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Posts Tagged: August 2022

Humiston visits UCCE in San Diego County

Glenda Humiston, right, toured UCCE San Diego research projects on Aug. 3..

Vice President Glenda Humiston visited San Diego County on Aug. 3. The day started with UC Cooperative Extension San Diego advisors and staff introducing themselves and County Director Oli Bachie briefing Humiston on San Diego County agriculture, current programs and new UCCE positions to be filled soon. Bachie also highlighted some of the constraints UCCE San Diego faces implementing research and extension programs, and voiced the need for expanded facilities.

Following Bachie's briefing, Humiston interacted with the advisors and staff. She spoke about current funding opportunities for UC ANR, employee salary equities, and the need to communicate with local elected officials and stakeholders about the role of UCCE and the value it provides to the community. Over a light lunch, Humiston entertained questions from advisors and staff – ranging from her vision for the future of UC ANR to the path she took to become VP.  At the conclusion of lunch, Bachie and other UCCE advisors and staff led Humiston on a field tour so she could meet UCCE collaborators and see firsthand some of the agricultural production in San Diego County.

Ali Montazar, right, described his research on water use and efficiency in avocados to Humiston, Eric Middleton and Oli Bachie.

The tour started with a visit to an avocado grove in Escondido where Ali Montazar, a cross-county UCCE advisor for irrigation and water management, has an active research project. Montazar's project addresses water use and efficiency in avocado, one of the primary crops grown in San Diego County and much of Southern California. Although the steep and hilly terrain made accessing the site difficult, this stop provided an excellent opportunity to showcase the research and extension activities of the county and cross-county advisors.

Humiston and Bachie toured the Center for Applied Horticultural Research, the growing and research facilities of Ken Altman.

At the next stop, Humiston had the chance to visit Ken Altman, the largest horticultural producer in the country, at the Center for Applied Horticultural Research in Vista. During the visit, Altman briefed Humiston about his nursery and the extent of his business. Altman grows a large variety of nursery crops for indoor and landscape purposes, and employs over 6,000 people all over the country. Altman also spoke about the facilities at CfAHR and his willingness to offer research and laboratory space for use by UCCE San Diego. A long-time collaborator with UCCE, Altman expressed his commitment to support UC ANR's research needs and described the benefits he sees from UCCE partnering with local producers. While the laboratory at CfAHR is currently unused, Altman reiterated his desire to share the space with any interested UCCE San Diego advisors. Humiston and Bachie thanked Altman for his generous offer of support and facilities.

Nurseryman Ken Altman, left, offered UCCE San Diego research and laboratory space at CfAHR.

At the San Diego County Farm Bureau headquarters in Escondido, Humiston met with its president, Mary Matava, and discussed the importance of Farm Bureau as both collaborator and clientele, and the importance of keeping good relationships with the local UCCE office. Both reiterated the mutual benefits that come from a strong working relationship between UCCE and Farm Bureau. They also discussed UCCE San Diego's office lease, and the need for facilities that satisfy the requirements of the UCCE office, such as storage, laboratory, greenhouse and commercial standard kitchen space.

“Regardless of whether UCCE San Diego continues to lease the Farm Bureau offices, UCCE San Diego will show its presence and visibility at the Farm Bureau building at least on a rotational basis and will continue to collaborate with the important partner that is Farm Bureau,” Bachie said. 

The group met with Mary Matava, left, president of the San Diego County Farm Bureau, to discuss the value of collaboration.

The final stop was at Escondido City Hall for a brief tour guided by Jennifer Schoeneck, deputy director of economic development for the City of Escondido. Also in attendance were leaders from nearby community colleges. Schoeneck provided detailed information on a currently unused warehouse facility that the city intends to remodel and retrofit so it can be used as an agricultural hub. Various agricultural technology companies, universities and colleges would use the space together to conduct research, teach and support agriculture within San Diego County. Humiston expressed her appreciation for the potential of the center and said that UC ANR will look at opportunities to collaborate with the city to develop the facility into a broad-spectrum agricultural hub.

Throughout the field tour Humiston was accompanied by Eric Middleton, UCCE integrated pest management advisor; Chandra Richards, agricultural land acquisitions academic coordinator; Robert Padilla, digital media specialist; Jan Gonzales, project coordinator and community education supervisor; Shirley Salado, EFNEP community education supervisor; Lea Corkidi, staff research associate; and Sue Lake, administrative officer.

By the end of the visit, Humiston and the group had gained a deeper understanding of UCCE San Diego programs, projects, challenges and opportunities.

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 2:12 PM
  • Author: Oli Bachie
  • Author: Eric Middleton

Save the date for UC ANR statewide conference on April 24–27

The 2023 UC ANR statewide conference will be held in Fresno. Fresno County is the top agricultural producer in the nation.

The 2023 UC ANR statewide conference will be held on April 24–27 at the Fresno DoubleTree and Fresno Convention Center in Fresno. Please mark your calendars and plan to join your UC ANR colleagues. 

For the first time since 2018, ANR academics and staff from across the state will gather to share best practices on how to elevate and amplify their research, extension and education efforts.

The conference is also the official kickoff to UC ANR's 2025-2040 visioning process. We will begin identifying the challenges facing California and set a course detailing how we can more effectively address them over 15 years. 

For more information, please visit the conference website at https://ucanr.edu/sites/statewideconference2023.

If you would like to propose a presentation, fill out the request form at https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=38880. All suggestions will be evaluated by the Learning & Poster Session Committee.  

For more information, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/statewideconference2023.

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2022 at 8:43 AM

UC ANR celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15-Oct. 15

Hispanic Heritage Month 2022

Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 through Oct.15 and Ricardo Vela, manager of UC ANR News & Information Outreach in Spanish, has planned educational activities for colleagues and friends to attend throughout the month.

Each year, UC ANR celebrates the culture and contributions of people whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. Latinos comprise 40% of California's population and a growing portion of UC ANR's clientele. Our Latinx colleagues help to customize UC ANR's outreach for the Latino community, from immigrants to native-born citizens.

To start the celebration, the newly formed Latinx & Friends Affinity Group will meet for the first time on Sept. 21. To register, visit https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=38886.

“UC ANR is giving us this fantastic opportunity to share our stories of struggle, success and dreams within a safe space,” Vela said. “This space is open to all of us who are Latinx/Hispanic or of Latinx/Hispanic descent, allies and friends to discuss the many cultural identities.”

“First Time Home” is a documentary produced by American children of farmworkers that offers a look into what life is like for farmworker families.

The September events will be held via Zoom for UC ANR colleagues:

Jose Pablo Ortiz-Partida
Wednesday, Sept. 21, 12-1:30 p.m. First meeting of Latinx & Friends Affinity Group (45 minutes) and screening of the short film “First Time Home” about four cousins who travel from their Triqui immigrant community in California to their ancestral village in Mexico for the first time. (45 minutes)

Wednesday, Sept. 28, 12-1 p.m. Jose Pablo Ortiz-Partida will discuss the results of an environmental justice study he conducted in the San Joaquin Valley. Ortiz-Partida is a senior water and climate scientist for the Climate & Energy program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

Susana Matias
Register for the Hispanic Heritage Month employee events at https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=39023.

Events scheduled for October will be conducted in Spanish and open to the public on Facebook Live:

Wednesday, Oct. 5, 1-2 p.m. – Susana Matias, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Toxicology at Berkeley, will discuss healthy living, obesity and breastfeeding.

Magda Argueta
Wednesday, Oct. 12, 1-2 p.m. – Magda Argueta, UC ANR's Global Food Initiative Fellow and UC Riverside doctoral candidate, will discuss ancient Mayan pollinating practices with stingless bees.

Samuel Sandoval Solis
Thursday, Oct. 13, 1-2 p.m. – Samuel Sandoval Solis, UC Davis assistant professor and Cooperative Extension specialist in water resources, will discuss climate change effects. What can we do? What is UC ANR already doing?

 

 

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 8:59 PM

Electric tractors reduce carbon emissions at research and extension centers

At LIndcove REC, an electric tractor mixes soil for planting trees in the greenhouse.

 

Zero-emission tractors perform many tasks of diesel tractors, without noise or exhaust

The University of California, a national leader in sustainability, has pledged to become carbon neutral by 2025. To reduce its reliance on fossil fuels, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources has replaced several of its diesel-powered tractors with electric tractors at its research and extension centers.

Seven of the nine UC research and extension centers – Intermountain located in Siskiyou County, Hopland in Mendocino County, Kearney and West Side in Fresno County, Lindcove in Tulare County, Desert in Imperial County and Hansen in Ventura County – started using the  Solectrac e25 in July. The researchers plan to share what they learn from using the electric tractors. 

“Charging is easy, we are using a standard 110V connection, no charging station needed,” said John Bailey, director of the University of California Hopland Research and Extension Center. “For faster charging, you can use a 220V connection – again, no charging station needed, just a regular receptacle – but we haven't gone there yet.” 

The electric tractor runs for about five hours, depending on the type of use and the speed, on a charge. 

“We will use the electric tractor to mix the soil for planting trees in the greenhouse,” said Ashraf El-kereamy, director of UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center in Exeter, which focuses on citrus research. “Also, for pulling the trailer with the fruit bins during harvest, it will be good as it does not emit any gases.”

The electric tractor is being used to move materials in the loader at UC Hopland REC. “It has worked well for this, functioning similarly to a standard diesel tractor,” said Bailey.

“We have also used it to clean our sheep barn, scraping the pens to get ready for lambing season,” Bailey said. “This involves pushing or dragging straw bedding and manure. The tractor functions well in tight spaces due to its compact size.” 

Bailey learned one downside is that the front end is a little too light, making it difficult to generate enough downward pressure with the loader to effectively scrape the floor without reducing the front wheel traction.

“We are planning to add some weight to the front, a standard practice with tractors to increase traction. The tractor has the mounting to enable this so it should not be a big deal,” Bailey said. “Our operators really appreciate the lack of noise and exhaust, especially when working in the barn or in tight spaces.”

“The tractor is quiet, powerful for its size and operates very similar to the diesel-powered tractors with regard to the controls, hydraulics and three-point assembly," said Rob Wilson.

The small electric tractor is also being used in tight places at the UC Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake.

“The tractor that we obtained from the company is too small for the majority of our farm needs,” said Rob Wilson, Intermountain REC director. “We purchased a small box scraper and rototiller for the tractor and we are using it around our facility grounds. We also use it out in the field in tight spaces that are too small for our larger tractors to operate.”  

“The tractor is quiet, powerful for its size and operates very similar to the diesel-powered tractors with regard to the controls, hydraulics and three-point assembly. The tractor also has a lot of torque and speed.”

Annemiek Schilder, director of UC Hansen Agricultural REC, added, “I think another advantage is that the tractors can go very slowly, which is helpful for some uses such as harvesting.”

Kearney, or KARE, will be using its electric tractor to mow and rototill in smaller, narrow blocks and will use the front loader to move and apply mulch and soil mixtures.

“We will use it around buildings because it's quiet and doesn't emit any gas,” said Vincent Silva, Kearney's superintendent of agriculture. “The main issue I have with the electric tractor is with it being so quiet, it may not allow us to hear any problems."

The researchers will continue to evaluate the electric tractors throughout the year.

“Our main usage will come in the spring, mowing around our headquarters and on roadsides,” Bailey said. “We are purchasing a 4-foot flail mower that can mount to the rear PTO, but won't really put it into use until April.” The power take-off, or PTO, is the shaft that transfers power from the tractor to the attachment.

Other benefits of electric tractors include no engine oil to change and no diesel fuel.

“If the farmer already has solar, they will see close to zero fuel charges,” Bailey added. “Even without solar, their fuel costs should be reduced depending on local electrical cost. Also, the engine only has one moving part compared to dozens in a diesel tractor so maintenance costs should be reduced significantly, something that is proving true in electric cars.”

The Solectrac e25 tractors each cost $27,999 and the optional loader was about $4,000. 

The California Air Resources Board is offering incentives to buy zero-emission equipment through its Funding Agricultural Replacement Measures for Emission Reductions Program. FARMER provides funding through local air districts for agricultural harvesting equipment, heavy-duty trucks, agricultural pump engines, tractors and other equipment used in agricultural operations.

 

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 3:11 PM

See demonstration of Natural Climate Solutions Toolbox Sept. 29

Safeeq Khan, shown at French Meadows in the Tahoe National Forest, and his colleagues at the Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions will show how the data and decision support tools in their Natural Climate Solutions Toolbox can be used to plan restoration and fuel reduction projects.

The Center for Ecosystem Climate Solutions is launching its Natural Climate Solutions Toolbox.  The comprehensive suite of data and decision support tools are designed to aid UC Cooperative Extension academics, land managers, policymakers and scientists in adapting California wildland management for a changing climate. 

On Sept. 29, Safeeq Khan, UC Cooperative Extension specialist and adjunct professor at UC Merced, Toby O'Geen, professor and UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Davis, and Mike Goulden, professor at UC Irvine, will demonstrate the Natural Climate Solutions Toolbox for UC ANR and other UC academics who are interested in climate change, wildfire and land management in range and forest lands. They will explain how the toolbox can be used to address clientele needs.

The demonstration and product launch will be held via Zoom from 9:30 to 11 a.m. on Sept. 29. To register, visit https://surveys.ucanr.edu/survey.cfm?surveynumber=37843.

All UC ANR and UC academics, nongovernmental organization representatives and related colleagues interested in climate change, wildfire and land management in range and forestlands are invited. 

The NCS Toolbox is useful for a variety of goals, including habitat restoration, reducing wildfire severity, projecting impacts of disturbance or management on water and carbon, and valuing benefits of management. This one-stop-shop data hub includes metrics of management history, vegetation, carbon balance, water, fire, fuels and more. 

In the demonstration, the CECS team will walk through the decision support tools and extensive data available in the toolbox and discuss how they may be used in exploring impacts of historical and future disturbance and management on a range of metrics, or planning and assessment of new fuel reduction and restoration projects.

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2022 at 1:16 PM

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