Posts Tagged: Jeff Mitchell
Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards
Winners of the Distinguished Service Awards were announced June 13. Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. The awards highlight the use of innovative methods and the integration of research, extension and leadership by UC ANR academics.
Award categories include outstanding research, outstanding extension, outstanding new academic, outstanding team, outstanding leader and contribution to diversity, equity and inclusion.
We are pleased to congratulate and recognize this year's honorees:
Outstanding Research - Mark Hoddle
Mark Hoddle has been a UCCE specialist in biological control in UC Riverside Department of Entomology for 25 years. His research program on biocontrol of invasive pests that attack agricultural crops, threaten wilderness areas, and degrade urban landscapes in California has been supported by more than $14.5 million in grants from commodity boards and state and federal agencies and have significant impacts in California, nationally and internationally.
Highlights of his work include the successful biological control of the glassy-winged sharpshooter, a species of palm weevil (Rhynchophorus vulneratus), the Asian citrus psyllid and the Argentine ant, resulting in a massive reduction and elimination of these pests in California and other states and countries.
Hoddle also has developed proactive biocontrol and integrated pest management programs for pests not yet present in California but that are likely to invade, including the spotted lantern fly, the avocado seed moth and the avocado seed weevil.
His outstanding research has led to over 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals, books and book chapters. He also has published over 100 extension articles and 40 web pages. His outreach includes interviews for TV, radio, newspapers, magazines and podcasts.
In addition to his academic successes, Hoddle has mentored seven graduate students, more than 40 undergraduate students and nine post-graduate researchers. He also has received several national and international awards throughout his career.
Outstanding Extension - Lyn Brock
Lyn Brock is the academic coordinator for statewide training for both the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program and CalFresh Healthy Living, University of California. Brock leads the training and professional development efforts for academics and staff that work at the state and county levels for both programs.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the EFNEP and CFHL, UC programs were stymied by the inability to provide in-person education. Through her persistence, innovation and leadership, Brock transitioned more than 140 program staff to virtual delivery in a matter of months so that they could continue to serve the people of California.
She spearheaded novel trainings pertaining to a wide variety of topics that suddenly became relevant, including learner-centered programming, online learning platforms and copyright policies, among others. Under her leadership, 24 evidence-based curricula were adapted for virtual delivery during the pandemic. These programs are still regarded by the programs' federally funded partners as cutting-edge in virtual education.
Brock has produced numerous limited distribution publications and also presented during conferences, trainings and presentations to extend knowledge in her role as training coordinator. Highlights of her extension work include the What's Up Wednesday meetings, virtual staff check-in meetings to facilitate communication between program leadership staff. She also developed training material and trained staff on available virtual platforms to allow them to deliver programs virtually.
Outstanding New Academic - Aparna Gazula
Aparna Gazula became a UCCE small farms advisor in 2016. Her extension program provides training and technical assistance for nutrient management, pest management, irrigation and food safety to diversified vegetable farmers in Santa Clara, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.
Because a majority of the crops grown by Asian immigrant farmers – including amaranth, bok choy, gai choy, gai lan, a choy, Chinese celery, edible chrysanthemum, yam leaves, garlic chives and pea tips – are considered minor crops, there is little research-based information about them that can be used as the basis for management decisions or to fulfill regulatory requirements.In six years, she has secured more than $1.6 million in grant funding for research, outreach and technical assistance to fill information gaps on pest management, food safety and water and nutrient management.
Many of the socially disadvantaged farmers Gazula works with face language and cultural barriers. To provide targeted extension to non-English speaking farmers, she secured grant funding to hire specialists and educators who are fluent in Cantonese and Spanish. With her team, Gazula provides technical assistance, workshops, and outreach publications in Chinese and Spanish.
She also has led her team in assisting farmers in the region to access pandemic relief funding and state programs to improve soil health and water use efficiency. Gazula and her team helped non-English-speaking farmers submit over 200 applications for relief between April and December 2020. These farmers received $3.1 million in emergency aid, allowing them to maintain vegetable production during the pandemic. With her team she also provided training and technical assistance, in both Cantonese and English, to farmers about the State Water Efficiency and Enhancement Program and Healthy Soils Program.
Although Gazula is a new academic, she is recognized throughout the region for her expertise and is often called on by community and local government groups to contribute to food and farming initiatives. She has established herself as a leader in supporting the Asian vegetable industry.
Outstanding Team - UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team
The UC ANR Winter Cover Cropping/Water Use Team is composed of UCCE specialists Daniele Zaccaria, Samuel Sandoval Solis, Amelie Gaudin, Jeff Mitchell and Khaled Bali, UCCE advisor Dan Munk and UC Davis students Alyssa DeVincentis and Anna Gomes.
In direct response to prominent knowledge gaps around implementing the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, the team conducted a focused applied research program on water-related impacts of winter cover crops in California's Central Valley from 2016 to 2019.
Their research showed that the benefits of winter cropping in processing tomato and almond production systems offset or compensated for water used during the winter by the cover crops. Contrary to widespread belief, research results showed that cover crops did not use a lot of soil water because evapotranspiration during this period is normally low, crops shade and cool the soil surface, and improve soil aggregation, pore space and soil water infiltration and retention.
This research provided the basis for a series of 11 invited extension education presentations and outreach activities to inform and guide policy implementation of local stakeholder agencies and entities including the Madera Regional Water Management Group, the American Farmland Trust's SJV Conservation Partnership Program, the CA/NV Chapter of the Soil and Water Conservation Society, and the East Stanislaus, the Eastern Merced, Fresno, Kings, and Tulare Counties Resource Conservation Districts, as well as the California Irrigation Institute.
Outstanding Leader - Gail Feenstra
Gail Feenstra, director of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, is a distinguished leader and visionary, not only in UC ANR, but across the food systems landscape. Her career has been exemplary in terms of her pioneering success in applied, multidisciplinary research, evaluation, and outreach. In the early 1990s, Feenstra began to parlay her graduate training in nutrition along with her experience in community development and food systems into what was then a very new, poorly studied discipline that she would continue to develop and lead for the next three decades.
This field of work comprises regional food systems that merge the business and livelihood needs of small- and mid-scale farmers with the economic well-being and nutritional health of their local communities. Feenstra developed SAREP's and the nation's understanding of values-based supply chains. She has been a pioneer in the farm-to-school movement and has developed widely adopted tools for farm-to-school evaluation. In recognition of her stature in this field, CDFA selected her to lead a four-year, $60 million evaluation of its Farm to School Grant Program.
Feenstra also has shown tremendous leadership within UC ANR through her role as co-chair of the California Communities and Food Systems Program Team where she has helped shape collaborations within UC ANR. She has worked to bridge interconnected disciplines of nutrition, food, health, community development and agriculture within UC ANR. She also has led efforts to work across program teams, particularly in developing new specialist and advisor position descriptions. Her energy is infectious and her leadership through collaboration is compelling. The Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society recently honored Feenstra with its 2022 Richard P. Haynes Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award.
Outstanding Contribution to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion - Katherine Soule
Katherine Soule began her DEI work in 2013, focusing on providing solutions to the challenges that marginalized youth, families and communities face on the Central Coast.
Her work particularly focused on the needs of Latino youth and families, LGBTQ+ youth and adults, neurodivergent people, and individuals living in poverty. Through a timely intervention, Soule's DEI work has helped to increase health equity, improve food security and safety, and promote economic prosperity in marginalized communities.
She implemented a very impactful “Schools as Hubs of Health” program that reached more than 4,000 students annually in more than 150 classrooms and created a college and career readiness pathway that engaged more than 12,000 youth. She brings an interdisciplinary approach to her work with an emphasis on engaged and participatory research, and lifelong commitment to personally unlearning and decolonizing.
Soule also demonstrates DEI leadership by serving on the UC ANR DEI Advisory Council as the inaugural chair and serving on the City of San Luis Obispo's DEI Taskforce.
ANR offers online training on how to make videos. To further hone video-production techniques, Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist, is wondering if ANR colleagues would be interested in an informal way to exchange ideas.
“I am talking about an active, quick-fire workgroup of similarly interested folks who could share tips and skills,” Mitchell said. While he doesn't have a specific communications mechanism in mind, Mitchell would like to hear from others who would like to share techniques about video production. If you're interested, please contact Mitchell at email@example.com.
In the Frontiers in Communication article “Why Should Scientists be on YouTube? It's all About Bamboo, Oil and Ice Cream,” USDA-ARS scientist Eric Brennan writes, “DIY videos are not a silver bullet that will automatically improve science communication, but they can help scientists to 1) reflect on and improve their communications skills, 2) tell stories about their research with interesting visuals that augment their peer-reviewed papers, 3) efficiently connect with and inspire broad audiences including future scientists, 4) increase scientific literacy, and 5) reduce misinformation.”
Brennan and Douglas Gayeton, creative leader of The Lexicon of Sustainability, recently joined Mitchell to give a presentation to ANR communicators on the use of video in science communication. Brennan, a research horticulturist in organic systems, noted that while his peer-reviewed journal articles may get a couple dozen citations, videos about his research get as many as 200,000 views. To view a recording of the presentations, visit https://youtu.be/FXxvbHV7Ois.
Ten of the top 20 videos on the UC ANR YouTube channel were developed by a team of California professors and researchers assembled by UCCE specialist Jeff Mitchell to encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture.
Views of those 10 videos total more than 600,000 since the series was released in 2019. The complete playlist has 27 videos, which together have garnered many more thousands of views.
The production team included academics from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Davis, Chico State, Fresno State and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. They received financial support from the CDFA Specialty Crops Block Grant Program.
The team initiated a hybrid plan in which the universities recorded the video themselves, then sent the footage to a professional video producer who edited and narrated each of the videos.
The videos depict state-of-the-art technologies and techniques that are in use in many production regions of California today, vegetable farming systems used in other parts of the world, and increasingly popular cottage farming systems that are popping up in urban areas for easy access to healthful foods.
“We believed that this series of videos on vegetable production would have broad interest,” Mitchell said. “We are now realizing the importance of video in our work. These videos, plus our other CASI Workgroup videos on conservation agriculture topics and the ones that we have at our own You Tube channel have started to tally up some rather impressive viewer numbers. That is nice to see.”
The full series is on a playlist titled “Training of a New Generation of California Vegetable Producers,” https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLLjlfxpbNglYF2m7tvApfiR5NXParpvGP
Barman named UCCE IPM advisor in Imperial County
Apurba Barman joined UC Cooperative Extension as low desert integrated pest management advisor on Jan. 11, 2021. He will be headquartered at the UCCE Imperial County office, which adjoins the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Holtville.
"I am very excited for my new role as an IPM advisor based in Southern California and for the opportunity to serve one of the most important vegetable production regions in the state,” Barman said. “The diversity and intensity of crop production in this region demand targeted research to solve pest management issues and effective extension programs to reach diverse clientele. I feel prepared for this job with my experience and passion to serve the community.”
Barman earned a bachelor's degree at Assam Agricultural University in India, and master's degrees in Indiana and at Texas Tech University, Lubbock. In 2011, he completed a doctorate degree at Texas A&M University in College Station, where he developed a research program to understand the extent of damage and management of thrips in the Texas High Plains region.
Barman comes to UC Cooperative Extension from the University of Georgia, where he led a whitefly monitoring and management progress across cropping systems in the southern region the state.
Barman can be reached at (209) 285-9810 and firstname.lastname@example.org. His Twitter handle is @Ento_Barman.
Tian joins UCCE as viticulture advisor in Kern County
Tian Tian has been named the UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in Kern County, beginning Jan. 4, 2021. Tian previously served as a graduate research assistant at Oregon State University in Corvallis, where she conducted experiments and statistical analyses of data sets while completing her doctoral degree.
“I feel very excited to join UC Cooperative Extension and be part of this collaborative group,” Tian said. “I look forward to working with local growers and industry to improve management practices in the vineyard and increase the profit margin of table grape production.”
Tian earned a master's degree at California State University, Fresno, and a bachelor's degree at Northwest Agriculture and Forestry University, China, both in viticulture and enology. For several years she worked in industry, including an internship at E. & J. Gallo Winery in Modesto and as the assistant vineyard manager at Berryessa Gap Vineyard in Winters.
Tian's doctoral research focused on development of better guidelines for vineyard nitrogen management for growers in the Willamette Valley. She and the research team evaluated the influences of vineyard nitrogen on vine productivity, fruit composition and wine characteristics in chardonnay and pinot noir.
Tian can be reached at email@example.com. Her Twitter handle is @TianUcce.
Garay named social media strategist
Dora Garay joined UC ANR as a social media strategist on Jan. 19. She brings over 15 years of communications experience, most recently serving as the digital marketing specialist at Everett Community College in Washington, where she managed more than 20 college-wide social media accounts and conducted innovative marketing campaigns in both English and Spanish.
Garay has a track record of engaging and empowering communities through her effective communications strategies and social media expertise. Along with more than a decade of working with digital media, her experience includes producing news and education segments for Univision, a top-rated television network.
Garay earned a bachelor of arts in political science at UC Berkeley and a Master of Communication in Digital Media at University of Washington.
She will be based in the UC ANR building in Davis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (510) 630-5622. Her Twitter handle is @DoraliciaGaray.
Flavell remains interim director of Sierra Foothill REC
An internal search to fill the director position at Sierra Foothills REC was conducted during November-December 2020. Unfortunately, no applications were received. UCANR leadership and UC Livestock & Natural Resources academics are exploring options to provide sustained leadership for SFREC.
In the meantime, SFREC superintendent Dustin Flavell will continue to oversee the center. Flavell has served as interim director since September, when Jeremy James left UC ANR to become department chair of Natural Resources at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.
DOE honors Sanchez for carbon removal research
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) granted a Secretary of Energy Achievement Award to a team including UC assistant Cooperative Extension specialist Daniel Sanchez and Ph.D. candidate Bodie Cabiyo in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley.
Sanchez and Cabiyo's team "Getting to Neutral Carbon Emissions" was selected for their outstanding service and research contributions, both to the agency's mission and the benefit of the nation, in greenhouse gas emissions reduction scholarship.
The team's final report, titled “Getting to Neutral: Options for Negative Carbon Emissions in California,” provides a comprehensive study of technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It offers frameworks for developing public policy and legislative action based on scientific data to help California achieve carbon neutrality by 2045 or sooner. Sanchez and Cabiyo contributed research to help estimate the amount of forest biomass that can be used in negative emission pathways, as a result of managing 1 million acres of forest each year. They used economically driven models to identify the most cost-efficient forest management strategies for the team's Forest Carbon Plan goals.
The award is one of the highest internal, non-monetary recognitions that DOE employees and contractors can receive.
Mitchell receives No-Till Innovator Research & Education award
Jeffrey Mitchell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, received the No-Till Innovator Research & Education award for his commitment to the advancement of no-till farming systems.
Mitchell, who is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, has been a pioneer in design, research, knowledge generation and extension in conservation cropping systems in California. With his dedication, these conservation cropping systems are now beginning to be gradually adopted in the state and are receiving much attention from growers, extension, industry, educational institutions, state and federal government agencies, and non-governmental agencies, says Anil Shrestha, chair of the department of Viticulture and Enology at Fresno State University.
Initially, Mitchell established the UC Conservation Tillage Workgroup that was primarily focused on no-till systems. Later, he expanded the workgroup and established the Conservation Agriculture Systems Initiative (CASI) group with a broader conservation systems approach. CASI won the No-Till Innovator Award in 2018.
Mitchell expanded his work to vegetable crops and is among the first in the U.S. to work on these systems combined with precision irrigation technology. Mitchell organizes the CASI Workgroup Field Days and Demonstrations at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center.
An important part of Mitchell's research and education efforts has emphasized evaluations of the impacts and tradeoffs that reduced disturbance tillage and cover cropping have on soil and cropping system function.
Based on a long-term study dating to 1999, Mitchell worked with a team that documented that no-till and cover crop practices in sorghum, cotton, corn, wheat and tomato could not only maintain productivity, but also greatly impact a number of important soil quality indicators — including higher soil carbon and nitrogen, aggregation and infiltration. This work has documented that significant positive changes have occurred even in the arid, irrigated soils in the San Joaquin Valley.
Wang honored for olive research
Selina Wang, research director at the UC Davis Olive Center and UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology, recently received the Olive Wellness Institute's inaugural award for achievement in olive science research.
Wang joined the Olive Center as a postdoctoral researcher in 2010 and became research director in 2011, leading the center's research efforts in olive oil quality, authenticity and standardization. She took on her Cooperative Extension duties in 2018. “I still do the work I've been doing with olives and olive oil, but now I cover all the crops that are important for California,” she said.
Research from the Olive Center contributed to the scientific basis for the establishment of California grade and labeling standards for olive oil, refined-olive oil and olive-pomace oil. Under the standards, producers of greater than 5,000 gallons per year must test every lot of oil for quality, thereby instilling confidence in consumers.
Wang said she looks forward to continued research on maximizing quality, health benefits, yield and sustainability — in the field and in processing. “We've made a tremendous amount of progress in the past decade, and there's more work to be done, especially in response to climate change,” she said. “I will continue extension with the growers and processors and education with the students at UC Davis who are the future leaders.”
Dan Flynn, the recently retired Olive Center director, nominated Wang for the award. “Dr. Wang stands among the very best people I have worked with,” he said. “Her independent and significant research achievement, skill at attracting financial backing and resources, ability to inspire students, robust work ethic, dedication to the public interest and exceptional interpersonal skills place her among the noteworthy olive scientists globally.” – UC Davis News and Media Relations
Khan elected to national hydrologic science board
Safeeq Khan, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist for water and watershed sciences based at UC Merced, has been elected to the board of directors for the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI).
Sponsored by the National Science Foundation, CUAHSI is a non-profit organization with a mission to serve the interdisciplinary water science community in promoting and expanding formal and informal educational opportunities.
Gosliner to serve on Farm to School Working Group subcommittee
Gosliner was recommended to participate in the Health Systems Data subcommittee because of her experience in measuring impact for food systems projects.
As a subcommittee member, Gosliner will help create a unified vision for the future of farm to school in California. The group will meet January 2021 through October 2021, culminating in the publishing of a “Roadmap to Success” for California's farm to school movement.
“Our state leaders recognize the need to transform our food system into one that is climate-smart, equitable, resilient, reflective of all of California's diverse cultures, and accessible to all,” said Ross and Siebel Newsom. “We know school nutrition is a key element of this transformation, and a recent $10m budget allocation from Governor Newsom shows the state is making a serious effort to expand its impact.”
People from across California and around the world got to taste new crops, see research demonstrations and learn about several UC ANR activities at the World Ag Expo Feb. 12-14. Despite the cold rainy weather, the world's largest agricultural exposition attracted 102,878 people representing 48 states, the District of Columbia and 65 countries to Tulare.
At an outdoor tent, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, Greg Douhan, UCCE citrus advisor, and other researchers, handed visitors fresh Tango citrus grown at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and told them about their citrus variety research.
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor, and Michael Yang, small farms and specialty crops agricultural assistant, encouraged visitors to taste moringa tea. Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor, described how Bagrada bugs and other pests under the microscopes can be controlled by microbes. Roger Baldwin, UCCE wildlife specialist, and Niamh Quinn, UCCE urban wildlife conflict advisor, took turns showing taxidermy vertebrate pests and describing their management research.
Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist, and Jeff Dahlberg, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center director, gave demonstrations to show the superior health of soils managed with conservation techniques.
Demonstrating the use of high-tech in agriculture, Sean Hogan, Informatics and Geographic Information System academic coordinator, Andy Lyons, IGIS program coordinator, and Jacob Flanagan, IGIS programmer, showed how they use drones and cameras in agricultural research.
Inside Pavilion A, Teresa Rios-Spicer, UCCE nutrition program manager, andYeseniaMedrano, UCCE community education specialist, both from Tulare County, challenged visitors to test their nutrition knowledge by playing Jeopardy! Visitors could spin the UC Master Gardeners prize wheel to answer gardening questions and win seeds. 4-H members invited youth to peer into virtual reality goggles to give them an idea about the fun activities that can be part of joining 4-H.
Frank Mitloehner, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, gave a seminar explaining confusion in the media about the amount of greenhouse gas livestock emit in California and globally. He reviewed the innovations in livestock production that are leading the way to a "greener future" for California and U.S. agriculture.
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension citrus entomology specialist, and Victoria Hornbaker of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, gave an update on regulatory protocols relating to Asian citrus psyllid and HLB quarantines and the proper transportation of bulk citrus to prevent the spread of the pest and disease.
The California and Dutch AgFoodTech innovation partners reunited in Tulare for a networking luncheon to share their action plan with invited guests and scope the projects.