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Chen named vineyard advisor in Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties

Christopher Chen

Christopher Chen joined UC Cooperative Extension Jan.10 as an integrated vineyard systems advisor for Sonoma, Mendocino and Lake counties.

Chen earned a B.S. in agronomy, a B.A. in economics, an M.S. in agronomy with specialization in viticulture and a Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy with specialization in viticulture, all at UC Davis.

While in the master's program at UC Davis, Chen researched the efficacy of shade nets as heat-damage reduction tools for wine grapes at the UC Oakville Research Station in Napa Valley. He also assisted in field projects across California ranging from Delano and Paso Robles to Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. During his doctoral studies, Chen tested the salinity tolerance of wild and cultivated grapevine rootstocks stored at the UC Davis germplasm collection.

In his personal time, Chen enjoys playing guitar and venturing across California with his partner and Australian Shepherd.

Chen is headquartered at Hopland Research and Extension Center and can be reached at codchen@ucanr.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @GrapeProblems.

Smith joins Human Resources

Ian Smith

Ian Smith has joined Human Resources as manager of employee and labor relations. He succeeds MaryVlandis, who retired in June. He will oversee the staff human relations and employee and labor relations functions.

Smith comes to UC ANR from the UC Systemwide Human Resources/Labor Relations Division of the Office of the President, where he has worked extensively in the collective bargaining process for the last eight years.

Prior to his work with UCOP, Smith worked in human resources in nonprofit human services as well as public utilities, and he has a wide range of HR experience in both the private and public sector on both the management and union sides.

He holds a Master in Public Administration degree and an undergraduate degree in music.

Smith is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at ijsmith@ucanr.edu

Dillard, Harris, Uhrich, Almeida, D'Odorico elected AAAS Fellows

Helene Dillard

Five scientists affiliated with UC ANR are among 564 newly elected Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science announced Jan. 26. 

AAAS fellows are scientists, engineers and innovators who have been recognized for their achievements across disciplines ranging from research, teaching and technology, to administration in academia, industry and government, to excellence in communicating and interpreting science to the public.

Helene Dillard, dean of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was selected “For exemplary contributions to cross-disciplinary academic administration and global public outreach; for research in plant biology, ecology and management of fungal diseases; for agricultural production; and for mentoring and teaching.”

Linda Harris

Linda J. Harris, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, was selected “For distinguished contributions to the field of food safety microbiology especially related to control of Salmonella and other pathogens in low-moisture foods and fresh produce.”

Kathryn Uhrich

Kathryn Uhrich, dean of UC Riverside's College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, a professor in the Department of Chemistry and a participating faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was selected for her contributions to the field of biodegradable polymers “that serve a critical need in therapeutics/drug delivery and service to the chemistry community.”

Rodrigo Almeida

Rodrigo P. P. Almeida, UC Berkeley professor of emerging infectious disease ecology and the Hildebrand-Laumeister Chair in Plant Pathology, was selected for distinguished contributions to the field of ecology, particularly for experimental and modeling work on the ecology, evolution and management of insect-transmitted plant pathogens. 

Paolo D’Odorico

Paolo D'Odorico, UC Berkeley professor of environmental science, policy and management, was selected for major scientific advances in ecohydrology and food-water-energy systems.

An induction ceremony for the new fellows will take place during the AAAS annual meeting, to be held online this year Feb. 17-20. 

Founded in 1848, AAAS is the world's largest general scientific society and publisher of the journal Science and other journals. Its mission is to “advance science and serve society” through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, public engagement and more.

Sidhu honored as one of 40 Under 40

Jaspreet Sidhu

Jaspreet Sidhu, UCCE vegetable crops advisor in Kern County, has been named one of the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 by fruit and vegetable industry members across the country. 

This honor is reserved exclusively for outstanding young industry professionals who are demonstrating exceptional commitment to making their mark in the industry through innovation and leadership.  

Sidhu's applied research and extension program is directed towards developing, evaluating, and implementing pest management practices in commercial vegetable cropping systems. The overall goal of her program is to enhance the profitability and sustainability of vegetable production in Kern County and across California. Sidhu earned her B.S. and M.S. from Punjab Agricultural University in India and her Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University.

The Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 was honored during a reception at the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO on Dec. 7. Gary Pullano, editor of Fruit Growers News, and Stephen Kloosterman, associate editor of Fruit Growers News, presented the honorees with a certificate and gift bag. 

Read more about the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 Class of 2021 at https://vegetablegrowersnews.com/40under40.

CAWG names Oberholster 2022 Leader of the Year

Anita Oberholster

Anita Oberholster, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Viticulture and Enology at UC Davis, was selected by the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) as the 2022 Leader of the Year.  

CAWG President John Aguirre said, “Dr. Oberholster is an esteemed researcher and leading voice as an educator and expert on the complicated issues surrounding wildfire smoke and winegrapes. Her relentless drive to help by sharing her expertise and frequent communication have been incredibly beneficial to growers and vintners, and CAWG appreciates all that she has done for California's winegrowers.” 

The Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual whose record of exceptional leadership has benefitted California's wine industry and is an inspiration to others. The recipient has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to issues of significant importance to winegrape growers and has achieved lasting changes to promote and protect the interests of California winegrape growers.   

As a UCCE specialist, Oberholster focuses on continuing education for the grape and wine industry, while her research program concentrates on current issues in the grape and wine industry. Her core research program focuses on the influence of viticultural practices and environmental factors on grape ripening and composition, and related wine quality and investigations to determine the influence of different vinification practices on wine composition and quality. 

Since 2017, smoke exposure in winegrapes has become one of her primary research subjects. She is investigating the absorption of volatile phenols on to grapes and the subsequent impact on wine composition and quality. Oberholster has been instrumental in the research and dissemination of information regarding smoke exposed fruit. She has been an active member of the West Coast Smoke Exposure Task Force and a presenter for CAWG-supported webinars and meetings. 

Oberholster received the award on Jan. 25 during the 2022 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium in Sacramento. 

Light wins Conservation Education Award

Sarah Light

Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor for Sutter, Yuba, and Colusa counties, won the Conservation Education Award from the Soil and water Conservation Society's California/Nevada chapter. Light and Liz Harper, executive director of Colusa Resource Conservation District, share the award for Soil Health Connection, a series of videos they produced. The award was presented Jan. 7 during a webinar.

The Soil Health Connection connects farmers with experts in the fields of soil health and agronomy. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, soil health consists of five principles: soil armor, minimal soil disturbance, plant diversity, continual live plants/roots, and livestock integration.

Light and Harper interviewed farmers, scientists, policy advocates, and farm advisors who are involved in improving soil health in the Sacramento Valley. The 35 videos range from a two-minute video demonstrating a soil nitrate quick test to longer interviews about soil health, grazing, cultivation practices and policy. 

See the Soil Health Connection on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCRI4lXL4f_ro_Flnp4lu6IA.

Ritchie earns JNEB Platinum Author recognition

Lorrene Ritchie

The Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) has designated Lorrene Ritchie as a Platinum Author.

Over the past 10 years, Ritchie has been author or co-author of more than 10 papers published in JNEB, according to Editor-in-Chief Karen Chapman-Novakofski. 

“We recognize that authors have many choices when selecting the right place to publish and are pleased that you have chosen JNEB, the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior's peer-reviewed journal, so often as an outlet for your research,” Chapman-Novakofski wrote. “We hope you will consider JNEB for your papers in the future to continue advancing research, practice and policy. We truly appreciate the excellent manuscripts you send.”

 

 

Posted on Thursday, January 27, 2022 at 9:24 AM

Names in the News

Sidhu named UCCE vegetable crops advisor for Kern County

Jaspreet Sidhu

Jaspreet Sidhu joined UCCE on Sept. 4, 2018, as the vegetable crops advisor for Kern County.

Sidhu earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Louisiana State University and a M.S. in entomology and a B.S. in plant protection from Punjab Agricultural University, India.

Prior to joining UCCE, Sidhu was a research scientist at Virginia Tech (2016–2018). There, she coordinated and managed different projects funded by USAID in partner countries and provided assistance and expertise for the development of various components of IPM packages for tropical vegetables, fruits and other crops. At Louisiana State University, Sidhu was a research associate working on pest management in vegetable crops, focusing on efficacy trials, maintenance of field and greenhouse experimental trials and data collection and presentation (2014–2016). As a postdoctoral associate, she focused on stem borer management in rice in Louisiana. (2013–2014).

In addition to English, she is fluent in Punjabi and Hindi.

Sidhu is based in Bakersfield and can be reached at (661) 822-6222 and jaksidhu@ucanr.edu.

Diekmann named UCCE urban ag and food systems advisor

Lucy Diekmann

Lucy Diekmann joined UCCE on Aug. 20, 2018, as the area urban agriculture and food systems advisor for Santa Clara and San Mateo counties.

Diekmann earned a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy and management from UC Berkeley, a M.S. in environmental sciences from University of Virginia, and a B.A. in history from Brown University.

Prior to joining UCCE, Diekmann was a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow and academic year lecturer in the Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences at Santa Clara University. In these roles, she studied the impacts of and barriers to urban agriculture in Santa Clara County, conducting research in collaboration with community partners. She also coordinated a working group on equity in the food system as part of an eXtension Community of Practice. From 2011 to 2014, Diekmann worked as a consultant for Smart Growth California, where she provided outreach materials about land use, transportation and housing policies to a network of funders dedicated to building sustainable communities in California. Her dissertation research examined the social and cultural impacts of ecological restoration on an American Indian community in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. 

Diekmann is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 282-3104 and lodiekmann@ucanr.edu.

Salinger to lead ANR Food Entrepreneurship

Zac Salinger

Zachary Salinger joined ANR on Aug. 15, 2018, as the food entrepreneurship academic coordinator under the UC Master Food Preserver program.

Prior to joining ANR, Salinger was working as CEO/founder of Basil (2016 to 2018), an off-the-grid vertical farm company in New Orleans. Basil's vertical farm model utilized 95 percent less water than traditional non-recirculating methods, no pesticides and an automated water system. He produced cherry tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant and squash for residents in food deserts. To complete this model, he established partnerships with energy, architecture and farming industries. In 2017, his venture won funding from the prestigious NewDay Award, through the Changemaker Institute Accelerator at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation at Tulane University.

Salinger completed an MPH in nutrition and food security from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a B.A. in psychology from UCLA. 

Salinger is based at the ANR building at 2801 Second St. in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1245 and zlsalinger@ucanr.edu.

Gunn named 4-H advisor in San Mateo and San Francisco counties

Maggie La Rochelle Gunn

Maggie La Rochelle Gunn joined UCCE on Aug. 6, 2018, as a 4-H Youth Development advisor in San Mateo and San Francisco counties. 

Prior to joining UCCE, Gunn managed Putah Creek Café Garden in Winters from 2016 to 2018. She also owned a business that provided gardening services, mentorship and educational workshops on sustainable gardening and farming topics to local businesses and residents. Gunn's Ph.D. dissertation, titled Portrait of a Learning Farm: Re-rooting Selves, Natures and Relationships, was an ethnography of learning relationships at the UC Davis Student Farm. She examined learning motivations in the experiences of student farmers, socio-spatial relationships, education and production dynamics, critical social issues that bear on learning relationships and institutional dynamics of program management. Gunn's master's thesis, An Analysis of Youth Poems from the River of Words: Exploring Environmental Identity, Education, and Youth Development, was a thematic content analysis of over 700 poems written by young people in the U.S. for the River of Words Poetry Contest. This was a study of youth attitudes toward community and place, yielding insights about constructive learning models and the impacts of negative public discourse around young people and the environment.

Gunn earned her Ph.D. in geography and a M.S. in community and regional development from UC Davis, with emphases in community education and farm and garden-based learning. She earned a B.A. in English literature from UC San Diego.

Gunn is based at Elkus Ranch in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7424 and mlgunn@ucanr.edu.

Vega named 4-H advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties

Liliana Vega

Liliana Vega joined UCCE on July 10, 2018, as a 4-H Youth Development advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Vega had been an extension educator at University of Idaho since 2008 and associate extension professor since 2012. In this role, she determined and assessed the needs of area youth, focusing on youth from underserved and minority audiences; developed relationships with other educational institutions, agencies and organizations; identified and prioritized educational needs; planned, developed, coordinated, implemented and evaluated educational programs. She provided leadership in delivering 4-H youth education, disseminated program results through publications and presentations and managed grants and budgets. From 2008 to 2011, Vega was an instructor with responsibilities for 4-H youth development educational programming, afterschool programs, community outreach, volunteer development, volunteer and staff supervision, providing educational opportunities and information to Latino families and networking and partnering with community organizations and institutions.

Vega completed a M.S. in education, adult/organizational learning and leadership from University of Idaho and a B.A. in multi-ethnic studies (minor in Mexican American Studies) from Boise State University.

Vega is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at (805) 781-4188 and live@ucanr.edu.

Nemati named UCCE specialist in water resource economics and policy

Mehdi Nemati

Mehdi Nemati joined UCCE on July 1, 2018, as an assistant specialist in water resource economics and policy in the School of Public Policy at UC Riverside. Nemati's role is to provide leadership throughout the state to develop mission-oriented research programs among colleagues and universities. He facilitates teamwork among government agencies, stakeholder groups and private industry with a focus on promoting sustainable and cost-effective strategies for addressing water-related issues, such as water scarcity/drought. His policy-oriented research and extension program focuses on economic issues associated with urban/municipal water use and water conservation programs, including alternative pricing structures (e.g., budget-based tiered rates and drought pricing), and rebate programs (e.g., turf grass removal); direct and indirect potable water reuse; design of enforcement and monitoring strategies; incentives for the adoption of conservation practices and technologies. He is fluent in Farsi as well as English.

Prior to joining UCCE, Nemati was a graduate research assistant and teaching assistant at University of Kentucky from 2013 to 2018. Nemati's Ph.D. dissertation, Essays on Environmental Economics and Policy, examined various water policies, including 2015 drought mandate, and urban water conservation technologies effectiveness in water use reduction. In addition to research, he has experience explaining critical economic and data-driven concepts to a lay audience. He is the lead author of white papers for Dropcountr company. These non-technical summaries of his research were prepared for Dropcountr management and subsequently shared with government representatives and utility providers.

Nemati received his Ph.D. in agricultural economics and M.S. in economics at the University of Kentucky. He also earned an M.S. in agricultural economics at the University of Tehran, and his B.S. in agricultural economics at the University of Kurdistan.

Read more about Nemati's research at his website http://mnemati.com. Follow him on Twitter at @mnematie. He can be reached at (951) 827-9368 and mehdi.nemati@ucr.edu.

Wang joins UCCE as specialist in small-scale fruit and vegetable processing

Selina Wang

Selina Wang joined UCCE on July 1, 2018, as an assistant specialist in small-scale fruit and vegetable processing in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis. Wang's research program focuses on chemical quality, purity and nutrition parameters that occur during fruit and vegetable postharvest, processing and storage. Wang is also the research director of UC Davis Olive Center, leading collaborative projects with the university and industry and helping to find practical solutions to push the forefront of olive research and education. She is fluent in Mandarin as well as English.

Wang's postdoctoral project on evaluating the quality of extra virgin olive oil in supermarkets received worldwide attention in 2010 and 2011. Wang has been the research director of UC Davis Olive Center since 2012, developing more than 150 applied research projects in table olives and olive oil - including domestic/international standards, chemical method developments for rapid testing of quality and purity, best practices for harvesting/processing/storage, to byproduct management and health benefits. 

Wang earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at UC Davis and a B.S. in chemistry at UC Santa Cruz.

Learn more about her research at https://olivecenter.ucdavis.edu, https://www.facebook.com/UCDavis.OliveCenter, http://www.selinawang.com/and https://www.instagram.com/selinawang_ce.

Wang can be reached at (530) 752-5018 and scwang@ucdavis.edu.

Crowder joins Communication Services

Lucien Crowder

Lucien Crowder joined Communication Services and Information Technology in August as a senior writer and editor. He will write news articles, assist in writing opinion articles, edit a range of scientific and technical publications and manage publishing and production tasks for the peer-reviewed journal California Agriculture and the Publishing and Production group's other publications.

From 2012 until joining UC ANR, Crowder was senior editor at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a publication focused on technology-based threats to human civilization. For five years before joining the Bulletin, he was associate editor at Current History, a journal of contemporary international affairs. Previously, while living in Taiwan, he was a reporter for a business magazine and an editor at a daily newspaper. He holds a bachelor's degree in English language and literature from the University of Chicago.           

Crowder is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1219 or lccrowder@ucanr.edu.

Mutters honored by rice industry

From left, California Rice Research Foundation Chairman Gary Enos, Bruce Linquist, Cass Mutters and Rice Experiment Director Kent McKenzie.

Randall “Cass” Mutters, UCCE advisor emeritus, received the California Rice Industry Award, which is sponsored by the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation.

Mutters, who worked as a UC Cooperative Extension rice farming systems advisor in Butte County from 1994 until his retirement in 2017, was introduced by UCCE specialist Bruce Linquist.

“As an advisor, Cass conducted an applied research and outreach program directed towards rice growers, pest control advisers, and other rice industry stakeholders,” Linquist said. “Cass' work has been visionary and transformative. Through his efforts, he has helped the California rice industry adapt to new challenges, and remain viable and competitive. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a rice research and extension expert.” 

Linquist named a few of Mutters' career achievements.

“Cass developed the Leaf Color Chart to determine mid-season rice nitrogen needs. This has been adopted not only in California but also in many other rice production areas of the world,” Linquist said. “He quantified the effects of cold water on rice growth and yield, providing the California rice industry information needed to mitigate cold water damage. He developed guidelines to drain fields in preparation for harvest that allow growers to save water while maintaining yield and grain quality. In collaboration with the Rice Experiment Station breeders, Cass refined harvesting guidelines for new rice varieties, allowing growers more harvest flexibility and reduced drying costs. He is co-author of the Rice Quality Handbook, the most important publication in California dealing with post-harvest management of rice and used widely by rice storage managers. He was also part of the team that developed the first agricultural carbon offset protocol, approved by environmental groups and regulatory agencies in the U.S.” 

In addition, Mutters has collaborated with others to test new California rice varieties, develop nitrogen management guidelines, refine rice water use estimates, and develop strategies to manage herbicide resistant weeds.

As part of his outreach program, Mutters developed the Rice Quality and Rice Production Workshops, which have trained more than 1,000 growers and other rice industry representatives.

Mutters also served the rice industry by participating in many committees of state and national significance, such as the Rice Certification Act, California Air Resources Board Technical Advisory Committee, and the Rice Technical Working Group Executive Committee. Earlier this year, he was recognized for his service to the rice industry with the 2018 Rice Technical Working Group Distinguished Service Award.

Mutters was presented with the rice industry award on Aug 29, 2018, at the annual rice research meeting. The award is given annually to recognize and honor individuals from any segment of the rice industry who have made outstanding and distinguished contributions to the California rice industry. Recipients of the award are nominated and selected by a committee of rice growers and others appointed by the CCRRF Board of Directors. 

Downer honored by International Society of Arboriculture

Paul Ries, left, and Jim Downer.

A. James Downer, UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Ventura County, received the 2018 International Society of Arboriculture's (ISA) R.W Harris Author's Citation Award. This award of distinction is given to authors who consistently publish timely and valuable content related to the field of arboriculture.

Click here for a video on A. James Downer. (https://youtu.be/8bBgpA09FZ4)

Downer, who holds a Ph.D. in plant pathology, also teaches classes in arboriculture and plant pathology at California Polytechnic State University in Pomona. Presenting at conferences around the globe, he has managed active research that has resulted in over 50 peer-reviewed articles. 

“Dr. Downer is a dedicated teacher of the pathology of landscape ornamentals, horticulture, and arboriculture, translating his research into practical outputs,” says Paul Ries, ISA board president. “He has spent over 30 years speaking at conferences not only in his chapter region but internationally as well.”

Downer was recognized during the opening ceremony of the ISA Annual International Conference and Trade Show on Aug. 5 in Columbus, Ohio.

CalNat wins evaluation award 

From left, Marisa Rodriguez, an ANROSP board member, Sarah Angulo and Sabrina Drill.

The UC California Naturalist Program was honored by the Alliance of Natural Resource Outreach and Service Programs (ANROSP) for their work developing a comprehensive program evaluation and performance management system.

Program evaluation for the UC California Naturalist program has evolved over the last five years and matured into a comprehensive and functional system that provides the CalNat program team with useful information for assessing performance, setting priorities, refining practices and allocating resources.

All of the practices (except the Five-Year Program Review and the Needs Assessment) are conducted annually, allowing for comparisons from year to year. Each practice includes a separate data collection instrument to evaluate the instructors, courses and volunteer service effort and process for reporting integration into planning and operations.

California Naturalist Evaluation and Performance Management System.
The core elements of the program evaluation system fall into four buckets:

  1. Data collection, including needs assessment, post course evaluation and site audit survey
  2. Data analysis, reporting and communication, including a course evaluation report, a partner scorecard and a site audit summary
  3. Planning and adaptive management, including an annual plan, strategic plan and business plan
  4. Integration into operations, including revising standard operating procedures, and business process improvements.

These elements together serve as the foundation for the current program evaluation and performance management system for the CalNat program.

Sabrina Drill, UC California Naturalist Program associate director and UCCE natural resources advisor for Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and community education specialists Marisa Rodriguez and Sarah Angulo accepted the award Sept. 12 at the annual ANROSP meeting in New Orleans.

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