UC CARET delegates visit Congress in March
UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston led a delegation representing California to the annual joint meeting of the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) and the Administrative Heads Section (AHS) of the Association of Public & Land-grant Universities in Washington, D.C., March 1-4.
While they were in Washington, CARET delegates met with CaliforniaCongress members to discuss the specific impacts of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources in their districts and the importance of strong federal funding to support the programs, including Cooperative Extension, 4-H Youth Development, nutrition education, and the research and extension centers.
“CARET delegates provided first-hand testimony of UC ANR's impact on their own lives and businesses while UC ANR academics gave a boots-on-the-ground perspective of working in and among community members to build partnerships and deliver content and programming,” said Anne Megaro, UC ANR director of government and community relations.
Collectively, the group visited 36 congressional offices, including TJ Cox, Jim Costa, Jimmy Panetta and Mike Thompson.
CARET delegates – San Diego County nurseryman Mike Mellano, Humboldt County rancher Dina Moore, and Environmental Solutions Group managing partner Jean-Mari Peltier, – explained how their businesses and industries have benefited from UC ANR research and extension. Bill Frost, former UC ANR associate vice president and UCCE advisor emeritus, also served as a CARET delegate.
UCCE advisors Jhalendra Rijal and Marcel Horowitz, UCCE specialist Dan Sanchez and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC director Kamal Khaira were the academics who described their work. Associate Vice President Wendy Powers and Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff to the VP, also participated.
CARET delegates arrived back in California while the national response to COVID-19 was just developing. They have since reached out to the congressional delegation to share what UC ANR is doing to help communities under the changing circumstances. Specifically, UC ANR is converting educational materials into online formats so they are accessible for families and individuals sheltering in place. UC ANR is also looking to extend internet connectivity to UCCE county office parking lots in rural areas where broadband access is not available.
“All of the California congressmen and staff members were supportive of UC ANR, however given the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, funding priorities are changing rapidly,” Megaro said.