ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

2018 Call for Positions

ANR solicited proposals for Cooperative Extension (CE) advisor and specialist positions from January - September 2018. The 2018 call aimed to identify positions for strengthening and rebuilding the ANR network to address programmatic gaps and emerging needs. Due to current budget situation the release of approved positions is on hold; VP Humiston's announcement.


There was a new position development process – for the complete process and timeline refer to 2018 CE positions flowchart.


  • It is designed to be a consultative process with opportunity for input from UC ANR academics and clientele/stakeholders.
  • Those involved in position development are expected to take a collaborative approach and statewide perspective to identifying critical needs, and looking forward to emerging challenges.
  • The goal is have a manageable number of priority positions proposed, relative to funding realities.
  • The new process increases success rate for proposed positions given each group agrees on priority positions for submittal.

Phased Approach:

  • The advisor and specialist processes each have three phases with groups working collaboratively to develop proposals, and reviewing earlier proposals to add proposals that they think are higher priority.
  • Each proposal development phase is intended to include internal consultation and external input from ANR stakeholders. We expect and strongly encourage ANR academics to engage with external stakeholders, including commodity groups, cooperating programs, agency partners, community groups, and others to explicitly discuss priority needs to for positions. Groups of related program areas and campus-based departments should discuss and develop complimentary position proposals to strengthen the ANR network.
  • You can communicate with the people who are able to submit positions and work collaboratively with them in these efforts. 
  • The proposals that didn’t make it in earlier phases could be picked up during the subsequent phases. They can be found on the proposal ideas web page.


Proposal Development Submittal Groups

Development Phase

County Directors and Research and Extension Center Directors

Feb. 7 – May 15

Executive Associate Deans

Feb. 7 – May 15

Program Team Leaders

May 15 – Aug. 1

Statewide Program and Institute Directors

Aug. 1 – Sept. 15

Submittal groups: Use the Universal Review System (URS) to create a proposal and upload a completed position template (Word .doc). Only one representative from each group needs to submit. You can access URS from your ANR Portal. Under Open Systems click on the "2018 Call for Positions." You can access your previous submissions under Universal Review System "Your Proposals."


Relevant documents:





For questions, contact Katherine Webb-Martinez at or (510) 987-0029.


Below are the submitted proposals. This online tool is searchable to encourage collaboration. To begin, please search through positions that are currently being proposed and contact the submitter if you are interested in collaborating or have questions.

To see proposed ideas that may not or did not move forward to submittal, click the sub page on the side navigation. These ideas may be further developed by later submittal groups.


This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2018 cycle.

Position Details

14 Specialty Crops Advisor

Specialty Crop Farm Advisor will be responsible for developing and conducting a rigorous and innovative research and extension program in Sonoma, Marin and Napa counties focused on high value specialty fruits, vegetables, olives and olive oils, specialty grains, and cut flower production that contribute to food security and viable local economies. These counties are home to pioneering, progressive, and successful small organic operations. In the position headquarters, Sonoma, there are over 800 small-scale commercial farmers who grow olives, tree fruits, nuts, berries, vegetables, herbs, cut flowers, and other specialty crops on about 10,000 acres.  In Napa and Marin Counties, specialty crop production is also on the rise, with a combined 1,500 acres and additional 50 growers for this advisor to work with and serve.  This position will assist farmers, processors, and marketers make a profit in local agriculture while promoting sustainable practices.

Advisor will work with the burgeoning new and beginning farmer demographic; with active members in direct marketing channels such as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), farmer’s markets, institutional purchasers, grocery stores and farm-to-school programs. The Advisor will collaboratively develop opportunities for innovation and adaption of niche production and marketing, resource sustainability, and appropriate-scale equipment and technology. The Advisor will also work with these rural and peri-urban producers to expand their role and contribution as foundational members of the area’s food system and community. The position will manage the Sonoma County Master Gardeners program; with over 300 volunteers, educating home gardeners about pest management and good cultural practices. The advisor will interact with supporting units, including multi-county areas, the Agricultural Production Management Systems and the California Communities and Food Systems Program Teams along with Statewide Master Gardener programs.

Proposed Location/Housing


Proposed Area of Coverage

Sonoma, Marin & Napa Counties


Associated Documents


22 Comments - Post Comment

The UC Master Gardener Program of Sonoma County needs a dedicated UCCE member. Our organization frees up the professionals to support our local farmers while MGs provide advice and education to the home gardener who would otherwise contact UCCE staff. It's important to provide support not just for this reason but also to support the sustainable, science-based message provided to home and community gardeners.
Posted Aug 17, 2018 8:12 AM by Stephanie Wrightson
We work with hundreds of speciality crop farmers across the North Bay. But while the demand for locally-grown food increases, the pressures to stay viable as a family farmer weigh more heavily each year. In order to thrive and for new farmers to gain a foothold, helping to rejuvenate the ever-rising age of farmers here which now averages more than 60 years old, these farmers need all the support they can get. Our events and programs here at CAFF & The Farmers Guild are always well attended, proving that there's a need for technical assistance and support. But we also know that our job would be made easier by the assistance of an expert such as this position here Sonoma, Marin and Napa. If the UCCE can provide this region a new Specialty Crops Advisor, we can assure that they would have a dedicated partner in our organization that would help organize farmers and disseminate resources. And we hope that the UCCE will fill this position with someone just as open and collaborative.
Posted Aug 24, 2018 10:42 AM by Evan Wiig
It would be helpful to have a specialty crops advisor.
Posted Aug 25, 2018 2:55 PM by veva edelson
I'm working on a plan to lease out some affordable land, and it would be greatly helpful to have a farm advisor to contact. As a landlord wanting to prepare our property for a tenant to be successful, this service would be really crucial to helping us to promote sustainable agriculture.
Posted Aug 28, 2018 11:40 AM by Trevor George
I think it is vitally important we introduce more diversity into the staples being grown in Sonoma county. A person cannot live on wine, dairy and cannabis alone! I would love to see more landowners growing grain, legumes, fruit and vegetables for our local economy. Having a dedicated Specialty Crop Farm Advisor here in Sonoma county would help facilitate this needed change to local agriculture.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 11:12 AM by Claire Green
We have farmed a small, organic CSA in San Anselmo for 25 years. We are often puzzled by problems that can't be answered by the resources available to us -- sometimes simply having to abandon a crop for want of an answer. We strongly support UCCE providing a Specialty Crops Advisor.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 11:50 AM by Mea McNeil
Speaking as a seasoned specialty crop grower I think the support of a specialty crop farm advisor is critical for our new farmers. Let's diversify beyond grapes.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 11:53 AM by Peg Schafer
Hello, Yes, a specialty crop farmer is absolutely needed. I support the previous comments fully & want to add that this advisor would tremendously help educating everyone to the proper use of WATER! Crops that
are viable with our climate & perhaps even could be ‘dry farmed’, etc, Thank you.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 12:05 PM by Janice Kane
It would be a good idea to fill this position if we are expecting to have a viable, thriving, and economically strong food system going into the future. We are not born knowing how to feed ourselves. Each person has to figure that out on their own. Nothing I have encountered in my life has a more formidable learning curve than farming. After 25 years of farming organically in Marin, I am still learning every year, relying on our own observations and experience, and wishing I had someone to ask about certain problems and conditions. Farming is the act of integrating variables with uncertainties to create a renewable resource: food. Every year is different. Sometimes is it possible to be caught up in what Wendell Berry calls "a hellish symbiosis of cause and effect" where it is not possible to discern the root cause of the problem as varietal, seasonal, environmental, or mechanical. It wouldn't hurt to have a resource...a number to call. How are we supposed to succeed and build something that endures if all of us together don't even rate one resource person? I am sure the farmers are all for it. I remember when a certain foundation gave three years of a salary and benefits to a "farm advisor" in Marin. The organic farmers especially felt grateful for that resource. It is seriously hard to learn to farm and not lose your shirt while you're making all the mistakes in store for you. People in these parts talk a lot about their love for local farms and local food. Well, love is an action. I support a UCCE farm advisor for our area. I think very highly of our UCCE and believe its one part of our government that still works as intended. UCCE is all about service. It is the right institution to support this position.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 12:28 PM by Janet Brown
It's VERY important to diversity the farm crops in these counties - grapes is a mono-crop and does not support the local diversity of wildlife including bees, birds and beneficial insects.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 1:00 PM by Beverly Rudolph
In my opinion a specialty crop advisor is essential to ensuring sustainable agriculture in sonoma county. I have been involved in small-scale growing operations in the county for the last 10 years and have found that unless the land is free and clear or the farmer is a trust fund baby (or independently wealthy)there is truly zero chance of any operation maintaining economic sustainability without "specialty" crops and a niché following. Given this, I believe, an advisor at UCCE is imperative
Posted Aug 30, 2018 1:01 PM by Kenny Mullen
We took Paul Vossen's classes on olive oil production and now we are producing our own olive oil. We learned so much from his program and lectures and learned much more about agriculture in Sonoma County. This is a valuable service for professional and amateur (like us) farmers.
Posted Aug 30, 2018 9:57 PM by Eric & Mary Ann Swanson
I support the (continued) funding for a Specialty Crops Advisor for Sonoma/Marin Counties. Historically Sonoma has benefited greatly from a local expert on the care and advancement of food and specialty crops. We've become a reknown foodie-county supplying our region and the entire Bay Area. Farmers, students and homeowners have had resources and educational programs put on by UCCE that have advanced our skills and knowledge, myself included. Please re-instate this position to support the burgeoning wine, food, aquaculture, cannabis and horticulture industries that provide 1000s of jobs and livelihoods, bring visitors to Sonoma from around the globe, and support the next generation of crop entrepreneurs.
I teach Sustainable Agriculture at SRJC and Native Plant Restoration at SSU and the UCCE has been an incredibly valuable resource for me as an educator and for students looking to learn from our land grant institutions.
Feel free to contact me for further discussion: 707 548-6061
Posted Aug 31, 2018 10:59 AM by Heidi Herrmann
The Gold Ridge RCD would very much value the input, advice and partnership of a specialty crop advisor in Sonoma County. When we have questions or opportunities currently with specialty crop producers we often have to reach out to other parts of the state where conditions are so different that not all information is relevant. Have a local, multi county advisor to lead and interpret research, assist in advising on BMP implementation and development of assistance programs to farmers would be of great benefit to this area.
Posted Aug 31, 2018 12:07 PM by Brittany Jensen
The North Bay needs a UCCE farm advisor to bring the latest research into the field and to support new and growing farmers with techniques to conserve water, improve soil health, and the application and technical assistance with implementing regenerative and organic farming practices. Farmers need technical assistance experts, not chemical and seed companies, to help them hone their craft.
Posted Sep 4, 2018 11:29 AM by Temra Costa
Agriculture must become more sustainable; only through collaboration, innovation, and research can we hope to deal with what is before us. Someone who has time to facilitate, as well as gather and perform research to that end, is more than just a luxury they are a necessity.
Posted Sep 5, 2018 9:12 PM by Becky Bowlds
As a former small-scale vegetable and livestock farmer in California and current PhD student at UC Davis who works with specialty crop producers, I fully support this UCCE position. The increasing number of specialty crop operations in California reflects growing consumer interest and demand for sustainably-produced, diverse local foods. These three counties are home to a rapidly increasing population of diversified farms and ranches. As the number of specialty crop farms continues to grow, evaluating the economic needs of these operations will help identify strategies and develop extension outreach materials to protect California’s diversified agricultural economy in these counties.
Posted Sep 6, 2018 11:49 AM by Laura Patterson
We are a large olive ranch bordering both counties of Sonoma and Marin. We would cherish a farm advisor to help us with the changing climate, new plantings, new varieties, etc. - all through research trials performed in our area. We are battling strong heatwaves, strong winds, smoke from wildfires- all that will need attention to our specialty crops that we've been growing for decades. Extension is an incredibly important part of our farming culture and we would like to continue the position.
Posted Sep 12, 2018 9:05 AM by Ria DAversa
I strongly support hiring a new Specialty Crop Advisor.

Posted Sep 15, 2018 12:51 PM by Johnny Campbell
As Adjunct Faculty in Sustainable Ag at SRJC, workshop instructor for a variety of farm and garden topics, and as one who consults with small scale farming operations, I feel that a Specialty Crops Advisor is sorely needed in this region. The consumer demand for local food keeps increasing yet so do the challenges to growing and marketing these crops. There are technical challenges such as climate change - with erratic temperatures and rainfall, inadequate winter chill and new pests and diseases. With the impending Groundwater Sustainability regulations looming on the horizon, growers will need support with irrigation projections and efficiency as well as water conservation measures. Changing market opportunities mean that some growers will need to learn how to grow and pack for wholesale while others need to develop agri-tourism or other direct marketing avenues.
Buyers are asking for locally grown grains,non-cannabis medicinal herbs and ranchers need help with growing their own feed.
There is abundant need for a Specialty Crops Advisor and I hope this position will be approved and filled soon.
Thank you.
Posted Sep 16, 2018 8:10 PM by Wendy Krupnick
I would never have become involved in the olive oil business had it not been for Paul Vossen's workshops and continued support and collaboration during the past 20 years. Sonoma and Marin County are blessed with good soils and climate perfect for growing a diversity of food crops. Many of our small farmers depend on the advice of the UCCE farm advisor to help them get started in their businesses and would not be able to thrive without that counsel. I strongly support maintaining the position of Specialty Crops Advisor for our counties.
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Posted Oct 17, 2018 12:58 AM by Jacob

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