Posts Tagged: Houston Wilson
Marino named UCCE orchard specialist
Giulia Marino joined UC ANR as a UCCE orchard systems specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis on Jan. 22, 2020.
Her research investigates tree physiology and its application to enhance productivity, sustainability and competitiveness of fruit orchard production systems in a changing global scenario.
Prior to joining UC ANR, Marino was a researcher in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis, where she studied pistachio water use and tree performance under saline-sodic conditions. Some of her current research projects investigate the physiology of pistachio nut growth and shell split as a function of crop load and temperature, the impact of boron, salinity and hypoxia on pistachio vegetative growth and the effect of dormancy breaking agents on carbohydrates dynamics in cherry.
She earned a Ph.D. in fruit and forestry tree systems and M.Sc. and B.S. in agricultural science, all from the University of Palermo in Italy.
Marino is based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wilson named presidential director for Organic Agriculture Institute
Houston Wilson has been named the Presidential Director for the University of California's Organic Agriculture Institute, which was established in January 2020 with a $500,000 endowment by Clif Bar and a matching $500,000 endowment from UC President Janet Napolitano.
Wilson, a UC Riverside agricultural entomologist based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, joined UC ANR as assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in 2017. He will launch the institute and chart a path for future growth while also focusing on immediate priorities such as a survey of organic production in California, multiple outreach and training opportunities for growers, publication of organic production guidelines, and developing research programs. Wilson's long-term goal is to continue to grow the endowment and position the organization to successfully support the state's growing organic farming economy.
“Organic growers in California face an array of interconnected agronomic, economic and regulatory challenges,” said Wilson. “Tackling these issues simultaneously requires a multidisciplinary approach to develop solutions that work in all scales of production. The economic opportunities are there, and we want to help position California growers to reap these benefits, and in doing so increase the supply of affordable organic food for consumers.”
See the full story at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=42592.
Feenstra named SAREP director
Gail Feenstra has been appointed director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP), effective July 1, 2020. Feenstra, who joined SAREP in 1989 and worked as the food systems coordinator, has been serving as acting director since October 2019, when Tom Tomich went on sabbatical.
Vice President Glenda Humiston announced her appointment as part of the move to bring SAREP back to ANR's direct oversight effective July 1, 2020.
“I am excited to be part of a stellar SAREP team working more closely with UC ANR colleagues and community partners on strengthening resiliency of regional food systems and supporting economic and social justice for all people – from farmers and farmworkers to food system workers to consumers,” Feenstra said.
Over the last 30 years, Feenstra has contributed to SAREP's definition of a sustainable food and agricultural system. She designed criteria for and funded community-based food systems statewide as part of SAREP's competitive grants program. Collaborating with ANR colleagues and others nationwide, she has worked to create an understanding of what sustainable, regional food systems are and how they function for communities.
She helped initiate ANR's work in farm-to-school research and extension and her SAREP team was among the first to evaluate farm-to-school procurement data rigorously. From projects that focus on small and mid-scale farms to food hubs, food systems assessments and food policy councils, Feenstra is interested in uncovering the economic development potential of coordinated supply chain stakeholders and opportunities for building relationships between farmers, consumers and communities.
Feenstra earned an Ed.D. in nutrition education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City, and a B.S. in dietetics and nutrition from UC Davis.
Feenstra and the SAREP staff plan to relocate from the UC Davis campus to the ANR building in Davis. The SAREP members include Sonja Brodt, academic coordinator for agriculture, resources and the environment; Penny Leff, statewide agritourism coordinator; Kathleen Patrocinio, business manager; Shosha Capps, community food systems analyst; Gwenael Engelskirchen, sustainable supply chain analyst; and Laura Crothers, grants manager/ outreach coordinator.
Kron named north coast IPM advisor
Cindy Kron joined UC Cooperative Extension as area-wide IPM advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties in September 2019.
Before joining UCCE, Kron studied the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a research entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests and Genetics research unit. She tested cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree-day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations.
Kron has researched a variety of insects including a two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper and variegated leafhopper. For her dissertation, she investigated the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and its relationship with vineyards. She also studied the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth and reared brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies.
“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research and identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact,” Kron said.
Kron earned her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with a minor in agricultural pest management, and her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.
She is based in Santa Rosa and can be reached at email@example.com.
Nocco named UCCE specialist in soil-plant-water relations
Mallika Nocco joined UC ANR in September 2019 as a UC Cooperative Extension specialist in soil-plant-water relations, based in the Department of Land, Air and Water Resources at UC Davis.
After five years as a health care representative in the corporate world, Nocco decided to pursue her interest in soil, plants and the conundrum of sustainable agriculture.
She earned a Ph.D. in environment and resources and a master's degree in soil science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Nelson Institute's Environment and Resources Program. She earned her bachelor's degree in cultural studies/comparative literature and philosophy from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Nocco is based at UC Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @mallika_nocco.
Harper honored as Range Manager of the Year
The California-Pacific Society for Range Management honored John Harper, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor for Mendocino and Lake counties, with its Range Manager of the Year Award.
“He has advanced an exceptional program of extension education and public service that has been exemplary in gathering and evaluating scientific information and extending information to the range livestock industry and agencies locally and statewide,” wrote Mel George, emeritus UCCE range specialist,in his letter nominating Harper for the award.
Early in his career, Harper helped local ranchers evaluate grazing management practices and develop ranch management plans to address water issues associated with grazing and rangelands in the early 1990s. He was instrumental in developing the Rangeland Watershed Program's Ranch Water Quality Planning Short Courses and associated educational materials that led to the development of water quality plans for more than 2 million acres by more than 1,000 ranchers in California, according to George. In 2012, the Western Extension Directors bestowed an Award of Excellence on the Rangeland Watershed Program.
An early adopter of social media for outreach, Harper developed the blog UCCE Livestock and Range Topics and integrated the use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn into his suite of information delivery methods.
In 2012 Harper became California's representative to the Rangeland Partnership, which is responsible for the Rangelands West and Global Rangelands website. He provided leadership to industry in the use of social media to communicate about rangelands and their management.
Harper also improved access to university information and publications by the California Cattlemen's Association and other agricultural organizations. He has been developing new content, digitizing and archiving old publications and revamping the California Rangelands website and the UCCE Livestock & Range Beef Cattle web page.
Over the last few years, Harper has invested considerable time in economic development in Mendocino and Lake counties.
“He has been a central figure in the development of plans for a multi-species slaughterhouse to serve niche marketers on the north coast,” George wrote. “This would create jobs and strengthen the farm-to-consumer marketing of meat products. Likewise, he has worked with individuals to develop wool processing facilities and cheese making enterprises that will increase economic activity and potentially create jobs.”
For many years, Harper has organized what may be the only sheep shearing school in the U.S., creating new careers for the students while filling a need for sheep shearers. All 28 slots of his 2019 Beginning Sheep Shearing School were filled within 2 minutes of registration opening.
Harper received the award at the California-Pacific Society for Range Management Section Meeting Oct. 17.
has compiled a 16-page 2018 annual report that provides an overview of the sweeping impacts our scientists and educators made in 2018. The impacts are felt across the state – in places where water is scarce, climate is changing farming practices, children need a little extra support to get to college, and families can use guidance to stretch their food budgets.
Of the hundreds of ways UC ANR impacts California lives and livelihoods, 40 are highlighted in the new publication, Working for the Benefit of All Californians: 2018 UC ANR Annual Report. A limited number of printed copies are available. Email email@example.com to request paper copies.
UC ANR has identified public value statements that reflect the breadth of its efforts. Academics and staff are working to promote economic prosperity, safeguard sufficient safe and healthy food for all, protect the state's natural resources, promote healthy people and communities, develop a qualified workforce, build climate change resilience in communities and ecosystems, and develop an inclusive and equitable society. These values touch every person in the state.
During the period covered in the new report, robust research and education programs supported agricultural communities. For example, UC ANR scientists improved the ability to predict beet curly top virus, avoiding losses approaching $100 million in processing tomatoes. A workshop offered by UC ANR educators on low-stress livestock handling convinced all the participants to incorporate the practices on their ranches. Online and in-person workshops provided to urban farmers resulted in new food safety plans for nearly all of the growers involved.
Families, farmers and natural resource managers are facing the prospect of climate change and looking for ways to continue prospering under uncertain conditions. Increasingly ferocious wildfires are causing serious losses to ranchers. UC ANR provided information on management practices to safeguard resources, prevent soil erosion and estimate the cost of forage losses so ranch owners can prepare loss claims. UC ANR has been instrumental in development of a website, Cal-Adapt.org, a clearing house to collect and disseminate climate change data.
Families and youth are a focus of UC ANR nutrition research, nutrition education and programs such as 4-H and CalFresh Healthy Living, UC. One UC ANR researcher collaborated with the Karuk, Yurok and Klamath tribes to identify culturally sound solutions to reduce food insecurity. In two Northern California counties, students were introduced by UC ANR educators to 36 local produce items. Their selection, consumption and interest in the produce served at lunchtime increased. UC ANR piloted a program that gets Latinx youth outside for environmental education.
Making food safer, enriching children's lives, extending reliable nutrition education and improving the productivity on California farms and ranches add up to significant value to the recipients of the services and to all Californians by making the state a better place to live and work.
2018 CE position proposals are released for recruitment:
- #12 Production Horticulture Advisor, San Diego County
- #42 Agronomy Area Advisor, Merced County
- #54 Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, Siskiyou County
- #58 Nutrition, Family, and Consumer Sciences Area Advisor, San Mateo-San Francisco Counties
- #62 Vegetable Crops and Small Farms Advisor, Riverside County
- #66 Pomology and Water/Soils Area Advisor, Kings County
The Academic HR unit will begin to work on recruitment plans for the above CE Advisor positions immediately following the winter break.
In addition, I commit to refill the position “#49 Irrigation and Water Resources Advisor, Glenn County” at such time that a gap occurs.
These were difficult decisions to make because while we need the above positions, there are many more needs for both CE Specialist and CE Advisor positions that continue to wait for additional funding. Additionally, while we have grown the CE Specialist numbers over the last several years, the number of CE Advisors in the field has steadily declined. For this reason, we are not releasing additional CE Specialist positions at this time. I remain deeply committed to the 4-H Youth Development Program and support the current conversations underway about investments in expanding non-academic support to improve program delivery to our local communities.
I hope to release 5 to 6 more positions in the spring/summer. This is possible, in part, due to the advanced notice provided by individuals planning to retire June 2020. In addition, we will complete recruitment of other academic positions currently advertised, including those that are funded through partnerships. See Status of Recruitments and Hires for a list of positions under recruitment now. That list does not reflect a few recent CE Advisor and CE Specialist hires who have not yet started.
I wish to thank the Program Council for their work providing recommendations to me. Likewise, I thank the County Directors, Program Team Leaders, Statewide Program/Institute Directors, REC Directors and Associate Deans for their efforts to identify priority needs.
I look forward to sending more of these notices soon!
As you begin holiday celebrations and look forward to the new year, the UCPath Center has some important year-end and new-year reminders to share. Please read closely and mark your calendar for upcoming deadlines.
2020 payroll notices
- Employees paid monthly will receive payment for December 2019 earnings on January 2, 2020. View the 2020 monthly payroll calendar.
- Employees paid biweekly will receive the first paycheck of 2020 on January 8. View the 2020 biweekly payroll calendar.
New year, new benefit enrollments
It is important to make sure that the benefits you enrolled in during Open Enrollment are reflected correctly in your paycheck. Here's a checklist to compare against.
The following table illustrates the coverage begin date for Open Enrollment changes and the paycheck on which new benefit rates take effect.
Open Enrollment Coverage Begin Date
Paycheck Deduction begin date
*2020 Disability premiums for January and Flexible Spending Account contributions deduct from the 1/8/2020 paycheck for bi-weekly employees.
** 2020 Flexible Spending Account contributions deduct from the 1/2/2020 paycheck for monthly employees. 2020 Disability premiums for January deduct from the 2/1/2020 paycheck for monthly employees.
Jan. 18, 2020: Tax information deadline
The UCPath Center will begin processing W-2s in late January. In order to ensure that the information on your W-2 is complete, accurate and reaches you, please take the following steps by January 18.
- Verify your home mailing and personal email address in UCPath online. Even if you plan to opt for a digital W-2, it's important that UC can reach you.
- Verify your dependents. UC needs the social security numbers of your spouse/domestic partner and any dependents. To review and update, log into UCPath online and go to Employee Actions > Health and Welfare > Dependent Coverage.
- International workers: Verify your GLACIER account information. International persons receiving UC wages may receive either a W-2 or 1042-S. Verify that your email and home mailing addresses match exactly in UCPath online and in the GLACIER database to ensure that your tax information is sent correctly. You can also opt for an electronic 1042-S through GLACIER.
W-2s for the 2019 tax year
For the 2019 tax year, UCANR employees will receive two W-2 statements:
- W-2 statement from AYSO will cover your January – September 2019 paychecks.
- W-2 statement from UCPath will cover your October - December 2019 paychecks.
- If your first paycheck was after September 30, 2019, you will only receive one W-2 from UCPath.
- Opt-in to receive your W-2 electronically. It's easy, safe and convenient! Sign up today at UCPath online and click on Employee Actions >Income and Taxes> Enroll to Receive Online W-2.
- Box C of the 1095 Affordable Care Act form will display the UCPath address as your employer.
Federal and State Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)
- All W-2 notifications include IRS Notice 797, alerting you that you may be eligible for the federal EITC, a benefit for working people with low to moderate income. To qualify, you must meet certain requirements and file a tax return, even if you do not owe any tax or are not required to file. The federal EITC reduces the amount of tax you owe and may give you a refund. For more information, visit the IRS website or contact the IRS at (800) 829-3676.
- Similarly, you may be eligible for the California EITC. To claim this credit, you must file a CA income tax return, and complete and attach the CA EITC form (FTB 3514). For more information visit the Franchise Tax Board website or call (800) 852-5711.
Claiming exemption from withholding
The IRS requires you to complete a new W-4 form each year if you are claiming exemption from tax withholding. If you wish to claim exemption from withholding in 2020, you must make this choice on UCPath online before Feb. 15, 2020.
Have questions or need help?
Please visit UCPath and click on “Ask UCPath Center” to submit an inquiry. You can also speak with an associate by calling the UCPath Center at (855) 982-7284 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.