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Names in the News

Randhawa to oversee UCCE in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties

Karmjot Randhawa

Karmjot Randhawa joined ANR on Sept. 6, 2019, as the UC Cooperative Extension director for Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. 

In this newly created staff position, Randhawa is responsible for the coordination and overall operations of Cooperative Extension programs in Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare counties. Unlike traditional county director positions, Randhawa will have no academic research responsibilities so she can focus on overseeing the educational and applied research programs and providing direction and leadership to the academic and support staff within the county extension programs. 

Prior to joining ANR, the Central Valley native was the research translation operations manager at George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. 

“I look forward to increasing the visibility of UCCE by communicating the positive impacts realized by the people who live in the San Joaquin Valley and benefit from the research activities and contributions of these units,” Randhawa said.

Randhawa received her B.S. and M.S. in research psychology at California State University, Fresno and received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University. She is currently completing the Climate Change and Health Certification Program at Yale University. 

Karmjot is based in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 241-7514 and kgrandhawa@ucanr.edu

Zhou named UCCE assistant specialist for small farms

Qi Zhou

Qi Zhou joined ANR on Sept. 3, 2019, as a UCCE assistant specialist for small farms in Santa Clara County. She will work closely with project directors at UCCE Santa Clara to lead research and extension and extension work related to food safety practices on small farms, beginning farmer education and Asian vegetable production. 

Prior to joining ANR, Zhou conducted research on peach fruit production at Clemson University. At Huazhong Agricultural University, Zhou designed and conducted an experiment that identified the differences between flood-tolerant and flood-susceptible Poplar seedlings. Zhou has published several scientific manuscripts and abstracts and given extension presentations.

Zhou earned a Ph.D. in plant and environmental sciences with a minor in statistics from Clemson University, South Carolina, a master's degree in horticulture and forestry from Huazhong Agricultural University, China, and a bachelor's degree in horticulture from Hunan Agricultural University, China. In addition to English, Zhou is fluent in Mandarin.

Zhou is based in San Jose and can be reached at (408) 282-3109 and qiizhou@ucanr.edu

Aram named UCCE specialty crops advisor

Kamyar Aram

Kamyar Aram joined ANR on Aug. 5, 2019, as the UC Cooperative Extension specialty crops advisor serving Contra Costa and Alameda counties. 

Prior to joining ANR, Aram was a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis working on research and outreach for the management of vectored grapevine virus diseases, emphasizing diagnostics, the use of disease-screened plant materials and area-wide management approaches. He also has several years of work experience in commercial viticulture and winemaking in New York, Chile and California. His doctoral research focused on the life cycle of the Sudden Oak Death pathogen in aquatic environments, and as a staff research assistant at UC Davis, his research focused on diagnostics and outreach for this forest and landscape disease. For his master's thesis, he studied the use of compost as a source for nitrogen and in suppression of soilborne diseases in vegetable production, gaining experience with field production at Cornell's vegetable research farm.

Aram earned a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis and an M.S. in horticulture (vegetable crops) from Cornell University. He received B.S. and B.A. degrees from the Ohio State University in plant biology and Latin. In addition to English, he speaks Spanish, Italian, French and Farsi.

Aram is based in Concord and can be reached at (925) 608-6692 and kamaram@ucanr.edu.

Khan named UCCE water and watershed sciences specialist

Safeeq Khan

Safeeq Khan joined ANR on Oct. 1, 2019, as a UC Cooperative Extension assistant water and watershed sciences specialist. His research broadly focuses on understanding the interaction between climate and ecosystems to inform land and water management. He uses data-driven numerical models as a research tool to aid in the understanding of watershed systems. As a CE specialist, Khan will focus on developing and carrying out collaborative, multifaceted research and extension related to mountain hydrology and their linkage with downstream water uses statewide, with special attention to the Sierra Nevada-Central Valley watersheds.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Khan was a professional researcher and adjunct professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Merced for five years. Khan brings over 10 years of research, education and extension experience. He has published more than 35 peer-reviewed journal papers and book chapters, successfully secured several externally funded projects, and presented his work to a diverse range of audiences through digital and print media, workshops and conferences. He has worked very closely with state and federal agencies, local landowners and nonprofit organizations, both in California and elsewhere. He has led several projects related to watershed management, from investigating the impact of non-native tree species and groundwater overdraft on streamflow in Hawaii to mapping hydrological vulnerabilities to climate change in the Pacific Northwest. More recently, his research has been focused on evaluating climate change and watershed restoration impacts on water and forest health and developing stakeholder-driven adaptive decision support tools. He serves as an associate editor for the journal Hydrological Processes. Khan is also a co-director of UC Merced's first Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) grant that focuses on connected wildland-storage-cropland subsystems in California.

Khan earned a Ph.D. in natural resources and environmental management from University of Hawaii at Manoa. He also holds a master's degree in agricultural systems and management from Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, India and a bachelor's degree in agricultural engineering from CSA University of Agriculture and Technology Kanpur, India. In addition to English, he is fluent in Hindi and Urdu. 

Khan is based at UC Merced and can be reached at (209) 386-3623 and msafeeq@ucanr.edu. Follow him on Twitter @safeeqkhan.

Farrar elected chair-elect for National IPM Coordinating Committee

Jim Farrar

Jim Farrar has been elected chair-elect for National Integrated Pest Management Coordinating Committee, which is under the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' ESCOP/ECOP committee system. He will be chair-elect, chair, and past-chair for the next three years.

Farrar will serve with committee chair Danesha Seth Carley of the Southern IPM Center and Ann Hazelrigg of University of Vermont Extension, who moves into the past-chair position.

The National IPM Coordinating Committee is a committee of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) and the Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) and is a subcommittee of the ESCOP Science and Technology Committee. The committee facilitates coordination and collaboration nationally among and between IPM research and extension at the land-grant universities, and between the land-grants and federal agencies involved in IPM. 

Fennimore receives Fulbright award

Steve Fennimore

The U.S. Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board announced that Steven Fennimore, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to work in agriculture in Uruguay. Fennimore will conduct research and teaching at the INIA Las Brujas horticultural field station as part of a project to develop sustainable weed management systems in specialty crops.

Fennimore, director of the statewide Vegetable Research and Information Center, focuses on weed management in vegetable crops and small fruits, as well as weed seed biology and physiology, and seed bank ecology.

Based in Salinas, Fennimore conducts a research and extension program focused on weed management in vegetables, flowers and strawberries, particularly in coastal production areas in California. His program combines chemical and nonchemical methods, for both organic and conventional systems, with the objective of minimizing weed management costs. He also focuses on automated weeding systems to mitigate the severe labor shortages in California, and use of field-scale steam applicators to reduce the need for chemical fumigation in sensitive sites and near urban areas. 

Fennimore is one of over 800 U.S. citizens who will teach, conduct research, and/or provide expertise abroad for the 2019–2020 academic year through the Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic and professional achievement, as well as record of service and demonstrated leadership in their respective fields.

Posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019 at 4:26 PM

Farm Bureau celebrates centennial at Capitol

Assemblymember Adam Gray of Merced, who grew up working at his parents’ dairy, met the farm advisors.

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources joined in the California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial Celebration at the State Capitol on June 26.

State legislators visited booths where county farm bureaus displayed products from local growers and ranchers and discussed the benefits of agriculture in their county.

“We love Cooperative Extension!” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross exclaimed when she saw Jim Farrar and Katherine Jarvis-Shean talking with Jenny Lester Moffitt, CDFA undersecretary.

Sarah Light got to meet her Assembly representative James Gallagher of Yuba City.
UC ANR was represented by Jim Farrar, UC IPM director; Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta crops advisor for San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; Sarah Light, UCCE agronomy advisor for Sutter-Yuba and Colusa counties and Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UCCE orchard systems advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. They answered questions about pest management and crop production and discussed their research and outreach.

4-H volunteer Julie Farnham and Nicole Jansen and members of the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club brought a small petting zoo consisting of three dairy calves and two exotic sheep and talked with legislators about the benefits of participating in 4-H.

“The California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial at the Capitol was a great opportunity to talk with legislators about how UC is present in their districts and helping their constituents,” said Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, who coordinated ANR's participation in the event.

UC Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Farm Bureau for more than a century. As UC Cooperative Extension was being organized in 1913, UC leaders required each county government that wanted to participate in the partnership to allocate funding to help support extension work in that community. It was also required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a “farm bureau” to help guide the UCCE farm advisor on the local agriculture issues. These grassroots groups later evolved into the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Assemblymember Devon Mathis of Visalia welcomed the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club members and their livestock.

Michelle Leinfelder-Miles and Anne Megaro greeted Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman of Stockton.
Assemblymember Jim Cooper of Elk Grove chatted with 4-Hers about their calves and the woolly Navajo churro sheep before meeting the farm advisors.
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton had some questions for the farm advisors.
State senator Bob Wieckowski of Fremont talked with 4-Hers about raising dairy cows.
Assemblymember Steven Choi of Irvine, whose district includes South Coast Research and Extension Center, visited with Megaro and the UCCE farm advisors.
State senator Jim Nielsen of Tehama greeted Leinfelder-Miles and Jarvis-Shean.

UC IPM celebrates 40th anniversary

Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Bill Quirk presented Jim Farrar with a proclamation honoring UC IPM at the Capitol. From left, Quirk, Anne Megaro, Mark Bell, Farrar, Mark Lagrimini and Aguiar-Curry.

The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) is celebrating its 40th anniversary. Established July 1, 1979, with funding from the California Legislature, UC IPM built upon a growing movement to reduce dependence on pesticides. Drawing on expertise across the University of California system, UC IPM develops and distributes UC's best information on managing pests using safe and effective practices that protect people and the environment.

On July 8, Assemblymembers Cecilia Aguiar-Curry and Bill Quirk congratulated Jim Farrar, UC IPM director, and presented him with a proclamation honoring UC IPM at the Capitol.

Mark Bell, vice provost of strategic initiatives and statewide programs; Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension; and Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, joined Farrar in the Assembly chambers for the presentation.

Quirk, whose district includes parts of Alameda County, noted that UC IPM is vital to the health and well-being of California's agricultural and urban communities.

“UC IPM is also active in urban neighborhoods, schools, and childcare centers,” Quirk told his fellow assemblymembers. “The advisors work with the public to manage pest populations, while reducing pesticide exposure for a healthier community.

“Specifically, we've all heard about bed bugs in urban centers and their harmful health and economic impacts on communities. UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program responded to the public need and now leads the effort for controlling bed bugs by researching and developing best practices.”

He added, “UC Integrated Pest Management Program epitomizes what UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is all about – getting practical information into the hands of all Californians and serving as a trusted public resource for science-based information.”

Read more about the UC IPM 40th anniversary at https://ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=30686.

UC IPM staff celebrated the statewide program's 40th anniversary at the ANR building in Davis on July 2.

 

Posted on Monday, July 1, 2019 at 9:21 AM

New leaders named for three strategic initiatives

Jim Farrar
New leaders for three of the five UC ANR Strategic Initiatives have taken the helm for the three SI leaders who rotated off, effective Jan. 2.

Jim Farrar, director of UC Integrated Pest Management Program, succeeds Cheryl Wilen as leader for Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases (EIPD).

David Lile
David Lile, UCCE director in Lassen County, succeeds John Harper as leader for Sustainable and Natural Ecosystems (SNE).

Neil McRoberts, associate professor of plant pathology at UC Davis, and Deanne Meyer, UCCE specialist in animal science at UC Davis, succeed David Doll as co-leaders for Sustainable Food Systems (SFS).

Neil McRoberts
The strategic initiative leaders play a key role in unifying, communicating and advocating to promote the science and impact of the work of UC ANR. A key undertaking for the SI leaders in 2018 will be to revisit and evolve the role of the initiatives themselves, identifying how the strategic initiatives can better help us advance the UC ANR agenda of touching the lives of 40 million Californians.

Deanne Meyer
Wendy Powers, associate vice president, and Mark Bell, vice provost for strategic initiatives and statewide programs, thanked Wilen, Harper and Doll for their service as SI leaders.

Keith Nathaniel continues to lead the Healthy Families and Communities initiative and Doug Parker continues to lead the Water Quality, Quantity and Security initiative.

Posted on Tuesday, January 23, 2018 at 6:59 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Environment, Family, Food, Natural Resources, Pest Management

PAC discusses strategic plan and urban agriculture

At the recent President’s Advisory Commission meeting, President Napolitano praised UC ANR’s work in “areas of critical importance.”

Downtown Oakland was the site of the biannual UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) meeting on Aug. 9, which included a Q&A session with President Napolitano, program presentations from UC Cooperative Extension county directors Rob Bennaton and Igor Lacan, and updates from deans Helene Dillard (UC Davis), Keith Gilless (UC Berkeley) and Kathryn Uhrich (UC Riverside), as well as Executive Associate Dean John Pascoe (filling in for Dean Michael Lairmore, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine). 

In her opening remarks, UC ANR Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced Mark Bell, the division's new vice provost for statewide programs and strategic initiatives. Bell spoke about the strength of the UC system, the diversity of programs offered by UC ANR statewide, and his plans to leverage the strong volunteer and staff base of programs like UC Master Gardeners and 4-H.

Humiston also offered updates on the division's strategic plan and the significant progress made in implementing its key goals. Associate Vice President Tu Tran then gave a presentation on the division's financial situation, which he titled “A Fiscal Plan for Success.” Tran addressed UC ANR's place in the state budget and its revenue projections through FY 2021-22, which includes significant growth in major gifts and fundraising.

Jerry Lohr, right, congratulated fellow PAC member Grant Davis on his new position as director of the state Department of Water Resources.

Bennaton and Lacan both gave spirited and enthusiastic presentations that were received well. Bennaton, who serves as county director for Alameda and Contra Costa counties as well as UCCE urban agriculture advisor for the Bay Area, discussed the benefits of urban agriculture and the assortment of activities going on in community development, habitat restoration and youth programming.

Lacan, also a UCCE environmental horticulture advisor for the Bay Area and co-director in San Mateo and San Francisco counties, talked about the diverse and richly rewarding work he spearheads in urban forestry. His work currently focuses on sustainable management of urban trees and urban water.

Following lunch, UC President Napolitano offered glowing remarks about UC ANR's contributions and the long-term strategy reflected in the division's new strategic plan. She said she was particularly impressed by ANR's recent work in water, childhood obesity, nutrition education, and Asian citrus psyllid, calling them “areas of critical importance.” She also praised Humiston's leadership in the area of tech innovation and partnerships.

During a Q&A period, the president engaged PAC members on various issues such as potential public-private partnerships that could involve UC ANR, targeted approaches to advocacy and deferred maintenance needs for UC writ large but also for UC ANR and its research and extension centers system, specifically.

The deans gave updates on research and activities occurring at their respective colleges and school.

The next PAC meeting is scheduled for December, also in Oakland. 

Posted on Wednesday, August 30, 2017 at 5:06 PM
  • Author: Mike Janes
 
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