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Posts Tagged: November 2020

Legislators take virtual tour of UC ANR

Jhalendra Rijal gave policymakers an overview of the size and scope of California’s agricultural industry.

VP Glenda Humiston led California state legislators, their staff members and other policymakers on a virtual tour of UC ANR on Nov. 20.

Humiston welcomed Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan, Assemblymember Robert Rivas, Senator Melissa Melendez and staff of Senator/Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Senators Nancy Skinner and Henry Stern; staff of Assemblymembers Heath Flora and Monique Limon and members of the governor's office and administration.

The tour opened with the We are UC ANR video and a map of UC ANR locations for background. Using short videos and photos, statewide program directors and UC ANR stakeholders showed the policymakers many of the ways UC ANR serves Californians. Other “tour stops” included highlights of UC ANR's impact on urban greenspaces, nutrition and youth development, California agriculture and wildfire resiliency.

Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program, kicked off the urban greenspaces presentations by describing the contributions of volunteers. She discussed how the Master Gardener Program has changed during the COVID-19 constraints, noting a surge in the public's interest in gardening and the creation of a virtual classroom for the public in Senator Stern's district. 

Jim Farrar, director of the Integrated Pest Management Program, explained that IPM helps all Californians control pests, both agricultural and urban pests. He described the work being done to manage red imported fire ant, bed bugs and invasive shot hole borers.

California Naturalist training has helped participants land their first job, said Greg Ira.

Greg Ira, director of the California Naturalist Program, said Cal Nat has expanded UC ANR's audience to include a younger, more diverse population in metropolitan areas. He explained how Cal Nat partners with organizations that deliver the course, which opens participants' eyes to the environment and stewardship as paths to green jobs.

Lorene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute, kicked off the nutrition and youth development section of the tour by describing how NPI research has informed policies such as removing chips and soda from schools, the healthy beverages law requiring water be made available to children in all licensed child day-care facilities in California, and the U.S. dietary guidelines. 

Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, talked about how CalFresh and EFNEP nutrition educators teach people in English and Spanish how to shop for and prepare healthful foods on a limited budget to prevent chronic diseases.

Cecilia Arellano Ibarra worked with CalFresh Healthy Living, UC to start a school garden and advocate for a farm-to-school program to provide fresh produce at her high school.

Cecilia Arellano Ibarra, now a UC Davis student, enthusiastically described how she interviewed fellow Calexico High School students to find out why they bought junk food instead of the food served by the school as part of her eco-garden club research project. Based on the student responses, she worked with CalFresh Healthy Living, UC to start a school garden and advocate for a farm-to-school program to provide fresh produce.

Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, director of the 4-H Youth Development Program, described the 4-H Juntos program, which bridges the gap between high school and higher education with a four-day college and career readiness workshop. UC Merced student Adrian Bracamontes said attending Juntos helped him get scholarships and helped his parents understand the process.

Adrian Bracamontes credited the 4-H Juntos program with helping him get scholarships to attend UC Merced.

Jhalendra Rijal, area IPM advisor, launched the California agriculture section of the tour by giving guests an overview of the size and scope of California's agricultural commodities. He then talked about the value of the state's nut crops and summarized UC ANR's research to manage navel orangeworm, which attacks almond, walnut and pistachio crops.

Ashraf El-Kereamy, UCCE specialist and director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center, described the citrus breeding and pest management research being done at the REC. For example, the popular Tango mandarin was developed at Lindcove REC with UC Riverside breeders. He also discussed research on Asian citrus psyllid and huanglongbing disease.

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor, described how UC ANR promotes economic success by developing new crops. Hmong farmers in Fresno County growing the “superfood” moringa consult Dahlquist-Willard about production and regulations while farm advisor Konrad Mathesius is studying malting barley for new flavors of craft beer. 

Grower Mike Mellano said UC ANR’s research helps compete in the world economy. He has added agritourism and coffee to his flower growing operation.

Mike Mellano, third-generation flower grower in San Diego County, UC President's Advisory Commission member and California representative for the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension, and Teaching, told the legislators that his business may not exist as it is today without UC ANR's research to help him compete in the world economy. He has diversified his operations to include agritourism with the Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch and growing coffee.

Betsy Karle, dairy advisor, described her work with the state's number one commodity to meet climate goals for methane emissions. She also discussed UC ANR's partnership with the California Department of Food and Agriculture to educate farmers about adapting to climate change.

Yana Valachovic, forestry advisor and UCCE director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, explained how elected officials can look to UC research to inform policy on issues such as wildfire.

Yana Valachovic said research can inform policy, such as new guidance on defensible space to remove combustible items near homes.

Stephanie Larson, livestock and range advisor and UCCE director in Sonoma County, highlighted UC Cooperative Extension's ability to pivot quickly to address emerging issues of clientele. For example, when Sonoma County residents called asking if food in their gardens was safe to eat after a wildfire, UCCE harvested food from gardens and tested it. UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine tested eggs from backyard chickens for postfire food safety. They found the eggs and produce were generally safe to eat.

The tour was accompanied by a “learning box” with 11 different items related to the various tour stops for participants to taste, feel and explore. To conclude the virtual tour, Humiston told the legislators, “This is only a fraction of what UC ANR does. We've got hundreds of researchers. When you need information, reach out to us.”

Two similar virtual tours for UC regents and President Drake will be held on Dec. 2 and Dec. 8, respectively. A self-guided version of the virtual tour will be posted online following the last live tour.



Posted on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 3:49 PM
Tags: advocacy (25), November 2020 (11)

Names in the News

Carvalho de Souza Dias named UCCE agronomy and weed management advisor

Jose Carvalho de Souza Dias

José Luiz Carvalho de Souza Dias joined UCCE on Nov. 2, 2020, as an area agronomy and weed management advisor in Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties. 

Prior to joining UCCE, Carvalho de Souza Dias was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where he worked with Mark Renz and John Grabber on projects focused on identification of management practices and environmental factors to ensure successful establishment of alfalfa interseeded into corn silage; sustainable management of waterhemp in established alfalfa for dairy systems; and weed control, clover selectivity and resulting yield of grass-clover mixed swards treated with florpyrauxifen-benzyl + 2,4-D in Wisconsin.

Carvalho de Souza Dias earned a Ph.D. in agronomy with focus in weed science from the University of Florida and an M.S. in crop protection and B.S. in agronomy from São Paulo State University in Brazil. He is fluent in Portugese.

His Ph.D. research focused on developing and implementing integrated management practices to reduce giant smutgrass populations in bahiagrass pastures. His M.S. research focused on investigating the selectivity of several residual herbicides applied preplanting of prebudded seedlings of different sugarcane cultivars.

Based in Merced, Carvalho de Souza Dias can be reached at (209) 385-7403 and

Klisch named YFC academic coordinator II

Shannon Klisch

Shannon Klisch has been promoted to youth, families and communities program academic coordinator II serving San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, effective Nov. 2, 2020.

Before assuming her current position, Klisch had been a community education supervisor since 2014 and led the expansion of 4-H programming across San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties through the UC Garden Nutrition Extender program and the 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council youth engagement program. Prior to joining UC ANR, Klisch worked as a private consultant with the Center for Family Strengthening.

She earned a Master of Public Health in community health education at San Jose State University and B.A. degrees in anthropology and communication from UC San Diego. She holds credentials as a master community health education specialist and community health education specialist.

Klisch is headquartered in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at (805) 781-5951 and


Posted on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 11:14 AM

GivingTuesday is Dec. 1

On Dec. 1, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, UC ANR will join in #GivingTuesday, the global generosity movement, to ask the public to support our programs.

Please share ANR's donation link with your social network.

Gifts made online starting at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 1 are eligible to be matched until the matching funds are depleted. “That means stay up late on Nov. 30 to double the value of your gift,” said Emily Delk, director of annual giving.

Delk encourages everyone to share the link on social media.

“Social media algorithms prevent followers from seeing every post,” she said. “So you need to post often in order to increase the odds of visibility. Likes and shares help your content be seen by more people.”

Delk collaborated with Ricardo Vela, Miguel Sanchez and Evett Kilmartin to create the #PushPlayCA Giving Tuesday campaign video at The video opens with “COVID-19 put the world on pause. But our mission is moving forward!”

“We chose the #PushPlayCA theme to demonstrate how UC ANR programs have pivoted and continue to move forward during COVID-19,” Delk said.

Campaign in a box

The 2020 #GivingTuesday kit contains images that can be used by different programs. The plant giveaway image could be used by the Master Gardener and nutrition programs.

Delk has compiled sample text, images for social media posts and more, including some specifically for UCCE counties, research and extension centers and the Master Gardener, Master Food Preserver, 4-H and California Naturalist programs.

Find your 2020 #GivingTuesday materials in Box folders at

Matching funds

The California 4-H Foundation will have a 1:1 match incentive for gifts made to 4-H programs/clubs/councils through the Foundation in the amount of $25,000.

UC ANR will have a 1:1 match incentive for gifts made to any ANR Program/REC/Cooperative Extension location in the amount of $15,000.

Both of these match pots are awarded on a first-give, first-get basis starting at midnight until the pot is depleted.

#GivingTuesday webinars

#GivingTuesday webinars have been recorded and are posted on YouTube:

Want more information about how to participate in GivingTuesday? Recorded webinars are posted on YouTube:

If you have questions, contact Emily Delk at or (916) 564-4862.

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:58 AM
Tags: GivingTuesday (12), November 2020 (11)

Strategic Initiative Brief: Crystal ball, SNE leader, webinars


The Strategic Initiatives offer a home for strategic thought, drawing on members of the wider UC ANR community and beyond to identify and address issues of current and emerging importance. 

1. Major Initiative Themes - Summary of Progress

The SI leaders have been pursuing topics of importance for the future of UC ANR. Drawing on the crystal ball paper, the SIs are linking to ongoing efforts and leaders within our UC ANR community to create spaces for conversation and explore opportunities. 

Existing 2 page concept notes are now available on the SI site. These papers are being used to work with interested partners to pursue funding. 

Fire: Concept Note Fire Advisors Network (draft). Kudos to Yana Valachovic and others for their work on this concept paper.

Food systems: Concept Note Food systems (draft). Concepts here are emerging in part from the Food Systems Spotlight Webinar series led by Deanne Meyer and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty.

Urban extension/DEI: Concept Note Building California's Urban Community (draft). This and associated initiatives are benefiting from input by Keith Nathaniel and Frank McPherson.

Extension of the future: Concept Note Building California's Urban Community (draft) and Concept note working cross state and cross institute (draft). These are the latest as discussion evolves on opportunities to grow our presence throughout the state and across state lines. 

Feedback and suggestions welcome! 

2. Sustainable Natural Ecosystems SI Leader position opening

Want to make a difference at the policy level? Check out the opportunity as the Sustainable Natural Ecosystems Strategic Initiative leader.  

In transitioning the leadership, many thanks to David Lile for his commitment to our Sustainable Natural Resources work. David was the Strategic Initiative leader for 3 years.

3. Strategic Initiative Spotlight Webinar Series Continues Strong

3.1 Building Resilient Food System

The food systems series being coordinated by the Healthy Families and Communities and Sustainable Food Systems Strategic Initiatives continues to explore how to re-imagine our food systems. Sign up below and join us for the remaining webinars on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month to continue the discussion. Please let us know if you're interested in providing leadership or participating in a webinar for this series.

Contacts: Deanne Meyer (SFS SI leader) and Lynn Schmitt McQuitty (HFC SI leader). 

Visit the Spotlight webinars page to see recordings. 

3.2. Our virtual reach continues to grow. 

SI partial funding support for webinars: The SIs are offering partial webinar support (up to $200) for webinars on topics consistent with the major SI strategic themes. Learn more here

Ever wondered about adult learning principles and how they can help you in your job? Learn more here.

Other resources: 

Comments/feedback welcome

All these materials have been developed with input from many, many colleagues. Please let us know what skills or tips you found useful and what more you'd like to learn. 

4. In the pipeline

In the discussion pipeline, we have

  • Remaining relevant; Extension of the future. How do we meet the needs of all Californians? How do we address urban and DEI needs? What could postpandemic tertiary education look like? What could be the role of UC ANR (re: working with community colleges, CSUs, UCs, internships …)? What other Funding & Incomes models are there?
  • Disaster response. How to contribute and position ourselves for broader impact, recognizing the tremendous progress made by the Fire group
  • Engaging Program Teams and the wider body of UC ANR

For more on the SIs and their activities, contact

Posted on Monday, November 30, 2020 at 10:27 AM

UC ANR Administrative Responsibilities Guide published

The Controller's office is pleased to announce the publication of the UC ANR Administrative Responsibilities Guide (ARG). 

The ARG provides general guidance and support for all personnel with administrative and/or financial oversight responsibilities. It is a guidebook to the expertise and assistance available from central administrative support, and is designed to define and clarify areas of accountability.  

The ARG is wide-ranging in nature, in contrast to UC ANR's Policy and Procedure Manual, which provides detailed information and instructions. 

Questions regarding the ARG may be directed to Catherine Montano at

Posted on Wednesday, November 25, 2020 at 6:19 PM
Tags: November 2020 (11), policy (77)

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