Posts Tagged: May 2017
A 36-year career in science led UC Cooperative Extension Integrated Pest Management advisor Pete Goodell to a gratifying conclusion. He found that technical pest management skills are critical, but it's the people skills he has developed over time that were key to bringing about change.
Goodell retires June 30 from what he described as a fulfilling and challenging career that he entered by pure happenstance. His role as a researcher, leader and teacher turned out to be the perfect profession for someone with his interests, skills and passion.
Unable to find a job in forestry after completing an ecology degree at California State University, San Francisco, Goodell answered an ad he saw on a UC Berkeley bulletin board seeking staff to collect insect samples in a hot Los Baños cotton field.
“It wasn't what I wanted, but it got me outdoors and it was very satisfying,” Goodell said. “I was able to use a lot of what I learned in field biology at San Francisco State.”
The job opened the door into the world of agricultural entomology, a scientific field that impacts the most basic of human endeavors, food production. Captivated by the opportunity to make a difference, Goodell continued his education at UC Riverside, where he studied nematology, entomology and plant pathology, earning masters' and doctorate degrees. Just as his education wound down in the early 1980s, there were rumblings in the California State Legislature about the implementation of new regulations aimed at reducing pesticide use.
Jim Farrar, director of the Statewide UC IPM Program, attributed a large part the program's success to Goodell's contributions.
“Pete delivered innovative IPM programs ranging from technical pest sampling strategies to the social science of how people learn and adopt new pest management techniques,” Farrar said.
In the early days, the program focused on producing IPM manuals for the crops that were the highest pesticide users. Teams were established to research, collect and deliver best practices for alfalfa, grapes, walnuts, almonds, rice, cotton, tomatoes and citrus pest management.
“In the UC IPM program we worked together across disciplines, so we got a lot done,” Goodell said.
Today a library of integrated pest management books, leaflets, training resources, websites and blogs deliver UC's best information on managing pests using safe and effective techniques and strategies that protect people and the environment.
The list of Goodell's accomplishments and awards is long. To name just a few, his efforts have been recognized with two Distinguished Service Awards from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists, and even being named by US News and World Report as one of the “Ten Most Indispensable Americans.”
One of the concepts that has defined his career is regional integrated pest management, which pushes the management of pests beyond the boundaries of individual farms.
“When you have a mobile insect, one farmer's decisions can impact the entire community,” Goodell said. “Working together, you can mitigate that problem.”
Goodell worked closely with farmers in the Tulare Lake basin to implement a regional IPM management system. Goodell brought together 10 growers, each managing several hundred thousand acres of farmland, to collaborate on the Lygus bug problem in cotton.
“Lygus bugs build up in safflower. When the safflower is harvested, all the bugs move into cotton and you have to spray pesticides,” Goodell said.
Safflower is an important part of the crop rotation system, so Goodell got the farmers together to decide on a management scheme.
“One acre of safflower can infest 10 acres of cotton. If you spray the safflower, you reduce the area sprayed by a factor of 10,” he said. “The growers all agreed to spray safflower on the same day, before the Lygus bugs get their wings and lay eggs. This reduced pesticide use considerably.”
The coordination was a complex process. “I was privileged to work with such a motivated and engaged community of farmers,” Goodell said.
The same kind of regional management was proposed for a group of growers near Firebaugh, but Goodell found it nearly impossible.
“In the Firebaugh area, numerous farmers with small fields and tremendous diversity of crops was an insurmountable challenge,” Goodell said. “But in the Tulare Lake basin, we showed that regional IPM can work. This is a model that can be used for other insect and disease problems in the future, such as Asian citrus psyllid and glassy winged sharpshooter.”
Goodell has applied for emeritus status to continue his work in collaborative entomology during retirement. He and his colleagues plan to bring together a diverse group of Californians to enhance understanding of pests, pesticides, and integrated pest management.
“We'll have farmers, pest control advisers, farmworkers, day care operators and managers of open areas like golf courses and public parks all in the same room,” Goodell said. “We want to understand where we need our research to be going, and how to bridge the gap between those who think all pesticides are bad and those who believe pesticides are critical to their businesses.”
In retirement, Goodell will also pursue his passion for the Great Outdoors. He plans to hike the John Muir Trail one segment at a time, and visit the National Parks in the western United States in style, by staying at historical lodges.
Getting reservations won't be a problem. “We have a very open calendar,” Goodell said.
The University will implement a merit-based salary increase program for policy-covered (nonrepresented) staff employees for the 2017-18 fiscal year. For ANR staff employees, the salary increase program will be effective July 1, 2017, for monthly paid employees and June 18, 2017, for biweekly paid employees.
Continuing the 2016-17 program, staff salary increases again will be related to the annual staff performance appraisal process. This is part of the ongoing UC-wide effort to move toward consistent delivery of pay programs that reward individuals for their performance and contribution.
Academic appointees can expect to receive information about this year's academic salary program in the coming weeks.
General questions about staff performance appraisals and the staff salary program can be directed to John Fox, Human Resources executive director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UC ANR has new online orientation guide
UC ANR has a new online orientation guide for new employees. It begins with a welcome video from VP Glenda Humiston and continues to a table of contents where new employees will find topics such as the ANR Mission and Vision, ANR Core Messages, History of ANR, ANR programs and unit overview videos, as well as personal responsibility, employee resources, and more. UC ANR continues to explore ways to orient our new employees beyond the annual New Employee Administrative and Programmatic Orientations.
UC Learning Center upgrade
Between July 7 and 14, the UC Learning Center website (lms.ucdavis.edu) will be down for an upgrade. Therefore, plan your compliance and other training with that schedule in mind. As new information is available from UCOP, we will send out a reminder announcement.
ANR employees still have access to Lynda.com. Therefore, disregard any messages you may have received stating that our subscription is over. If you have not already created a personal account, please go the ANR Portal and under “My Links” click on Lynda.com Learning. This month's learning module recommendations are “Delivering Employee Feedback” with Todd Dewett and “The Benefits of Project management” with Richard Harrington. Check them out!
MSAP provides people managers new awareness
Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP) at the UCLA Conference Center at Lake Arrowhead. The goal of MSAP is to address skill gaps and grow competencies that will prepare people managers for future opportunities in their UC workplaces.
During the four-day program, Jordan and Macias participated in simulated UC management scenarios, received behavioral feedback from assessors, attended a career development workshop, and connected with UC systemwide colleagues. Before they arrived, they participated in pre-assessment components and will be involved post-program activities to continue their professional development.
Macias remarked, “MSAP was an insightful experience. I have become more confident in my strengths and more self-aware of my development areas. I look forward to using the skills and information I learned, in my continued professional growth.”
Become an assessor and help ANR serve this UC systemwide initiative for upward mobility. Academics can add the assessor service to their merit and promotion package. For information on how to become an assessor, contact Jodi Azulai at email@example.com.
The next MSAP will be held Oct. 9-12, 2017. See the next article to apply.
CALL FOR ANR APPLICANTS: Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP)
If you or your people managers are ready for a leap in professional development, we encourage applying for the Management Skills Assessment Program (MSAP).
This program assesses the management skills of high-potential, early-career supervisors and managers for future leadership opportunities at the University of California. We strongly recommend discussing the program with supervisors and managers who exhibit potential for management development.
Applications are due July 10, 2017.
Eligibility requirements include:
- Full-time career status with a current, satisfactory (or better) performance evaluation
- Career Tracks job classification as a supervisor or manager
Participants will be selected based on an evaluation of the applicant's (1) career goals in management, (2) level of skills essential for performing management functions, and (3) demonstrated career path and/or strong commitment to management skill development.
ANR Learning & Development pays the $1,095 program fee plus transportation and other related travel costs.
What to expect:
- A demanding program with assessees in activities from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
- No time to check email or attend to work responsibilities.
- Eat with other assessees and share small condos.
Application instructions and further information about the program are at http://msap.ucr.edu. Choose UC ANR (not UC Davis) in the application.
A UC ANR committee will review all applications and make the final selection.Completed applications must be submitted online at http://msap.ucr.edu by Monday, July 10, 2017 (Remember the website will shut down between July 7 and 14 for upgrade). As supervisor, you will also have a required portion in the submission for application consideration and commit to participate in the required post-program activities.
For more information, contact Jodi Azulai, ANR Learning and Development coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANR Learning and Development
To position ANR as the premiere source of knowledge and science for agricultural and natural resources issues, it is vital that our people keep their knowledge and skills at peak performance. The ANR Learning and Development website offers an array of opportunities for employee learning and professional development that can help serve that goal. I strongly encourage employees to take full advantage of these resources as well as other opportunities to enhance their personal and professional growth. – Glenda Humiston, Vice President
Innovation is key to keeping California farmers globally competitive. On May 5, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Farm Bureau Federation, California Association of Resource Conservation Districts, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, UC Davis and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources signed a memorandum of understanding to better connect the state's farmers with each other and with science-based information sources to assure the sustainability of the state's agricultural systems.
The scarcity of water, fossil fuel use, carbon emissions, groundwater quality, labor cost and availability, air quality and loss of soil fertility are some of the challenges to the long-term viability of farming in California.
“What we are striving to accomplish with the California Farm Demonstration Network is to create a means for farmers to learn, to discover and to innovate,” said Jeff Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension cropping systems specialist, who is leading the effort.
The MOU was signed by Karen Ross, secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; Paul Wenger, president of the California Farm Bureau Federation; Ron Tjeerdema, associate dean of UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Karen Buhr, executive director of California Association of Resource Conservation Districts; Carlos Suarez, state conservationist for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service; and VP Glenda Humiston.
In Glenn County, the farmer-driven effort has provided the opportunity for local farmers to share innovative practices and hold honest discussions about opportunities and challenges related to these systems.
“The collaborative effort of the partners presents the opportunity to leverage resources based on local needs and increases the likelihood that innovative agricultural practices will be adopted sooner than they might have been without the networking opportunity,” said Betsy Karle, UC Cooperative Extension director in Glenn County.
With the California Farm Demonstration Network, the organizers hope to create more opportunities to connect local people, showcase existing farmer innovation, engage in new local demonstration evaluations of improved performance practices and systems, evaluate the demonstration practices, and share information with partners. They also hope to expand and connect other local farm-demonstration hubs throughout the state via educational events, video narratives and a web-based information portal.
Read more about the ceremony in Mitchell's blog post //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24054.
The day-long tour, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, began at a farm that is maintained to support wildlife in the breezy Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta region. The GFI fellows also viewed a habitat restoration project at LangeTwins Winery then watched freshly harvested cherries being processed at Morada Produce's packing plant. They wrapped up the day with a tour of a demonstration garden and a discussion of nutrition education at the UC Cooperative Extension office in Stockton.
UC President Janet Napolitano, who, along with UC's 10 chancellors, launched the Global Food Initiative in 2014, met with the 17 fellows for lunch at LangeTwins Winery.
“We started the Global Food Initiative several years ago with the goal of creating a pathway to a sustainable, nutritious food future for the planet. A small, modest goal,” Napolitano said, adding that she is excited to learn about the fellows' projects.
The GFI fellows are working on projects that range from raising awareness about food production to analyzing the effects of climate change on pollination, and from efforts to make soils safe for growing food in urban areas to using food waste to fuel batteries.
UC Merced senior Ever Serna's GFI project is to educate his fellow college students about where food comes from, before it gets to the grocery store.
“The tour gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation about how food is developed and grown,” he said. “I think when I eat vegetables and fruits, I'm going to be more conscious of what I eat now.”
Reid Johnsen, a third-year Ph.D. student in agricultural and resource economics at UC Berkeley, Global Food Initiative fellow for UC ANR, and participant in the Graduate Students in Extension program, is working with UC Cooperative Extension in Sonoma County to study ranchers' preferences for different payment structures for conservation easement to compensate them for the ecosystem services provided by their land.
“To be able to see agriculture in action makes such a difference to me, to see the way the crops are produced and the variety that's out here,” said Johnsen. “The diversity of crops was not something I was aware of before coming on this trip.”
“I thought it was interesting to see a lot of different agricultural production systems,” said UC Santa Barbara senior and campus GFI ambassador Bryn Daniel, who works with student activists on student food access and housing security issues.
In addition to learning more about food production, the outing gave the fellows an opportunity to network with peers from other campuses.
“That's what I liked about today's meeting, just meeting everybody and getting these fantastic connections,” said Ryan Dowdy, a third-year Ph.D. student at UC Davis who is converting food waste into energy-producing microbial fuel cells.
“I think this program, and especially the fellowship, is really important for young scientists who dive into this really huge subject of global food,” said Claudia Avila, a graduate student at UC Riverside who studies trace metals in urban agricultural soils.
Best kept secret
In welcoming the UC GFI fellows, Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said, “I have a feeling a lot of you aren't familiar with our division. As I travel around the state to different campuses, I keep being told that we're the best kept secret, which I personally do not think is a good thing."
She explained that agricultural research has been part of the University of California since the land-grant institution's beginning in 1868 in Oakland. UC ANR has researchers on the Berkeley, Davis and Riverside campuses and UC Cooperative Extension advisors in the county offices, she said, adding, “Here in California, our advisors have very robust research programs.”
Farms are wildlife habitat
Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UC Cooperative Extension delta crops advisor, and Brenna Aegerter, UCCE farm advisor in San Joaquin County, gave the fellows an overview of delta agriculture. Dawit Zeleke, associate director of conservation farms and ranches for The Nature Conservancy, explained why he farms 9,200 acres of corn, triticale, potatoes, alfalfa and irrigated pasture to enhance foraging habitat for sandhill cranes and other wildlife on Staten Island. The Nature Conservancy partners with UC Cooperative Extension along with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, California Department of Water Resources, Oregon State University, UC Merced and UC Davis to study the relationships between agriculture and natural resources.
The Pacific Flyway for migrating birds passes over the delta. “Eighty percent of waterfowl depend on agriculture for food,” Zeleke said. After wheat harvest, they flood the fields. “You should see it in September, October, November and December. Thousands of birds, ten thousand cranes use this place for habitat.”
Lodi region is zin-ful
En route to lunch, Paul Verdegaal, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for San Joaquin County, described the Lodi region's wine industry. There are about 750 growers, many of which are small family operations. While 10 to 15 acres used to be typical vineyard size, most have 100 acres to be sustainable and one family member works at an outside job.
“Agriculture is a tough job and there is no guaranteed income,” Verdegaal said.
About 40 percent of the zinfandel in California is grown in the Lodi region, but there are several wine grape varieties planted.
Pointing out the bus window to a vineyard interplanted with a crimson clover cover crop, Verdegaal said, “We do see interest in using as few chemicals as possible and using techniques of the integrated pest management program.”
After eating lunch at LangeTwins Winery in Acampo, the GFI fellows took a tour of the winery with the fourth- and fifth-generation owners, Randy Lange and Aaron Lange. The Langes are founding members of the Lodi Rules Program, which helps growers produce grapes and wines in a manner that is environmentally respectful, socially sensitive and economically sound. They pointed out an array of solar panels covering the grape press room that provide electricity. The Langes are planting native plants around the winery to reduce sedimentation, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat along the Mokelumne River.
Bing is king of cherries
When the GFI fellows visited at the end of April, sweet cherry harvest had just begun in Bakersfield area orchards, and cherries were being packed and shipped in San Joaquin County.
“Hemmed in by rain to the north and heat to the south, cherry season is only eight to 10 weeks long,” said Joe Grant, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for San Joaquin County.
“While the Bing variety is still the mainstay of the California cherry industry because of its excellent eating and shipping quality,” said Grant, “acreage of other high quality and earlier-maturing varieties has increased in recent years to lengthen the harvest season. But Bing is still king.” Asked about the effects of climate change on cherries, Grant explained that warmer temperatures are reducing the number of winter chilling hours, which cherries need.
The fellows saw the hand-picked fruit being processed for packing at Morada Produce, a family farm in Linden that also grows walnuts, peppers and onions.
“Keeping produce cold is key to maintaining quality,” said Scott Brown, Morada's production manager, as the fellows watched fresh, cold water rain down onto the freshly picked sweet cherries. The leaves and stems floating to the top were removed as the red clusters glided in the water to the cluster cutter, which gently separated the clusters into individual cherries. Gently conveyed through the plant in flowing water, the cherries were sorted by size and quality at the highly mechanized facility. Air ejectors spit out rejected fruit, so only 70 percent makes it into a packed box.
“Fruit picked on Monday is packed Tuesday, then shipped to Korea, Japan, Australia and other export markets to be eaten by Friday,” Brown said.
The fellows were fascinated to see the steps taken to ensure high-quality cherries are cooled, sorted and packaged for shipping to stores and consumers.
“It was just so much more complicated than I knew,” said Jess Gambel, a third-year Ph.D. student at UC San Diego who is studying the effects of climate change on bee pollination in squash plants.
As the bus drove past almond orchards, Brent Holtz, UC Cooperative Extension director and farm advisor in San Joaquin County, described his orchard project studying the effects of removing almond orchards by grinding whole trees and incorporating them into the soil before replanting.
The tour wrapped up at the UC Cooperative Extension office in Stockton, with a discussion about how UC CalFresh and the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program help low-income Californians attain adequate nutrition and food security, followed by a tour of the demonstration garden maintained by the UC Master Gardener Program volunteers.
“There are more pollutants in urban runoff than in ag runoff,” said Karrie Reid, UC Cooperative Extension landscape horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County. Reid described how she and the UC Master Gardeners work with home and community gardeners to reduce pesticide and water use, and noted that a Water Use Classification of Landscape Species plant list, based on UC research, is available to help gardeners choose landscape plants.
“As a soil scientist, I really appreciated the recurring emphasis on soils as the foundation for agriculture,” said a fourth-year Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley and GFI fellow with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “From talking with The Nature Conservancy farm operator about how they were conserving carbon in those soils and doing wetlands management to hearing about special properties of the sandy loam soil in this part of the county, and talking with the Master Gardener folks about soil contamination issues.”
This is the third class of GFI student fellows. The undergraduate and graduate student fellows, representing all 10 UC campuses plus UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have helped further UC's Global Food Initiative efforts to sustainably and nutritiously feed the world's growing population by working on food-related projects and raising awareness of this critical issue.