of Amador, Farms of Tuolumne, Calaveras Grown and Farm Trails) continue to grow.

Please consider supporting the Central Sierra multi county partnership and the concept of a strong MCP by filling a critical mass of Advisor positions to serve this region.
Posted Jul 18, 2014 5:01 PM by Lynn Wunderlich
4
With the current interest in buying local and opportunities for niche small farm producers, the region would greatly benefit from a Small Farms & Local Food Systems Advisor. Amador County has struggled in the last ten years with keeping interest and building a solid base of consumers and producers for our local certified farmers market and Farms of Amador. Leadership and support changes too often to maintain and create forward momentum for these programs. Having an Advisor dedicated to these types of local entities with at hand resources would enable them to develop their markets, farms and outreach to improve the accessibility of their products within the local counties. Desire and land are available but the processes to implement and enhance are lacking.
Please consider this position as it would be a great assistance to the small farmers in these rural counties.
Posted Jul 21, 2014 8:39 AM by Patricia Lesky
5
The California Rangeland Conservation Coalition (Rangeland Coalition) would like to express support for the Small Farms-Local Food Systems Advisor position for the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership.

The Rangeland Coalition is an unprecedented group of ranchers, environmental organizations, scientists and government agencies who are major California rangeland stakeholders. Together, signatories strive to enhance and preserve private working landscapes. We feel strongly a need for this position to support small farmers and ranchers. Working landscapes California are not only producing food and fiber but also provide multiple environmental benefits such as wildlife habitat, open space, recreation and others.

Rangeland Coalition signatories are confident that this position would provide the expertise required to allow support farmers and ranchers diversify their income, support local food systems and increase the viability of working landscapes in California.


Sincerely,

Pelayo Alvarez
Conservation Program Director
Posted Jul 21, 2014 10:07 AM by Pelayo Alvarez

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