Posts Tagged: Farm Bill
UC ANR shares research highlights at World Ag Expo
Along with over 1,200 exhibitors, UC ANR participated in the World Ag Expo held in Tulare on Feb. 14–16. This annual event attracts visitors from across the world to see the latest agricultural technology and advancements. This year's event had the highest attendance in 10 years, with 108,233 visitors coming to learn about the latest innovations in agriculture. This provided UC ANR with a unique opportunity to showcase work being done throughout our organization and share our research with a wider audience.
At the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture's Farm Bill Listening Session on Feb. 14, Kambree, a member of the Oakdale 4-H Club in Tulare County, led the Pledge of Allegiance. During the comment session, Vice President Glenda Humiston thanked House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the other representatives for supporting agricultural research. She urged Congress to invest in agricultural research facilities and technology that would benefit both large and small farms, to redefine “rural” to improve resource allocation, and to provide equitable programs for farmers using leased land.
World Ag Expo seminars provided opportunities for UC Cooperative Extension specialists to share their valuable research with other academics and industry professionals. Golden State Dairy Management hosted a series of three seminars throughout the expo: Animal Management & Health, Feeds & Feeding, Focus on Management Practices and Tools for Antimicrobial Stewardship.
Speakers from UC ANR included Alec Gerry, UCCE veterinary entomology specialist based at UC Riverside; Betsy Karle, UCCE Glenn County director and dairy advisor; Noelia Silva Del Rio, UC Davis veterinary medicine extension specialist based in Tulare; Jackie Atim, UCCE abiotic stress specialist based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center; Nicholas Clark, UCCE farm advisor for Kings County; Jennifer Heguy, UCCE director and dairy farm advisor for Stanislaus County; Randi Black, UCCE dairy advisor for Sonoma, Marin and Mendocino counties; Emmanuel Okello, UCCE antimicrobial stewardship assistant specialist based at UC Davis; and Alda Pires, UCCE associate specialist and associate agronomist in AES at UC Davis.
At the exhibitor booths, visitors engaged with UC ANR professionals through various displays and informational handouts. The Lindcove Research and Extension Center provided attendees with Tango mandarins and displayed citrus varieties, including buddha's hand and lemons with pink flesh. Kearney REC-based researchers Andreas Westphal and Atim were available to answer questions about nematodes and sorghum, respectively. Brady Holder promoted the Nitrogen and Irrigation Initiative and demonstrated the use of tensiometers and flowmeters.
Additionally, UC Master Gardener volunteers gave away seeds and information for the diverse group of gardeners in attendance. Tapan Pathak, UCCE climate adaptation specialist based at UC Merced, promoted his risk-management program CalAgroClimate, encouraging growers to use its crop-specific weather data tools to help make decisions. 4-H members from Fresno County answered questions about the program and showcased their project samples. Terri White and Lucie Cahierre of The VINE exhibited their robot to promote the Farm Robotics Challenge.
The local UCCE nutrition education team also greeted booth visitors. Irene Padasas, UCCE community nutrition and health advisor for Tulare, Kings, Madera and Fresno counties; Mariana Lopez, Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) nutrition educator for Tulare County; and Elia Escalante, Marina Aguilera and Alyssabeth Navarro – all CalFresh Healthy Living, UCCE nutrition educators for Tulare County – provided information about health and nutrition.
Terri Gonzalez, business manager, and Julie Pedraza, staff research associate, of Kearney REC coordinated logistics for the booth.
Next year, the World Ag Expo will be held Feb. 13-15.
Humiston speaks to House Ag Committee on value of agricultural research
“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.
“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.
CNR hosts Farm Bill discussion April 5
The US Farm Bill: What’s at Stake?
A panel discussion, “The United States Farm Bill: What’s at Stake?” at the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley, state and national experts will give their own prescriptions for making the bill, coming up for renewal by 2012, as effective and relevant as possible in addressing current food security and agriculture issues.
Michael Pollan, Omnivore’s Dilemma author, John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Journalism and director of the Knight Program in Science and Environmental Journalism, UC Berkeley
Karen Ross, Secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture
Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group
Patricia Crawford, Director of the Atkins Center for Weight and Health and Adjunct Professor, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
Gordon Rausser (moderator): Robert Gordon Sproul Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley
6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Thursday, April 5
Wheeler Auditorium, UC Berkeley (see map for directions). The discussion will be videotaped and posted later here.
This is a free, public event, but tickets are required for admission. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Free tickets are available at the Wheeler Auditorium Box Office at 5 p.m. on the day of the event. Doors open at 6 p.m. We recommend arriving early as the event is expected to be popular.
DETAILS: Congressional hearings have already begun on the US Farm Bill as its five-year cycle closes in 2012. In light of the approaching renewal and the bill’s significant impact on what Americans eat and how we farm, UC Berkeley faculty and experts from the Environmental Working Group and the California Department of Food and Agriculture will give their perspectives on the broad question of what is at stake in the new bill.
Speakers will address specific issues related to the federal food stamp program, which accounts for at least 75 percent of the total farm bill spending; crop subsidies; support for organic farming and regulation; food safety and security; and more.
The panel discussion is presented by the College of Natural Resources’ Spring 2012 Horace M. Alright Lecture in Conservation.
This discussion will be recorded and available at http://nature.berkeley.edu/site/albright.php after the event.
A link to online event information can be found here.