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Posts Tagged: Anne Megaro

Advocacy is about building relationships

UCCE farm advisor Margaret Lloyd, in plaid shirt, led Debbie Thompson, Sacramento County deputy ag commissioner, and Assemblymember Jim Cooper on a tour to meet Mien strawberry growers she works with.
Most Californians do not live near a UC campus and therefore do not know that UC is present in their communities. We need to make all Californians aware that UC ANR is the local UC connection, delivering a variety of programs, services and research that builds and supports the local community. 

How do you achieve this? Communicate with all audiences throughout the year, not just during times of need. This helps form relationships as well as a deeper understanding of what it is that you do and how your work impacts the local community. This helps build a lasting relationship and a desire to support your research, programming, and services.

Congressman Jim Costa tweeted about his visit with UCCE and 4-H in Merced County
Many of our stakeholders know us through one program. By educating them about how our programs and academics work together – such as Master Gardener volunteers extending UC IPM information to the public or scientists with complementary expertise working together to address issues – people gain an appreciation for the value of UC ANR as a whole, not just individual programs. It's an impressive value proposition and it makes a difference in the lives of all Californians.

How should you educate elected officials?

As university employees, we may indicate our needs and ask for support with many audiences (e.g. funding organizations, boards of supervisors, donors, etc.) but we must take into consideration other factors when talking to elected state or federal officials or their staff members. 

We can, and should, educate and inform elected state and federal officials and their staff of the work UC ANR does in their districts. However, we cannot take positions on bills or ask for budgetary support without the expressed consent from the UC Office of the President. Only the regents, who have delegated authority to President Napolitano, can determine UC's official position on legislative issues.

So, what can you do if you can't ask for money? 

Share the impact of your work. Be specific! Tell a story and use UC ANR's public value statements to guide you. Sometimes a personal story about an individual who benefited from your work is easier to remember, and more moving, than total program impact to an entire community. For example, talk about your work solving a problem with a specific farmer and how it improved their bottom line, share a 4-H youth project, talk about working with a specific community partner and describe how you worked together to achieve a shared goal. Did you promote economic prosperity, develop a qualified workforce, or promote healthy people and communities? Did your partners save money? Did more 4-H youth go to college? Did participants lead healthier lives?

If we fine-tune the way we message our story and impacts, we can ensure that UC ANR will become widely known as the face of UC in communities throughout California.

For more information, see my one-pager at http://ucanr.edu/sites/Professional_Development/files/293044.pdf. Feel free to contact me at (530) 750-1218 or ammegaro@ucanr.edu.

 

 

 

Posted on Thursday, August 29, 2019 at 12:16 PM
  • Author: Anne Megaro, Government and Community Relations director

Farm Bureau celebrates centennial at Capitol

Assemblymember Adam Gray of Merced, who grew up working at his parents’ dairy, met the farm advisors.

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources joined in the California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial Celebration at the State Capitol on June 26.

State legislators visited booths where county farm bureaus displayed products from local growers and ranchers and discussed the benefits of agriculture in their county.

“We love Cooperative Extension!” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross exclaimed when she saw Jim Farrar and Katherine Jarvis-Shean talking with Jenny Lester Moffitt, CDFA undersecretary.

Sarah Light got to meet her Assembly representative James Gallagher of Yuba City.
UC ANR was represented by Jim Farrar, UC IPM director; Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta crops advisor for San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; Sarah Light, UCCE agronomy advisor for Sutter-Yuba and Colusa counties and Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UCCE orchard systems advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. They answered questions about pest management and crop production and discussed their research and outreach.

4-H volunteer Julie Farnham and Nicole Jansen and members of the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club brought a small petting zoo consisting of three dairy calves and two exotic sheep and talked with legislators about the benefits of participating in 4-H.

“The California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial at the Capitol was a great opportunity to talk with legislators about how UC is present in their districts and helping their constituents,” said Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, who coordinated ANR's participation in the event.

UC Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Farm Bureau for more than a century. As UC Cooperative Extension was being organized in 1913, UC leaders required each county government that wanted to participate in the partnership to allocate funding to help support extension work in that community. It was also required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a “farm bureau” to help guide the UCCE farm advisor on the local agriculture issues. These grassroots groups later evolved into the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Assemblymember Devon Mathis of Visalia welcomed the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club members and their livestock.

Michelle Leinfelder-Miles and Anne Megaro greeted Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman of Stockton.
Assemblymember Jim Cooper of Elk Grove chatted with 4-Hers about their calves and the woolly Navajo churro sheep before meeting the farm advisors.
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton had some questions for the farm advisors.
State senator Bob Wieckowski of Fremont talked with 4-Hers about raising dairy cows.
Assemblymember Steven Choi of Irvine, whose district includes South Coast Research and Extension Center, visited with Megaro and the UCCE farm advisors.
State senator Jim Nielsen of Tehama greeted Leinfelder-Miles and Jarvis-Shean.

UCCE Riverside County funding goes from zero to zero cuts

More than 100 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, nutrition course participants and other UCCE stakeholders attended a meeting to tell the Riverside County Board of Supervisors how they have personally benefited from UC ANR research and outreach.

In May, Eta Takele, UCCE Riverside County director, was told to expect to receive no funding from the county in light of a budget shortfall in revenue. She and her UCCE staff and academics relayed the shocking news to their Riverside County clientele, and many asked how they could help.

In early June, more than 100 4-H members, 4-H volunteers, Master Gardener volunteers, farmers, nutrition course participants and other UCCE stakeholders attended a meeting to tell the Riverside County Board of Supervisors how they have personally benefited from UC ANR research and outreach and urged them not to cut UC Cooperative Extension funds.

Despite the need to make budget cuts, the Board of Supervisors agreed to maintain their contribution to UCCE and talked of expanding support later as an investment in the people of Riverside County.

In a recording of the board meeting, public comment begins at 18:30. Starting at 1:17:45, Supervisor Chuck Washington makes a motion to not cut UCCE programs, but find savings in lease expenses.

“Many, many thanks are due to a tremendous number of supporters who took the time to reach out to Supervisors and share their stories,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president, who attended the board meeting with Takele. “Jeffries commented that the public participation in the meeting far exceeded his expectations.”

A 4-H member who traveled nearly three hours from her home in Blythe to testify about the benefits of the 4-H program at the hearing told the supervisors, “It definitely saved me from getting into trouble.”

In “As Riverside County ponders spending cuts, public outcry saves 4-H, Master Gardeners,” the Press-Enterprise quoted Supervisor Jeff Hewitt: “'I think if we get this financially fit, why aren't we helping expand these programs?' Hewitt said to cheers.”

“This experience shows that our programs touch peoples' lives and there is strong support for UC Cooperative Extension in Riverside County,” said Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. If you have questions about outreach to elected officials, please contact Megaro at ammegaro@ucanr.edu or (530) 750-1218.

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

Federal Report Snapshot highlights ANR accomplishments

Each spring, the UC ANR Office of Program Planning and Evaluation (PPE) compiles and submits a report to our federal funding partner, USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). In August, NIFA approved UC ANR's 2017 report.

A snapshot of the 2017 UC ANR Federal Report is available at the following link: https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning. The snapshot highlights several dozen examples of research and extension occurring in each Strategic Initiative and in the field of sustainable energy.  The Federal Report Snapshot can be shared with stakeholders and potential donors to help them better understand the breadth of projects and range of impacts that occur throughout ANR in a given year. 

The full report that was submitted to NIFA captures the annual activities, outputs, and outcomes that occur throughout ANR as a result of NIFA funding on campuses, in counties and at the research and extension centers. 

Information for the report comes from submissions entered in REEport, DANRIS-X (now replaced by Project Board for FY 2018 and on), and UC Delivers. Content experts identify the most significant research highlights and write the program area narrative summaries. This year we want to thank Chris Greer, Cheryl Wilen, Keith Nathaniel, John Harper, Doug Parker and Jeff Dahlberg. Because the report is thorough and lengthy, PPE has created this condensed snapshot, which is drafted with input from Communications Services. 

Both the snapshot and full report are available at https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Planning.

 

 

 

Posted on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 7:23 PM
  • Author: Jennifer Caron-Sale

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