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Posts Tagged: Houston Wilson

Work group appointed to speed California’s shift to safer pest management

Jim Farrar
The California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Department of Food and Agriculture launched a new work group to accelerate the systemwide adoption of safer, sustainable pest control practices.

Three UC ANR academics have been appointed to the work group. They include Jim Farrar, UC Integrated Pest Management Program director; Margaret Lloyd, UC Cooperative Extension small farm advisor for the Capitol Corridor; and Houston Wilson, UC Organic Agriculture Institute director and UCCE specialist; 

The 26-member Sustainable Pest Management Work Group includes farmers, community members, university researchers and representatives from commodity groups and the pesticide industry. They are charged with identifying pathways to minimize the use of toxic pesticides and expand the use of integrated pest management practices; better protect public and environmental health; and engage, educate and promote collaboration to achieve these goals.

Margaret Lloyd
"Transitioning away from toxic pesticides requires us to speed up the development of effective alternatives," said CalEPA Secretary Jared Blumenfeld. "By giving our farmers a suite of integrated pest management tools, we can better protect farmworkers and some of California's most vulnerable communities. This dynamic task force will give us the roadmap to achieve this bold vision."

"California agriculture is recognized not only for its quality and quantity, but also for the sustainable, innovative, forward-thinking way it is grown," said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. "Our farmers have been leaders in adopting integrated pest management and partnering with universities and technical assistance providers to meet our high standards for food, environmental and worker safety. This work group represents a broad array of perspectives to inform the next decade of research and development investment and new partnerships to continue the production of nutritious, delicious food and high-quality agricultural products with the least impact to our surrounding communities."

Houston Wilson
Funded in last year's budget, the group's work will build upon the recommendations of the Alternatives to Chlorpyrifos Work Group whose 2020 report identified alternatives to the hazardous insecticide and outlined actions to further support agriculture and the health of local communities, farmworkers and the environment. A new status update details additional actions DPR has taken based on the 2020 report, and how DPR and CDFA are working together to provide additional funding to the University of California and California State University to expand integrated pest management research and education. California prohibited virtually all uses of chlorpyrifos as of Dec. 31, 2020.

See the full announcement at https://www.cdpr.ca.gov/docs/pressrls/2021/031021.htm.

Posted on Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:55 AM

Names in the News

Marino named UCCE orchard specialist

Giulia Marino

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 giumarino@ucdavis.edu.

Wilson named presidential director for Organic Agriculture Institute

Houston Wilson

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

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.

 

Posted on Friday, May 29, 2020 at 3:22 PM

President Napolitano analyzes options for ANR in UCOP structure

Dear Colleagues,

In my ANR Update message on Feb. 8, I shared a report released in January by the Huron Consulting Group on the UC Office of the President's (UCOP) organizational structure. President Napolitano's goal in commissioning that review was to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UCOP, while aligning its work to best support the university's core mission.

As I mentioned last month, Huron offered options that we believe would harm ANR's ability to deliver our mission of research and extension and to bring UC to local communities in every part of California. We identified several issues with both options, chief among those were adding layers of administration between ANR and the UC president as well as between ANR and the public we serve. Those additional layers would likely increase administrative costs and reduce funding for program delivery. At the president's request, we have developed an alternative proposal that would strengthen ANR's ability to deliver our mission while also serving the needs of UCOP for better financial management and administrative efficiency.

A challenge we have faced for years is that about half of our budget flows through UCOP while we manage the remainder directly. ANR is the only major operating division at UCOP that directly conducts research and program delivery, with hundreds of employees throughout California deploying over $200 million in resources. This has caused a great deal of confusion for auditors and often led to budget cuts during calls to reduce UC administrative overhead. Our recommendation places the entire ANR budget into one operating unit/location within the UC Chart of Accounts and allows for more transparency to the public. It also improves ANR's opportunities to stabilize our funding, rebuild our academic footprint and enhance program delivery.

Unlike the institutions used as examples in Huron's report, there is no one flagship campus serving as California's land-grant institution; instead, the entire UC system is responsible for the land-grant mission. To effectively deliver that mission, ANR is structured as a large statewide operating unit administering over 300 Memoranda of Understanding with a wide array of public and private sector partners, including deployment of resources on multiple campuses across the UC system and in close partnership with local governments in every county. The Huron report recognized that housing ANR within one campus was suboptimal and could create perceptions of favoritism and inequities between the campuses. Our proposal calls for a collaborative relationship; injecting competition and administrative layers would not serve the UC system nor our stakeholders well.

Separating ANR's budget and FTE from UCOP offers many advantages to both entities. Under the proposal we have offered, the ANR vice president continues to report directly to the president, the ANR governance structure does not change and no people or infrastructure would be moved. The proposal does agree with the Huron recommendation that ANR funding should be changed to state appropriations and that reconnecting the UC Natural Reserve System to ANR offers improved research opportunities for both entities. We believe these changes would best achieve the president's objectives to better align UCOP support functions to campuses while enhancing the systemwide and statewide functions of a vital outreach and engagement arm of the university.

The president continues to analyze the different options before her to ensure UCOP is best serving the UC system as well as all Californians for the long term. We are excited to work closely with President Napolitano to strengthen UC as a premiere research and extension institute by giving these vital programs room to grow and better serve the critical needs of California's economy and communities. I will continue to keep you apprised as our discussions unfold.

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

 

Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 8:02 AM
  • Author: Glenda Humiston
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Innovation, Natural Resources

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 gabtorres@ucanr.edu.

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 ktlund@ucanr.edu.

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 namkansal@ucanr.edu.

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

Lagrimini named Vice Provost of Research and Extension

Mark Lagrimini
Mark Lagrimini, professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has accepted UC ANR's position of Vice Provost of Research and Extension. As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, he will provide leadership and vision to county-based Cooperative Extension personnel and employees at the nine research and extension centers. 

“Mark has exceptional accomplishments in the private sector, academia and administration that demonstrate his ability to partner and collaborate in order to achieve what, at first, might seem impossible,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president. “I'm excited about the expertise, experience, insight and perspective he will bring to UC ANR as we drive towards our 2025 Strategic Vision and having a positive impact for every Californian.”

Lagrimini is currently a professor in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the regulation of carbohydrate partitioning in maize and its impact on drought tolerance.

“I am excited about joining the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources leadership team,” Lagrimini said. “Agriculture is an economic engine for the state of California. I will support a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork within the division to turn the numerous challenges we face in agriculture into opportunities.”

From 2005 to 2011, he served as head of the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, leading the university's largest department of more than 80 faculty members.

From 1999 to 2005, he was a project leader for Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. located in Research Triangle Park, NC, where he led an ambitious agronomic improvement project using structural and functional genomics, coordinated ectopic gene expression, metabolic pathway engineering, elite maize transformation, and physiological assessment of plant performance with proof-of-concept achieved. While at Syngenta, Lagrimini received four U.S. patents. He began his academic career as an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Horticulture & Crop Science at The Ohio State University from 1987 to 1999. 

He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and a B.S. in biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, Lagrimini will report directly to the Associate Vice President and collaborate closely with the Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs and Vice Provost of Academic Personnel and Development. He will lead the County Director/REC Director Council, oversee all UCCE county directors, REC directors and both assistant vice provost positions and serve on Program Council.

Lagrimini will join ANR on June 1, 2018, and be based at the Second Street building in Davis.

 

 

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 3:52 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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