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Posts Tagged: Gabe Youtsey

Celebration Corner

Editor's note: This new monthly feature provides an opportunity to recognize UC ANR colleagues and teams. Send your shout-outs to

From left, Morgan Doran, Supervisor Angel Barajas, Rachael Long, Margaret Lloyd and Susan Ellsworth. Top row from left, Supervisors Jim Provenza, Lucas Frerichs and Oscar Villegas.

Long honored by Yolo County supervisors

Yolo County Supervisor Angel Barajas presented Rachael Long, emeritus UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor, with a resolution recognizing the valuable research she has contributed to Yolo County farmers over her 37-year UC ANR career. Supervisors Jim Provenza, Lucas Frerichs and Oscar Villegas joined Barajas in thanking Long for her service. Susan Ellsworth, UCCE Capitol Corridor director, and UCCE advisors Morgan Doran and Margaret Lloyd attended the ceremony on Sept. 26.

Read about Long's career at

Humiston receives Excellence in Leadership Award

Glenda Humiston, center, received the Excellence in Leadership Award at the Ag Innovation Annual Conference.

Vice President Glenda Humiston was honored with the 2023 Experiment Station Section Excellence in Leadership Award for the Western Region. The award is presented to leaders who personify the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the regional associations and ESS in achieving their missions and the Land-Grant ideal. 

The award, which was announced in April, was presented to Humiston on Sept. 26 at the Ag Innovation Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan. 

FIRA attracts more than 2,000 participants

UC ANR Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey and the team at The VINE did a phenomenal job partnering with Western Growers and Global Organization for Agricultural Robotics (GOFAR) to organize the second annual FIRA USA. More than 2,000 people attended the three-day event in Salinas. 

ANR celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

Kudos to the Latinos and Friends Affinity Group for organizing three fantastic virtual events for Hispanic Heritage Month. Ricardo Vela, Miguel Sanchez, Arianna Nava, Doralicia Garay, Angela Johnson, Adela Contreras and Lisa Rawleigh put together these wonderful learning opportunities that are recorded and available at

Bea Nobua-Behrmann
Nobua-Behrmann to discuss shothole borers on KLCS 

Bea Nobua-Behrmann, UC Cooperative Extension urban forestry and natural resources advisor for Los Angeles County, will be on an episode of Things Green with Nick Federoff. Nobua-Behrmann will talk about shothole borers and not moving firewood to prevent the spread of the pests. Her segment on the half-hour sustainable lifestyle show with a heavy emphasis on home, garden, ag, ranching and farming is scheduled to air on Oct. 21. You can watch it at 9 a.m. on Saturday on KLCS-TV 58 or see the simulcasts on Facebook and YouTube.  


Posted on Friday, September 29, 2023 at 8:03 AM

Central Valley agrifood initiative F3 receives major boost

From left: Central Valley Community Foundation President & CEO Ashley Swearengin, UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz, UC Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources Glenda Humiston, and UC Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom thank the Regents for approving the formation of F3 Innovate.

The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Initiative (F3) – of which UC ANR is an anchor institution – took a big step forward during the UC Regents meeting May 18.

The Regents unanimously approved the formation of F3 Innovate – a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit that will raise funds for the partnership initiative that also includes the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF), California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Merced and CSU Fresno.

Largely funded by a $65 million Build Back Better grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, F3 aims to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in agrifood technology, strengthen food systems, bolster local and regional economies, and bring greater prosperity to the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.

The new F3 Innovate nonprofit will focus on agrifood systems research and commercialization, services for micro-enterprises and small businesses in under-resourced communities, ag-tech innovation seed funding, and building a talent pipeline to sustain these efforts.

“This 501(c)(3) is critical to all of that, because it really lets us bring together the public and private partners, and ensures that broader stakeholder participation and benefit,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, during her presentation to the Regents (view recording of the meeting).

UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and CVCF President and CEO Ashley Swearengin also spoke passionately during the meeting about the need to form the nonprofit as a key connector and catalyst for the F3 initiative.

F3 – and the new F3 Innovate – will continue to take shape through the work of Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer; Josh Viers, associate dean for research of UC Merced's School of Engineering; and many other academics and staff across UC ANR and UC.

"Establishing F3 Innovate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is a strategic move designed to unlock and accelerate agriculture technology from lab to market. It will pave the way for a wider range of collaboration opportunities between the UC and industry, and ensure the inclusion and representation of all our stakeholders, from small and socially disadvantaged farmers to startups and corporates," said Youtsey, who is also founder of The VINE, UC ANR's Innovation & Entrepreneurship program that is co-leading F3.

"The UC Regents were enthusiastic about this partnership as it aligns perfectly with our mission of transforming cutting-edge agricultural research into practical, market-ready solutions while doing the hard work of engaging our local workers, communities and farmers to adopt these new technologies," Youtsey added. "It enables us to foster deep and meaningful collaborative relationships with industry partners, advancing technology commercialization that is inclusive and truly beneficial to all involved."

Posted on Thursday, June 1, 2023 at 10:42 AM
Tags: CDFA (2), Central Valley (1), collaboration (1), CSU (1), EDA (1), F3 (2), F3 Innovate (1), Fresno State (1), Gabe Youtsey (19), Regents (9), San Joaquin Valley (1), The VINE (4), UC Merced (2), UC Regents (3)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Economic Development, Food, Innovation

Growing food movement discussed at Food Tank Summit in San Diego

Sarah Mesnick of Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, left, and Gabe Youtsey discuss the role of technology in the food movement at the Food Tank Summit in San Diego.

“There's a massive interest in young people who want to be part of these issues about how one should think about food,” said Rachel Surls, discussing farming for a better food system on a panel with Jenny Ramirez of California Harvesters Inc., and Neil Nagata, president of the San Diego Farm Bureau.

Surls, a UC Cooperative Extension sustainable food systems advisor in Los Angeles County, and Gabriele Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer, joined more than 30 speakers and panelists from the food and agriculture world to discuss “Growing the Food Movement,” at Food Tank's inaugural summit in San Diego on Nov. 14. The event was co-sponsored by the Berry Good Food Foundation, UC ANR and the San Diego Bay Food and Wine Festival.

“We need to reintroduce this type of farming to them [young people]. Storytelling really makes a difference. A lot of them are disengaged and not a part of the conversation,” said Ramirez, who works to improve working conditions for farm workers.

Stressing importance of hearing farmers' voices, Nagata said, "If we don't have farmers, we don't have agriculture."

"I'm excited to be on the 'Farming for a Better Food System' panel, and hope to share how urban farms are strengthening local food systems,” Surls had said before the event. “They are often managed by nonprofit organizations with varied missions, from food justice to job training to youth development. It's exciting to see how these emerging projects around California and the U.S. get everyday Americans in cities and suburbs engaged with farming and food systems."

On the Science, Agriculture and Technology panel, Youtsey discussed how UC ANR and The VINE are working with entrepreneurs to accelerate innovation in rural communities.

Rose Hayden-Smith, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, who encouraged Food Tank to hold a summit in Southern California, live-tweeted the event for UC Food Observer.

The event was live-streamed and the video is archived on Food Tank's YouTube Channel.

FoodTank 2018 Summit
FoodTank 2018 Summit

Posted on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 11:03 AM

The VINE launches website, co-sponsors tech events

Gabe Youtsey announces The VINE website at FOOD IT.

Farmers, food entrepreneurs, researchers and technology professionals can now find the resources they need to build, launch and grow agricultural innovations at the VINE's new website at

UC ANR created the Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship, or the VINE, to accelerate the development and adoption of technologies that advance food, agriculture and natural resources in California. 

The new website features links to accelerators, educational resources and places to test products and services. It also lists upcoming events for innovators to meet and network with people who can help advance their businesses.

The VINE recently co-sponsored FOOD IT, attended by more than 300 people at UC San Francisco. Panelists discussed the “digital full stack solution” – the physical layer, data, application and user interface/user experience. In 15 small groups, participants took a deeper dive into topics, ranging from financing alternatives for food/ag tech to bio-informatics and gene editing tech. Read more in the VINE blog at

Workers at Kearney raise a tower to blanket the 330-acre research center with high-speed wireless internet. Photo by Julie Sievert

On July 9, the VINE invited technology companies and farmers to the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier to learn how the installation of a wifi tower will enable researchers to collect real-time data with access to high-speed wireless internet in the fields.

“The VINE brings together academia across UC, the Cal-State University system, and community colleges with innovators in technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, indoor agriculture and others,” said Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer. “We want to create rural testbeds to develop technology. UC ANR's research and extension centers are well set up to do that.”

The project grew from the partnership with the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) that brought ultra-fast (100Gbps) broadband capability to Kearney offices and laboratories two years ago. UC ANR collaborated with Orange Silicon Valley and BlueTown to extend the connectivity via wireless transmission to every corner of the research fields. Read more about the broadband expansion at

Youtsey and the VINE partner John Selep, president of AgTech Innovation Alliance, are seeking more partners with expertise across the business spectrum.

For more information about the VINE, visit its website

The VINE partner John Selep, left, joined Gabe Youtsey at a recent Grape Day at Oakville.
Posted on Friday, July 27, 2018 at 3:26 PM
Tags: Gabe Youtsey (19)

Names in the News

Gabriel Torres
Torres named grape advisor for Tulare and Kings counties

Gabriel Torres joined UCCE on Feb. 1, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Torres was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside developing an integrated pest management strategy for controlling the most prevalent nematode species in grape vineyards in California. Torres evaluated rootstock resistance, chemical and biological compounds, and anaerobic soil disinfestation methods. Torres conducted most of the nematode experiments under the supervision of UC Cooperative Extension specialist Andreas Westphal.

From 2014 to 2016, Torres was a leader of the plant pathology program for the Colombian Oil Palm Natural Research Centre (CENIPALMA) in Bogota, Colombia. There he developed and guided projects aimed at solving disease problems of the oil palm crop in Colombia, including bud rot, lethal wilt, and basal stem rot.

He completed a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.Sc. in agronomy from Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia.

Torres is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3316 and

Lund named grape advisor for Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties

Karl Lund

Karl Lund joined UCCE on Jan. 8, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Lund was a trial specialist at Syngenta Flower, where he designed and conducted floriculture research trials under both greenhouse and garden conditions for a wide variety of flowering plants, specifically focused on the development of fertilization recommendations and nutrient profiles. In 2016, Lund was a technology development representative at Monsanto, where he worked with seed distributors and local farmers to plant, maintain and evaluate pre-commercial varieties of lettuce, bell peppers and spinach.

Lund spent many years teaching and conducting research in viticulture. Starting in 2008, he worked in the laboratory of Andy Walker at UC Davis, where he ran a project looking at the phenotypic and genetic diversity of phylloxera in Northern California, and trying to understand the genetics of phylloxera resistance in hopes of breeding new phylloxera resistance rootstocks for California.  His research helped identify new feeding types of phylloxera in Northern California and connected those feeding types to genetic groups. He also identified new sources of broad phylloxera resistance to be used in breeding phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.

As a postdoc in the Walker lab, Lund looked at drought avoidance in grapevine rootstocks. Insights from this work may be useful in the creation of more drought-tolerant rootstocks. In addition to his research, he was a teaching assistant for several UC Davis classes. Lund wrote a book chapter on grapevine breeding in the western United States and lectured at Cal Poly SLO for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Lund completed a B.S. and a Ph.D. in genetics at UC Davis.

Based in Madera, Lund can be reached at (559) 675-7879, ext. 7205 and

Kansal joins CSIT as portfolio and project manager 

Namita Kansal

Namita Kansal recently joined the Communication Services and Information Technology as a portfolio and project manager. 

Some of the projects she is working on include assessing the network status of all UCCE sites in California to inform strategic decisions to fund and prioritize the UCCE sites that urgently need network upgrades, portfolio-level reports to inform strategic, operational and funding decisions for the Web IT team, a change management process for the entire IT team, and a project plan and funding estimates for the ANR website redesign.

Before joining ANR, Kansal was a project manager at the UC Davis School of Medicine, working to operationalize strategic initiatives, program development and project management.  

She earned a masters in public administration and a master in arts from Syracuse University. 

Kansal is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1207 and

Ali Pourreza
Pourreza wins ASABE Sunkist Young Designer Award

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has selected Ali Pourreza, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, to receive the Sunkist Young Designer Award.

This award recognizes and honors ASABE members under 40 years of age for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the agricultural engineering profession and to stimulate professional achievement.

Sponsored by Sunkist Growers, Inc., the Young Designer Award recognizes the development of a technical plan that influences agricultural engineering progress, as evidenced by use in the field.

Pourreza developed a polarized imaging technique to detect accumulation of starch in citrus leaves as an early indication of citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB).

“The polarized imaging technique was primarily used for early citrus greening detection, that is a major disease of citrus with no known cure,” said Pourreza. “Early detection of citrus greening is important because growers can prevent further spread of the disease before the entire orchard gets infected. The polarized imaging technique can also be used in other applications that involve the detection of starch or sugar.”

He also developed the Virtual Orchard, which uses aerial imagery and photogrammetry to create a 3-D image of an orchard.

“Knowledge about tree geometry such as individual canopy cover, volume, height and density is important for growers to understand variability within their orchard and make timely decisions about irrigation, nutrient, pest and disease, etc.,” Pourreza said. ”Virtual Orchard is an affordable technology that makes this information accessible for growers. Information extracted from the Virtual Orchard can be used to apply variable rate inputs in a site-specific manner according to the prescription maps that identify the application rate at different locations of an orchard.”

The award will be presented to Pourreza during the ASABE annual meeting in July in Detroit.

UC ANR receives award for extending high-speed broadband

Gabe Youtsey
The nonprofit organization CENIC has awardedUC ANR its 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. The award recognizes work to extend high-speed broadband to University of California researchers in rural communities across California by connecting UC ANR sites to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN),

Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer; Tolgay Kizilelma, chief information security officer; and Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations, were recognized as project leaders.

Tolgay Kizilelma
In 2016, CENIC began working with UC ANR to connect its nine research and extension centers to CalREN, equipping them with internet speeds comparable to those found on UC campuses. For example, the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County and the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Imperial County are both connected at 500 Mbps, five times their previous level of connectivity. 

“You can't do big data with dial-up internet speed,” said Jeffery Dahlberg, director of the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center. “Before this upgrade, our internet was slower than my home internet speeds. Now we have speeds more like you will find on UC campuses.”

Tu Tran
Due to the remote location of most of these facilities, the work involved in identifying suitable pathways for connections between each site and the CalREN network has been extensive. Engineers from CENIC and UC ANR collaborated on network design, deployment, and troubleshooting to equip these facilities with the high-speed internet they need.

In addition to the RECs, Highlander Hall, home to News and Information Outreach in Spanish and the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, is now connected to CalREN. Elkus Ranch (the environmental education center for Bay Area youths), the UC ANR building in Davis and 30 UC Cooperative Extension sites are in the process of being connected.

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 4:58 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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