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2016 Call for Positions

On December 14, 2016 UC ANR Vice President Humiston announced the the release of 26 CE positions from the 2016 call for a new round of hiring over the next two years. This new release continues the commitment for hiring to exceed projected turnover, thus achieving the goal of academic growth. And, as funding becomes available, UC ANR will consider additional positions.

2016 approved CE positions

January 12, 2016 solicited proposals for Cooperative Extension (CE) advisor and specialist positions in the ANR Update. The call identified positions for strengthening and expanding the UC ANR network to address programmatic gaps and emerging needs. Below this public webpage displays all 138 new CE position proposals (there is a search tool to assist in finding proposals).

The online submittal process was open from January 12 – May 5 (5:00 PM) to allow as much time as possible for internal consultation and external input from UC ANR stakeholders in all program areas. Submissions were accepted from the following official submitter groups:

The Review Phase was completed May 5 – August 1. All proposals were reviewed. The program area and unit reviews were conducted by the Program Teams; geographic groups of County/Multicounty Partnership and Research and Extension Center Directors, and the UC ANR affiliated colleges and school. These groups prioritized and provided rationale for the position proposals under their purview. This input was used to inform UC ANR Program Council’s recommendations and ultimately the UC ANR Vice President’s decisions. More information about the review process is available in the review orientation.

The public comment period was open Jan. 12 through July 11, 2016. Comments can be viewed by clicking the position links below. Comments were reviewed by the review groups, Program Council and the Vice President.

Relevant documents:

If you have any questions, contact Katherine Webb-Martinez at (510) 987-0029 or katherine.webb-martinez@ucop.edu.

 

2016 URS Call for Positions

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2016 cycle.

Position Details

035 Area Plant Science & Local Food Systems Advisor - Central Sierra MCP

The advisor will serve clientele in the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership (El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties) with a disciplinary focus on horticultural crops including; tree crops, vegetables, fruits, berries and ornamentals. The advisor is responsible for the assessment, development, implementation, and evaluation of educational and research programs that will have significant impacts to the agricultural economy contributing to the sustainability and competitiveness of local agriculture. This position will assist farmers, processors, and marketers to make a profit in local agriculture while promoting sustainable practices.  The advisor will collaboratively develop and disseminate science-based practices for farm innovation and adoption, including niche and organic production, marketing, resource sustainability, and appropriate-scale equipment and technology. The advisor will also work with producers to expand their role and contribution as foundational members of the area’s food system and community. The position includes providing academic oversight of the five Master Gardener (MG) programs consisting of 300 volunteers throughout the region, educating home gardeners.

The Central Sierra region consists of over 2,800 farms (2012 USDA Ag Census) that range in size from a sub-acre to a few hundred acres. Farmers grow a multitude of crops year-round with the majority sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, community supported agricultural programs, grocers, restaurants and other retailers. Over the past 15 years there has been a significant increase in the number of small farms throughout the region. Clientele include paraprofessionals lacking agricultural experience that have relocated to the region to start a new agricultural enterprise, while others are young beginning farmers. Often both groups lack horticultural or agricultural training and rely heavily on the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) for expertise in determining what is appropriate to grow profitably. Another significant issue facing Central Sierra small scale farmers is access to reliable pest management information. Nearly all the farms are owner operated and apply their own pest control products.  There is a lack of local professional agronomy and pest control advisor services, making the demand for scientifically accurate pest management information from UCCE crucial.

The area has also seen a significant increase in niche food production, such as apple cider, craft beer, distilled spirits, and other value added products. As a result, there has been interest in further expanding agriculture crops needed for these products. These crops are more economically viable and as a result, farmers not being familiar with them, are asking cooperative extension for cultural advice to grow them. With the adoption of the California Cottage Food law in 2013, individuals can now prepare and/or package certain non-potentially hazardous foods in private-home kitchens referred to as “cottage food operations” (CFOs). Local farmers as well as non-farmers have shown great interest in cottage food products and the advisor would be the conduit for expanding this enterprise. 

This position will also work in the area of Food, Human Nutrition and Health. Throughout the nation, state and region, consumers are becoming more aware of our food system and are demanding greater access to local food.  The advisor will work closely with local farmers, agricultural marketing programs including El Dorado County Farm Trails, Farms of Amador, CalaverasGROWN, Farms of Tuolumne County, and the numerous Farmers Market organizations in the region to assist producers and consumers in supporting local and regional food systems.  The advisor will reinforce the vision of a California agriculture in which small farms remain dynamic, viable components of their communities.  A key factor in keeping local farmers sustainable is keeping them profitable. The advisor will work with local growers and agricultural groups to help develop more market channels, diversify cropping systems and evaluate value added products.

For the full Position Justification (2 pages) see the below link under Associated Documents.

Proposed Location/Housing

Central Sierra MCP - serving El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. Position will be housed in Amador or Calaveras.

Proposed Area of Coverage

Central Sierra MCP - serving El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties.

Contacts

Associated Documents

Comments

13 Comments

1
In the 20 years that I have worked for the Amador County Agriculture Department I have witnessed first hand the significant increase of small farms in the county as mentioned in the Position Proposal. These small farm owners are in need of the assistance this position would offer them with regard to marketability, profitability and sustainability. The increased interest in California for buying local, farm to fork, cottage foods has provided an agricultural aspect that would greatly benefit from the services this position would provide. It would be so important to the success of the rural small crop farmers of the Sierra Foothill Region to have such a tremendous resource.
Posted May 13, 2016 2:11 PM by Patricia Lesky
2
Tuolumne County supports an ever increasing number of small farms many of which are operated by first generation farmers. Their lack of access to UC's sustainable science based small farm research would be met by the addition of this position to the Central Sierra MCP. Tuolumne County support for sourcing food that is locally grown is at an all time high with interest from Columbia Community College, area restaurants, retail grocery stores, bed and breakfast operations. A limiting factor in meeting this interest is the lack of just such a position as the one proposed. Our local small growers are struggling with pest management, crop selection, marketing, and sustainable farming decisions.
Posted May 31, 2016 9:40 AM by Gary Stockel
3
I represent the nearly 400 members of Tuolumne County Farm Bureau. The creation of this position would be vital to our small farms. Many of these ventures are from new farmers and they need UC information, advice, and science. We have a huge push for locally grown produce and we do not have enough producers to meet the demand. This position would help our small producers improve their efficiency and hopefully they can expand their operations or encourage others to start farming on their own.
Posted Jun 13, 2016 7:30 AM by Shaun Crook
4
Over the last ten years, as an industry professional, I have seen the central foothill district grow in numbers of farms,both large and small, and quality of farming practices. The foothills are producing a very high quality product for the most part. The future for growth is very strong. The foothill farmers are thirsty for knowledge and need the help and guidance of professionals that can bring the science of farming to their farm. It would be money well spent to fill this position.
Posted Jun 20, 2016 10:47 AM by Gene Glaeser
5
I have been a grape grower in Calaveras County for the past 35+ years and always looked to the UC Farm Advisors for assistance, education and support. We, in the Foothills, are in dire need of more support. With more farming going in over the years and fewer services, it is time to expand the resources and address the needs. I hope that more positions can be furnished to our area. The wide variety of agricultural businesses have really taken off in the region and our resources are too slim and over taxed presently. I hope you support our request.
Posted Jun 21, 2016 4:32 PM by Gay Callan
6
As stated in the position details, the Central Sierra Region has seen a significant increase in the number of small farms in the past 15 years. According to the 2012 USDA Ag census, there are over 2,800 farms in the 4-county area. The Central Sierra region continues to see growing numbers of new farmers who would greatly benefit from horticulture and agriculture education and resources. Our farmers would receive crucial support from an Area Plant Science and Local Food Systems Advisor for continued farm growth and local food system development. This advisor would also be instrumental in helping to meet the increased demand for greater access to locally grown food.
Posted Jun 22, 2016 9:06 AM by Karl Rodefer, Chair, Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors
7
As we have over 30 years experience raising wine grapes (38 acres currently) in El Dorado County I must support the position of Ag adviser in our county. Lynn Wunderlick has been great but is stretched very thin. It seems that every year a new disease or crises comes up for her to deal with and we depend on the UCD for help in these issues that continue to arise. We could definitely benefit with some additonal help when you decide to fill these positions. We are a young and growing wine grape area which is also heavily into orchards. The main industry of our county is agriculture. Thank you for your consideration
Posted Jul 1, 2016 3:12 PM by Jim & Donna Sauber
8
As a Christmas tree grower and rancher in Tuolumne County for over 40 years I have called upon the expertise of the UCCE staff on multiple occasions and always been pleased with the support and advice that I have received. Having an adequate number of ag experts in the field to personally assist and advise farmers and ranchers is equally as important to our state's agricultural productivity as the research work that is done at UC Davis and the field stations. I know that the Central Sierra MCP is currently underrepresented in UCCE positions and that this Plant Science Advisor would add greatly to the resources available to our ag community and be much appreciated.
Posted Jul 5, 2016 12:17 PM by Don Moore
9
I am writing on behalf of the Amador Farm Bureau to support the Central Sierra region Area Plant Science and Local Food Systems Advisor position. The Central Sierra region consists of over 2,800 farms (2012 USDA Ag Census) that range in size from a sub-acre to a few hundred acres. Farmers grow a multitude of crops year-round with the majority sold at farmers markets, roadside stands, community supported agricultural programs, grocers, restaurants and other retailers. Over the past 15 years there has been a significant increase in the number of small farms throughout the region. Clientele include paraprofessionals lacking agricultural experience that have relocated to the region to start a new agricultural enterprise, while others are young beginning farmers. Often both groups lack horticultural or agricultural training and rely heavily on the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) for expertise in determining what is appropriate to grow profitably. Another significant issue facing Central Sierra small scale farmers is access to reliable pest management information. Nearly all the farms are owner operated and apply their own pest control products. There is a lack of local professional agronomy and pest control advisor services, making the demand for scientifically accurate pest management information from UCCE crucial. Our industry relies on the expertise delivered by UCCE. Currently the Central Sierra region is underrepresented in UCCE positions. This position is critical to our member’s ability to meet the challenges we face in emerging issues, agricultural productivity, and sustainable production of our crops. We fully support this position and would look forward to working with the individual hired.
Posted Jul 6, 2016 8:24 AM by Jim Spinetta
10
As a director of the Amador Resource Conservation District, I have seen an increase in the number of small farms that are oriented toward commercial production in the foothill area. The RCD, the UCCE office and other partners work together to assist these small farmers in resource conservation and economic development. Having a specialist in our area to provide more focused assistance will be very valuable.
Posted Jul 6, 2016 10:02 AM by Steve Q. Cannon
11
As an agricultural region, the growers in El Dorado County depend on timely and professional information, real-time solutions to issues, problems and diagnostics, and solid working relationships that enhance farmers, ranchers and foresters ability to grow and manage crops and/or their livestock. Central Sierra UCCE and its advisors provide an important level of partnership and resources, and the members of the El Dorado County Farm Bureau, along with the general public, count on the expert advice and opinions of all advisors.

Not only that, the advisors have become part of a symbiotic team within and without the agricultural industry--a very valuable service which helps to ensure thriving crops and the economic and social benefits that ag provides.

The demand on the advisors has increased, along with the complexities of crop management due to drought conditions, pesticide use and other factors that agriculturists must keep apprised of. Having the appropriate ratio of coverage is critical to ensuring healthy crop growth.

El Dorado County Farm Bureau appreciates the work and ensuing benefits derived from all Central Sierra UCCE advisors and their supporting entities.
Posted Jul 6, 2016 5:03 PM by Renee' Hargrove
12
Dear Sirs,
The El Dorado Winery Association representing over 40 wineries in El Dorado County strongly supports filling the position of Fruit Plant Science/Food Systems Advisor for the Central Sierra region.
As the renaissance of the grape and wine industry in our county has built into a major contributor to our region’s agri-tourism success, we as growers have relied heavily on the expertise delivered by the UCCE. Currently, however, the Central Sierra region, where we all farm, is underrepresented in UCCE positions.
By having a UCCE Specialist in Plant Science/Food Systems, our industry can continue to succeed and grow. This position is critical to our members’ abilities to meet the challenges we face in emerging issues, agricultural productivity, and sustainable production of our crops.
As new growers and established vineyard owners alike search for up-to-date information on everything from water conservation techniques to appropriately battling a new pest, having a UCCE Specialist familiar with our region and its unique aspects is paramount to the continued success of our agriculture. And with the ever-present risk of losing prime agricultural land to construction, the health of our agricultural community maintains our region’s rural identity.
We fully support the position of a UCCE Specialist Plant Science/Food Systems Advisor in our region, and we look forward to working with the individuals hired.

Sincerely, Carey Skinner
President, El Dorado Winery Association
Posted Jul 11, 2016 10:59 AM by Carey Skinner
13
We have been growing grapes and making wine in El Dorado County since 1972, farming 85 acres of vineyards and producing about 25,000 case of wine per year. I feel that this position will of great benefit to the region and provide much needed assistance to Lynne Wunderlich, particularly for the tree fruit industry and other ranch marketing organizations---the Apple Hill Growers Association in particular. It would also free up more of her time to devote to her viticultural research projects and seminars, of which she is doing a great job. I strongly encourage filling this position for the Central Sierra region.
Thank you, Greg Boeger
Posted Jul 11, 2016 3:28 PM by Greg Boeger, Owner Boeger Winery

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