ANR Employees
University of California
ANR Employees

Posts Tagged: Jeff Mitchell

ANR meets the public at World Ag Expo

Surendra Dara explains how fungi kill insects.

People from across California and around the world got to taste new crops, see research demonstrations and learn about several UC ANR activities at the World Ag Expo Feb. 12-14. Despite the cold rainy weather, the world's largest agricultural exposition attracted 102,878 people representing 48 states, the District of Columbia and 65 countries to Tulare.

At an outdoor tent, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, Greg Douhan, UCCE citrus advisor, and other researchers, handed visitors fresh Tango citrus grown at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and told them about their citrus variety research.

Sal Barcenes, Lindcove staff research assistant, and Greg Douhan show citrus varieties.

Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor, and Michael Yang, small farms and specialty crops agricultural assistant, encouraged visitors to taste moringa tea. Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor, described how Bagrada bugs and other pests under the microscopes can be controlled by microbes. Roger Baldwin, UCCE wildlife specialist, and Niamh Quinn, UCCE urban wildlife conflict advisor, took turns showing taxidermy vertebrate pests and describing their management research.

Michael Yang and Lorena Ramos, staff research and marketing associate for the UCCE small farms and specialty crops program in Fresno and Tulare counties, offered visitors hot moringa tea.

Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist, and Jeff Dahlberg, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center director, gave demonstrations to show the superior health of soils managed with conservation techniques.  

Demonstrating the use of high-tech in agriculture, Sean Hogan, Informatics and Geographic Information System academic coordinator, Andy Lyons, IGIS program coordinator, and Jacob Flanagan, IGIS programmer, showed how they use drones and cameras in agricultural research.

A PBS news crew interviews Andy Lyons and Jacob Flanagan.

Inside Pavilion A, Teresa Rios-Spicer, UCCE nutrition program manager, andYeseniaMedrano, UCCE community education specialist, both from Tulare County, challenged visitors to test their nutrition knowledge by playing Jeopardy! Visitors could spin the UC Master Gardeners prize wheel to answer gardening questions and win seeds. 4-H members invited youth to peer into virtual reality goggles to give them an idea about the fun activities that can be part of joining 4-H.

Teresa Rios-Spicer, left, and Yesenia Medrano challenged visitors to test their nutrition knowledge at Healthy Jeopardy!

Frank Mitloehner, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, gave a seminar explaining confusion in the media about the amount of greenhouse gas livestock emit in California and globally. He reviewed the innovations in livestock production that are leading the way to a "greener future" for California and U.S. agriculture.

Niamh Quinn describes how the spotted skunk stands on its hands and shakes its tail.

Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension citrus entomology specialist, and Victoria Hornbaker of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, gave an update on regulatory protocols relating to Asian citrus psyllid and HLB quarantines and the proper transportation of bulk citrus to prevent the spread of the pest and disease.

The California and Dutch AgFoodTech innovation partners reunited in Tulare for a networking luncheon to share their action plan with invited guests and scope the projects.

UCCE advisor Dan Munk, left, greets West Side farmer Joe Del Bosque and VP Glenda Humiston.
Jeff Mitchell, center, talks about soil health with Scott Brayton of Development Services, left, and Mark Bell, vice provost of of strategic initiatives and statewide programs.
UC Master Gardener volunteer Priscilla Girard answered questions about gardening.
From left, Liz Sizensky of UC Nutrition Policy Institute, and Julie Sievert, assistant KARE program and facility coordinator, assist 4-H members with virtual reality goggles.

Names in the News

Khaira to lead UC CalFresh

Kamal Khaira

Kamaljeet (Kamal) Singh-Khaira has accepted the position of director of the University of California CalFresh Nutrition Education Program, also known as UC CalFresh. Singh-Khaira began her new role on June 18, 2018, succeeding David Ginsburg, who retired after leading UC CalFresh since 2008. 

“We are very fortunate to have another strong leader to direct the UC CalFresh program,” said Helene Dillard, dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Under David Ginsburg's leadership, our program has grown substantially and become a widely emulated model across the nation. Kamal Singh-Khaira—with her more than 20 years of experience developing and implementing health and active living initiatives—is ideally positioned to lead the program into the future.”

Prior to joining UC CalFresh, Singh-Khaira was an independent consultant. She previously held leadership positions with the Network for a Healthy California and the American Heart Association.  

Singh-Khaira has a master's degree in community development from UC Davis and is the 2012 recipient of that program's Ted Bradshaw Award, honoring an alum of the program who exemplifies the passion, humanity and devotion for community empowerment. In 2015 Singh-Khaira received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Western Region Food and Nutrition Service Recognition Award honoring her professional contributions and leadership in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) education efforts. 

Singh-Khaira is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-0555 and kjkhaira@ucdavis.edu.

Bruno named UCCE quantitative policy analysis specialist

Ellen Bruno

Ellen Bruno joined UCCE on July 1, 2018, as an assistant specialist in quantitative policy analysis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley.

Bruno will develop a research and extension program that focuses on policy issues relevant to California's agriculture and natural resources. Much of her current research and extension work relates to the changing regulatory structure of groundwater in California and the potential for groundwater trading.

Prior to joining UCCE, Bruno was a graduate student researcher in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. Her Ph.D. dissertation, titled “An Evaluation of Policy Instruments for Sustainable Groundwater Management,” assessed the potential of market-based instruments for improving management of groundwater for agriculture. 

Bruno earned her B.S. in management science from UC San Diego and M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural and resource economics from UC Davis.

Bruno is located at 223 Giannini Hall at UC Berkeley, and can be reached at ebruno@berkeley.edu.

Marshall-Wheeler named 4-H advisor

Nicole Marshall-Wheeler

Nicole Marshall-Wheeler is now an area 4-H youth development advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba counties as of June 1, 2018.

Marshall-Wheeler joined UCCE in 2016 as a 4-H youth development community education specialist in Butte County, providing oversight and leadership to the county's 4-H Youth Development Program, coordinating and managing nearly 200 volunteers and 500 youth. She also worked two summers (2014 and 2015) as a 4-H events assistant for UC ANR California 4-H State Office. From 2010 to 2016, she was an after school program director and leader at Chico Area Recreation and Park District, overseeing 200 youth and 10 staff, budget management, mentorship and resolving conflict with staff, youth and parents. As a California 4-H alumna, she was a Butte County 4-H All-Star and California 4-H State Ambassador.

Marshall-Wheeler is based in Colusa and can be reached at (530) 458-0570 and nmarshall@ucanr.edu.

Sanchez joins NOS

Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez joined ANR's News and Information Outreach in Spanish (NOS) as a broadcast communications specialist on July 1. He will be producing videos and writing news releases in English and Spanish to provide ANR's research-based information to Latino Californians.

Prior to joining NOS, Sanchez was the technical director for Entravision on KVER Univision Notivalle for six years in Palm Desert, helping to produce the evening newscast and upload news to the station's social media platforms. From 2003 to 2012, he was a video editor, photojournalist and technical director for newscasts in Santa Maria for KCOY-12 CBS and KKFX-11 FOX, then Entravision on KPMR Univision 38.

He earned an associate's degree in multimedia from Brooks College in Long Beach.

Sanchez is based at Rubideaux Hall in Riverside and can be reached at (951) 781-2124 and
miguel.sanchez@ucr.edu.

Koopman Rivers named UCCE Siskiyou County director

Carissa Koopman Rivers is the new director for UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County. Koopman Rivers, a UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, succeeds the late Steve Orloff. She is based in Yreka and can be reached at (530) 842-2711 and ckrivers@ucanr.edu.

JoLynn Miller, a 4-H youth development advisor, is serving as the interim director for UCCE Central Sierra while Scott Oneto is on a one-year sabbatical leave. Miller is based in Sonora and can be reached at (209) 533-5686, cell (209) 588-6757 and jlmiller@ucanr.edu.

At Hopland Research & Extension Center, superintendent John Bailey has been serving as interim director since Kim Rodrigues retired July 1. Bailey can be reached at (707) 744-1424 x112 and jtbailey@ucanr.edu.

From left, VP Glenda Humiston, Dan Munk and AVP Wendy Powers attended the Western Extension Directors Association meeting in Guam.

CASI Center wins WEDA Award of Excellence

The Conservation Agriculture Systems Innovation (CASI) Center received this year's Award of Excellence from the Western Extension Directors Association (WEDA). Dan Munk, UCCE farm advisor in Fresno County and CASI member, delivered a presentation on CASI's goals and accomplishments on July 10 at the WEDA annual conference in Guam, then accepted the award on behalf of the group.

The WEDA Award of Excellence is presented annually to recognize Extension outreach education programming that has achieved outstanding accomplishments, results and impacts in addressing contemporary issues in one or more of the 13 Western states and Pacific Island U.S. Territories.

Composed of scientists and growers, the CASI Center develops and delivers information on the economic and environmental benefits of conservation agriculture systems and strives to increase adoption of locally appropriate systems in California. CASI was founded by and continues to be fueled by Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist.

Surveys conducted by the CASI Center indicate that no-tillage and strip-tillage practices were used on less than 0.5 percent of California's annual crop acreage in 2004 (http://casi.ucanr.edu/?blogstart=51& blogasset=14128), but today, an estimated 45 percent of dairy silage acreage in California now uses these production techniques. Major transformations toward reduced disturbance tillage systems have occurred in several other crops including tomatoes, sorghum and cotton.

The application for consideration for the WEDA recognition was submitted by Brenna Aegerter, Howard Ferris, UC Davis professor Amelie Gaudin, UC Merced professor Teamrat Ghezzehei, Kurt Hembree, William Horwath, Louise Jackson, Betsy Karle, Sarah Light, Mark Lundy, Dan Marcum, Milt McGiffen, Glenn McGourty, Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, Mitchell, Gene Miyao, Munk, Tapan Pathak, Samuel Sandoval-Solis, Gary Sposito, Scott Stoddard, Tom Turini, Amber Vinchesi, Jeannette Warnert and Daniele Zaccaria.

In their application, they wrote: “In concert with these reductions in tillage intensity and soil disturbance, estimates of PM10 or fugitive dust by the SJV Air Pollution Control District indicate about 9.2 tons per day lower emissions that are likely due to reductions in tillage intensity and soil disturbance in the eight-county San Joaquin Valley region that was out of compliance with US EPA air quality standards in the early 2000s. This effort was one of several agricultural management approaches that helped the San Joaquin Valley Air Basin achieve and maintain attainment of the PM10 air quality standard. Further evidence of our impacts includes our leadership and founding role in the creation of the California Farm Demonstration Network, as well as our organizing of a very dynamic group of organic farmers in California that is now working together on no-till organic food production systems. Our impact also extends to what we term ‘saturation visibility' of our work through an average of 65 public presentations annually and over 50,000 views of our CASI videos. CASI is now widely recognized as the ‘go to' organization in California for science- and experience-based information and leadership on conservation agriculture principles, practices and systems.”

WEDA represents Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Micronesia, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Northern Mariana Islands, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

 

 

UC ANR researchers and staff engage farmers, other stakeholders at World Ag Expo 2018

World Ag Expo visitors discuss conservation tillage at Jeff Mitchell's exhibit at the UC ANR tent.

UC ANR had a major presence at World Ag Expo Feb. 13-15 in Tulare. In addition to exhibits inside the Pavilion, this year, UC ANR hosted a series of well-attended researcher demonstrations of citrus varieties, soil quality and other subjects in a tent outside. UC ANR scientists also gave presentations on “hot topics” ranging from the use of drones and other electronic technology in production agriculture to animal health to human nutrition.

UCCE advisors Surendra Dara, left, and Brenna Aergerter were among the scientists available to answer grower questions.

“Between our tent and our Pavilion space, there's been a lot of very good engagement and discussions with the primary stakeholder audience,” said Mike Janes, Strategic Communications director.

Jeff Dahlberg, Kearney Ag Research and Extension Center director, discussed his research on sorghum. The drought-tolerant crop can be used in food, feed and bioenergy products.

On the opening day of the expo, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue held a town hall to hear from members of California's agriculture industry concerns about the upcoming Farm Bill. VP Glenda Humiston was among those present for the discussion, which attracted considerable media attention.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue was interviewed by California Farm Bureau President Jamie Johansson at World Ag Expo.

Western Farm Press wrote: “While trade, labor and regulatory issues may top the list of agricultural policy issues Perdue faces in Washington D.C., Glenda Humiston, Vice President of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Division of the state's Land Grant university, stressed the importance of adequate research funding and federal definitions of rural versus urban, which she said is having detrimental impacts across California on important program funding.”

“If a county has one town that has 50,000 population in it, the entire county is labeled metropolitan for purposes of allocating funding,” Humiston said in the Hanford Sentinel

Rob Johnson, left, looks on as Sean Hogan, IGIS academic coordinator, describes the use of drones in agricultural research.

“Humiston said that while UCANR has a ‘proud tradition of research in California,' the university is plagued by reduced budgets at the same time the state is plagued by a new invasive pest every several weeks. She said for the university to stay ahead of these issues and to help growers in these and many other areas, additional funding is vital,” Farm Press reporter Todd Fitchette wrote.

In private communication, Fitchette said that widespread applause broke out from the audience in response to Humiston's comments.

 

Posted on Monday, February 26, 2018 at 10:47 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Humiston speaks to House Ag Committee on value of agricultural research

From left, Robert Duncan, Texas Tech University chancellor; Jacqueline Burns, University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences dean for research and director; Humiston; Walter H. Hill, Tuskegee University dean of the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences and vice provost for Land-Grant Affairs; Steven H. Tallant, Texas A&M University president; and Carrie L. Billy, president and CEO of American Indian Higher Education Consortium.

“The general public and, in particular, large funders tend to not view agriculture as a particularly sexy topic. We've done such a great job for over 150 years of providing a safe, secure, wonderful, bountiful food supply that people take it for granted,” VP Glenda Humiston told members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture, explaining the challenges of fundraising for public agricultural research.

A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding, Humiston told U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture.
Humiston was among the six higher education leaders invited to Washington, D.C., to speak on the importance of university agricultural research and innovation on June 22.

“Agricultural research has been essential to U.S. gains in productivity over the past century,” said Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) when he announced the hearing on The Next Farm Bill: University Research. “With the global population expected to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, U.S. production agriculture will continue to be asked to produce more with fewer resources, and the best way to do that will be through strategic investments in agricultural research. I look forward to hearing from university leaders about the opportunities and challenges they face in ensuring American agriculture remains a world leader in cutting-edge technology and research.”

Conaway asked why the universities' agriculture programs lack infrastructure like labs and greenhouses and have $8.4 billion in deferred maintenance.

“As we've dealt with cuts and increased costs, it's been easy to say, ‘We can put off fixing that roof or put off buying that new piece of equipment a few more years if we can keep those researchers doing their work,'” Humiston explained. “Unfortunately, I think that's been going on for decades rather than a few years and that's why it's gotten so critical."

Humiston and the other guests described how their institutions partner with private industry and other government agencies to leverage federal funding.

Highlights of Humiston's remarks

  • A vital component of federal support for agricultural research has been capacity funding specifically dedicated to supporting research and Cooperative Extension programs at America's land-grant universities.
  • The current mix of federal and state capacity funds is generally leveraged many-fold by federal competitive grants, grants from private industry, and other types of unrestricted gifts and awards to faculty conducting research at the nation's land-grant universities.
  • A recent study found the return on investment for federal funding of the public land-grant system averages 21:1, corresponding to annual rates of return between 9 percent and 10 percent.
  • With University of California (UC) Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) serving as a vital partner, California's $47 billion agricultural sector continues to make California the nation's top agricultural state.
  • In the past fiscal year, UC ANR has served more than 1.4 million adults and youth directly, published 1,800 peer-reviewed journal articles and filed more than 20 patents.
  • Although progress is being made to incrementally increase appropriations to the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, it remains funded at considerably less than the $700 million authorized in the previous two Farm Bills.

To watch a recording of the hearing, visit YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckbfCTTuZs0. Humiston appears at the 24:45 mark.

For a transcript of Humiston's full prepared remarks, visit http://ucanr.edu/files/264186.pdf.

The committee has scheduled listening sessions, “The Next Farm Bill, Conversations in the Field,” to gather input from farmers, ranchers and stakeholders across the country. They will be in California on Aug. 5 in Modesto.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Eric Natwick, UCCE Imperial County advisor, hangs up his insect net after 36 years

Imperial County Agricultural Commissioner Carlos Ortiz presents Eric Natwick a plaque on behalf of the Board of Supervisors.
After a long and distinguished career with the UC Cooperative Extension office in Imperial County, entomologist Eric Natwick has decided to hang up his insect net. Natwick graduated from the University of Wyoming in 1980 and began work with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in their insect lab in Tucson, Ariz. On July 1, 1981 he moved to the Imperial Valley where he joined the UCCE Imperial County office as the entomology advisor.

Since then, he has been a critical resource for pest management needs in field crops, alfalfa and vegetables. Besides alfalfa, his main focus has been on cotton, cole crops, lettuce, melons, onions and bell peppers. His most recent work has been working to spot and send out important information to growers and pest control advisers (PCAs) on the potentially devastating sugarcane aphid. Some of his other important projects include whitefly host plant resistance in cotton, insecticidal control of cotton pests and whitefly control in melons, and the tomato yellow leaf curly virus, a disease that threatens both commercial tomato production fields as well as home gardens.

Back in the 1990s, Natwick's work and research on the pink bollworm, which was invading the region's cotton fields, was instrumental in changing growers' practices by restricting cotton planting and terminating dates. The pink bollworm is no longer as severe a pest as it once was.

He has also put in an enormous amount of work into combatting the sweetpotato whitefly, for which he has been recognized locally, statewide and nationally. He worked on pesticide evaluations for short-term control of the pest and tested alfalfa varieties for whitefly resistance. Natwick also helped develop an alfalfa irrigation management strategy to reduce whitefly numbers.

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie presents to Natwick a plaque recognizing 35 years of contributions to UC.
During his time at UCCE Imperial County, Natwick's expertise in entomology was sought out all over the world. He has given presentations and provided consulting to more than 25 countries, including Australia, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and most recently Spain. In 1994, he received a distinguished service award as outstanding research advisor.

Former UCCE Imperial County director Khaled Bali said, “Eric has always been a hard worker and is one of the top one percent of advisors in having achieved the highest step (Step 9) in the UC system six years ago.”

Another former colleague, Michael Rethwisch of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln said, “It takes a special person to be a successful low-desert cooperative extension entomology advisor. It takes grit, perseverance, self-motivation, leadership and an expert eye for new insect pests and resulting challenges when diseases are involved. Eric, you not only survived, but thrived!”

UCCE Imperial County director Oli Bachie said, “Because of his great knowledge, Eric has been our ‘go-to' person for our new advisors when they had questions or needed ideas. I can say that Eric has been a great artist of research in the field of entomology whose position will not easily be filled.”

In addition to his research, Natwick served two terms on the Holtville City Council, was mayor in 1988-89 and was director of UCCE Imperial County for five years. He has also done extensive mission work internationally.

Natwick was recently honored at a retirement party. About 70 of his colleagues, friends and employees turned out to say thanks for his years of service. He and his wife, Lisa, recently moved to Cedar City, Utah, where they plan to enjoy their “golden years”.

This article was published in the Imperial Valley Press on July 6, 2017.

Posted on Thursday, July 6, 2017 at 10:29 AM
  • Author: Trish Burich-McNeece
 
E-mail
 
Webmaster Email: jewarnert@ucanr.edu