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Posts Tagged: Kathryn Uhrich

ANR exchanges ideas, creates new collaborations in Ontario

“I don't know about you, but I'm really excited to have this gathering,” VP Glenda Humiston said, as she greeted the people attending the 2018 ANR Statewide Conference in Ontario. More than 650 people participated in the conference held April 9-12 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Ontario Airport. Humiston noted it was the first time since 2013 that all ANR employees had been invited to meet with their colleagues in person and discuss their work. 

Discussing innovation, panel member Wendell Brase of UC Irvine said ANR is a resource with UC because it is “connected with the public. You’re trusted in your community.”

There were keynote presentations, science sessions, trainings, program team and workgroup meetings, numerous breakout sessions to attend, puzzles to solve in the resource room, a pop-up studio for News and Information Outreach in Spanish interviews and dozens of research posters to read. ANR leaders discussed how to chart a sustainable future for ANR. Wendell Brase, UC Irvine associate chancellor for sustainability; Sam Traina, UC Merced vice chancellor of research and economic development; and Kathryn Uhrich, UC Riverside dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, whose research has spawned start-up companies, discussed opportunities for innovation. Wendy Powers, associate vice president, announced the winners of the Distinguished Service Awards

And in between, there was time to network with colleagues over meals and in the hallways.

ANR partners also joined the event, including members of the UC President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Great partnerships

“Think about what California's agriculture would be like without Cooperative Extension,” said California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross, ex-officio PAC member and keynote speaker for the first day. “It doesn't just happen because of great farmers. It happens because of great partnerships. ANR is in every county.”

“I cannot tell you enough, what an asset you are to this state and to the industry that I love, agriculture, and to every consumer who has the joy of imbibing in our beverages and foods that come from these marvelous lands.”

Unique role in UC

On Tuesday afternoon, UC President Janet Napolitano joined the group. She called out ANR's work in climate change adaptation, agricultural innovation, food systems, food security, and nutrition education and noted the unique role it serves in advancing UC's Global Food, Carbon Neutrality, UC-Mexico initiatives.

Serving the Latino community requires more than translating words into Spanish, explained Lilia O'Hara, editor of San Diego Hoy, and Ricardo Vela.

She lauded 4-H for achieving parity in Latino youth participation in its programs, saying, “I think that says a lot about ANR's values and the impact it can have.”

Praising UCCE's outreach to economically disadvantaged Californians, the president said, “I'm going to continue to fight hard for funding for these programs at the federal level.”

Napolitano said she was pleased with the overall federal budget, noting that Congress increased funding for the National Institutes for Health and the National Science Foundation. “The University of California gets more NIH and NSF funding than any other university in the country. Almost 10 percent of the NIH research budget comes to the University of California so we have a lot at stake in those federal funds.” 

For updates on UC's state and federal budgets, Napolitano urged everyone to sign up at https://www.universityofcalifornia.edu/support-uc/ucan.

From left, Ramiro Lobo and Loren Oki talk with Mike Mellano, PAC member and one of California's delegates to the APLU Council on Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching.

On the Huron report recommendations for moving ANR out of the Office of the President's structure, Napolitano said she has appointed a committee to review the options and offer its own recommendations before the November regents meeting.

Building pathways

The crowd was inspired by Antwi Akom, UC San Francisco and San Francisco State University professor and founding director of Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab (SOUL) and co-founder and CEO of Streetwyze. In his presentation “Race, Space, Place and Waste: How Innovation, Education, and Inspiration Can Fearlessly Catalyze California Towards Becoming the World's Leader in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management,” Akom spoke passionately about building more pathways for a more diverse array of Californians to participate in ANR programs.

Keynote speaker Antwi Akom (center back in hat) was followed into the hall by ANR members who wanted to know more about Streetwyze.

“That's the first time I've seen members of the audience follow a keynote speaker out of the room,” Mark Bell, vice provost for Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, later commented on the rock star treatment Akom received after his talk.

No layoffs

In her closing comments of the conference, Humiston said, “It was heartwarming to hear so many people tell legislators that ANR programs are important to them,” at the California Farm Bill hearing April 11 in Sacramento. If approved, the bill introduced by Assemblymember Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) would enable ANR to hire 45 more UCCE advisors and would offer incentives to adopt agricultural technology.

Concerning UC's budget challenges, Humiston said ANR is facing reductions in funding that will be absorbed through a slowdown in hiring and other means. 

“There will be no layoffs. I took this job to grow ANR not shrink it,” she said emphatically. “The more the people of California understand what ANR does, the more they want us to thrive and be in place to better serve their needs.”

Doug Parker talks with PAC member Steve Sinton and his wife Jane Sinton.

Humiston declared the conference productive and successful and thanked the Strategic Initiative leaders and conference and steering committee for planning the event and the Program Support Unit and volunteers for their hard work.

Doug Parker, Water SI, and Keith Nathaniel, Healthy Families and Communities SI, were the executive co-chairs and David Doll, Sustainable Food Systems; John Harper, Sustainable Natural Ecosystems; and Cheryl Wilen, Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases, were co-chairs.

The steering committee was composed of Michael Anderson, College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, UC Riverside; Mark Bell, Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs/Institutes; Sherry Cooper, Program Support Unit; John Fox, Human Resources; Chris Greer, UCCE San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties; Brad Hanson, Department of Plant Sciences, UC Davis; Darren Haver, South Coast Research and Extension Center and UCCE Orange County; Mike Janes, Strategic Communications; Maggi Kelly, Informatics and Geographic Information Systems and UC Berkeley; Neil McRoberts, Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis; Katie Panarella, Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences Program and Policy; Maurice Pitesky, School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Davis; Joni Rippee, Program Planning and Evaluation; Rachel Surls, UCCE Los Angeles County; and Patti Wooten-Swanson, UCCE San Diego County.

ANR leadership plans to host the next ANR Statewide Conference in 2021.

Continue the conversations

To see snapshots from the conference on Twitter, search for the hashtag #UCANRconf2018.

If you missed the poster sessions, most of the project posters can be seen by clicking on the title links at http://ucanr.edu/sites/statewideconference2018/Posters_and_Displays.

“I've heard great things about a number of the sessions and have been discussing some follow-up ideas to build on concepts covered during some of those sessions,” Wendy Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog. “It would be a disappointment if we all left the meeting, got caught up in our obligations and programs, and didn't continue the conversations.”

Posted on Wednesday, May 2, 2018 at 1:44 PM

PAC discusses innovation and advocacy

President Napolitano, center, jokes with PAC chair Don Bransford, left.

Kicking off the meeting by expressing sympathy for everyone affected by wildfires – including the ANR members and Master Gardener volunteers who lost their homes – UC President Janet Napolitano met with the President's Advisory Commission (PAC) at their biannual meeting Dec. 13 at the Courtyard by Marriott in Emeryville.

President Napolitano focused her remarks on the challenges that remain with our food system, saying that she sees endless possibilities for ANR to bring food and ag together with science and technology for agricultural innovation. She also praised ANR for expanding access to its programs and achieving parity in participation of Latino youth in 4-H activities.

PAC member Craig McNamara, left, talks with Anne Megaro.
Asked about UC's role in production of the state's newly legal crop, Napolitano asked for a report from a systemwide group studying how UC can get involved in cannabis research without running afoul of federal law. VP Chief of Staff Jan Corlett, who represents ANR in that group, offered to relay the PAC's comments at their next meeting.

Napolitano invited the PAC members to join the UC Advocacy Network, or UCAN, to keep informed about state and federal issues that impact the university.

VP Glenda Humiston introduced Anne Megaro, governmental and community relations director. Megaro, who has a Ph.D. in animal science and was the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture's consultant for five years, spoke about her background and discussed how she is working with academics to cultivate relationships with elected officials by sharing stories about their work.

“Every legislator should know ANR because we're in their district,” Megaro said.

“How can I help you talk about ANR?” she asked the PAC members, who responded positively.

Gabe Youtsey discussed ANR's agriculture innovation strategy.

Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer, described how the Internet of Things, data analysis, robotics, artificial intelligence, drones and plant biotechnology are helping farmers cope with challenges, including workforce shortages, water scarcity and pest pressure. The Apps for Ag hackathons have produced useful tools, but poor rural connectivity is limiting the benefits. 

Dean Lairmore snapped a selfie with President Napolitano
“If we don't solve rural connectivity,” Youtsey warned, “We'll have ag brick instead of ag tech because it won't work.”

He also described the recently launched The VINE, which is designed to catalyze a statewide system to support innovation, entrepreneurship, expand economic opportunities and develop new technology for agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. Youtsey said food and agriculture need “patient capital” investors because venture capitalists desire a fast return on their investment.

Associate Vice President Wendy Powers briefed the commission on ANR's strategic plan. Our “Big Hairy Audacious Goal” is for every Californian to recognize the positive impact ANR has in their lives. The actions will be guided by UCANR's core values: excellence, community, innovation, inclusion, collaboration and integrity. Public value statements are being developed to shape our efforts and “they will give us the elevator speech to articulate who we are and what we do,” Powers said.

Dean Uhrich posted a selfie with President Napolitano on Instagram.
Powers also updated the PAC on recent successes, including boosting Giving Tuesday donations by 24 percent over 2016. She announced that 4-H increased its statewide youth enrollment by 18 percent and number of 4-H volunteers by 15 percent and that ANR has completed a salary equity program for staff and advisors and continues to improve internet speeds in county and REC facilities.

In the deans' updates, Keith Gilless announced that in June he will be stepping down as dean of the College of Natural Resources after 11 years to return to his academic work in fire research. Deans Helene Dillard of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Kathryn Uhrich of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Michael Lairmore of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Gilless shared news of awards and large grants received and major projects underway in their respective colleges and school.

In wrapping up the meeting, Humiston announced that Mike Mellano, Dina Moore and Jean Marie Peltier will represent California in Washington D.C. for the CARET (Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching) meeting in March to advocate for agricultural research and the Farm Bill.

She invited the PAC members to meet next in April in Ontario, in conjunction with the ANR statewide meeting.

UC ANR goes to Washington

The UC ANR group at the nation's capitol from left, Gabe Youtsey, Lucas Frerichs, Clare Gupta, Dina Moore, Bill Frost,Glenda Humiston, Lorrene Ritchie, Mike Mellano, Cher Watte and Wendy Powers.

“We visited offices of 26 of California's 55-member congressional delegation in two days!” said Lucas Frerichs, government and community relations manager. 

On March 6-9, a UC ANR delegation attended the 35th Annual Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meetings in Washington D.C. CARET is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). They also made congressional visits to explain the importance of science and research to California.

From left, Humiston, Congressman Jimmy Panetta and Frerichs.
“Our primary purpose for the visits was to show the members of Congress all the good work UC ANR is doing throughout California, whether it's through our Cooperative Extension efforts, 4-H Youth Development program, nutrition programs, Integrated Pest Management, Master Gardeners, etc.,” Frerichs said, “and the value that Californians receive from the money Congress allocates to the university for UC ANR programs.”

Vice President Glenda Humiston was joined by AVP Wendy Powers, UCB College of Natural Resources Dean Keith Gilless, UCR College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences Dean Kathryn Uhrich, Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie, UC Cooperative Extension Specialist Clare Gupta, Chief Innovation Officer Gabe Youtsey, and Frerichs. Industry partners Bill Frost, former UC ANR AVP; Cher Watte, executive director of the California Asparagus Commission; Mike Mellano, fresh cut flower grower; Dina Moore, Humboldt County rancher; and Jean-Mari Peltier, managing partner of Environmental Solutions Group, served as CARET delegates from California.

The group split up into teams to visit the offices of Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, agriculture committee members, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and other California representatives.

Although no U.S. secretary of agriculture had been confirmed at the time of their visit, members expressed their support for agriculture.

“One thing that members of Congress – Republicans and Democrats – can certainly agree on is that the support for agriculture and the University of California is strong,” Frerichs said.

Read more about the CARET visits in Powers' ANR Adventures blog

From left, Youtsey, Mellano, Congressman Eric Swalwell, Ritchie, Frost and Powers.

ANR develops innovation incubation strategy

Fred Mendez (center), of Union Bank, was among the 40 people who met on Aug. 30 to develop a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources.

“If UC ANR isn't an incubator, I don't know what is. Furthermore, I would argue that the partnership of our land-grant university system with Cooperative Extension is the original and most productive incubator that the world has ever seen,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in the October-December 2015 issue of California Agriculture.  

Since joining ANR, Humiston has been working to expand UC ANR's incubation activities by joining with diverse partners to develop a much broader innovation infrastructure specifically designed to support intellectual property, innovation, entrepreneurship, tech transfer, startups and commercialization aimed at agriculture, natural resources and rural communities. 

“A lot of people have ideas, but they don't know how to be business leaders. An incubator connects them with the things they need to be successful as new entrepreneurs,” said Gabe Youtsey, chief information officer.

"We're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure,” Humiston said.

To kick off development of such a system, Humiston brought together 40 people on Aug. 30 with a wide range of expertise and representing a variety of sectors: agriculture, banking, business, government, technology and higher education – including leaders of several successful incubators. The purpose of the meeting, held at the ANR building in Davis, was to engage the group in developing a comprehensive strategy to nurture new technologies and innovative businesses for agriculture and natural resources. 

“We're not looking to reinvent the wheel or duplicate existing efforts,” Humiston said, explaining that she hopes to support and leverage the strengths and efforts of partners.

Christine Gulbranson, UC senior vice president of research innovation and entrepreneurship, and Reg Kelly of UC San Francisco, who created QB3, – one of UC's best performing incubators – participated in the session. The quantitative biologists at UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and UC Santa Cruz who comprise QB3 take on challenges in biology using physics, chemistry, and computer science. QB3's Startup in a Box provides legal and grant-writing help for biotech startups.

“We want to take the QB3 model and modify it for ANR,” Humiston said. “But we don't have the resources to build a statewide system by ourselves so we're catalyzing like-minded partners to jointly develop the needed statewide innovation infrastructure.”

Such an innovation system could benefit a wide array of entrepreneurs in rural areas and help to commercialize ideas generated by UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors.

“Over the past eight years, ANR researchers have filed 148 patents,” Humiston said. “However, it is unclear if many of those had the support they needed to go the next step.”

Participants identified resources available and gaps around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement.

At the meeting, the group divided into five tables of eight people. Each table had representatives of UC ANR, various UC campuses, state and federal government, funding institutions, incubators, and different industries. They discussed issues around innovation, place, talent, stewardship and engagement, answering the following questions:

  • What exists now?
  • Where are the gaps that need to be filled?
  • Which of these gaps could UC ANR help catalyze and fill, either with partners or on its own?
  • How could this work to fill the gaps be funded?
  • How do we measure success?

Conversations were lively and many ideas were brought forth for specific projects and other implementation. “It's really exciting,” said Humiston. “People were jazzed. Virtually all of the participants said they want to work with us on next steps.”

In addition to Humiston and Youtsey, AVP Wendy Powers and UCCE advisors David Doll and Andre Biscaro participated for ANR. Consultant Meg Arnold is writing up a report, which is expected to be released in early October. 

Names in the News

Konrad Mathesius
Mathesius named UCCE agronomy advisor in Capitol Corridor

Konrad Mathesius (pronounced “Muh-tay-zee-us”) is the new UCCE agronomy advisor for Yolo, Sacramento and Solano counties.

Mathesius, who joined ANR on June 27, will be working with growers and pest control advisers in the Capitol Corridor area to address issues related to soils, pests, diseases and production efficiency. In addition to collaborating on a few projects with UCCE advisor Rachael Long in alfalfa, dry beans and sunflowers, he will work on a wide range of agronomic crops including corn, wheat, barley and safflower. 

Mathesius will work with growers and PCAs to mitigate crop losses by addressing pest and disease pressures and to help them comply with nitrogen, pesticide and water regulations. He also plans to develop crop guidelines based on difficulties associated with specific soils in the Capitol Corridor.

The native of Logan, Utah, earned his undergraduate degree at Utah State and his master's degrees in soil science and international agricultural development at UC Davis.

“After graduation, I spent a few years working in the private sector, where I gained a sense of respect for bottom lines and the hustle to make ends meet,” Mathesius said. “I intend to bring the question of cost and efficiency into most, if not all of my work.”

Based in Woodland, Mathesius can be reached at kpmathesius@ucanr.edu and (530) 666-8704.

Kathryn Stein
Stein joins ANR as AVP executive assistant

Kathryn Stein has joined ANR as executive assistant to Wendy Powers, Associate Vice President 

Prior to joining ANR, Stein worked in the College of Engineering Dean's office at UC Berkeley for three and a half years. She earned a B.S. in environmental horticulture and urban forestry from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis. While in Davis, she worked for the Whole Earth Festival, an annual sustainability festival on the UC Davis campus.  

Stein is based on the 10th floor of UCOP and can be reached at Kathryn.Stein@ucop.edu  and (510) 587-6240.

Martinez and Au receive NIH Career Development Awards

Two researchers at the Nutrition Policy Institute have been awarded K01 Career Development Awards by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lauren Au will research disparities in the relationship between the school nutrition environment and childhood obesity and Suzanna Martinez will study sleep duration and risk for obesity in Mexican-American children.

Martinez will receive $895,620 and Au will receive $840,871. Martinez has also been accepted into the K Scholars Program at UC San Francisco, which will provide her with peer support and mentorship to conduct the study.

Barbara Allen-Diaz
Allen-Diaz honored by APLU

Barbara Allen-Diaz, who retired as ANR vice president in 2015, is among five Land Grant university leaders recognized for Excellence in National Leadership by the Experiment Station Section of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU).

The other individuals honored with Allen-Diaz were:

  • Walter A. Hill, Dean, College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences, Tuskegee University
  • Steve Slack, formerly associate vice president for agricultural administration and director of OARDC, The Ohio State University (recently retired)
  • Daniel Rossi, formerly executive director, Northeastern Regional Association of State Agricultural Experiment Station Directors (recently retired)
  • William (Bill) Brown, dean of research and director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Tennessee

The resolution reads in part: “These leaders have personified the highest level of excellence by enhancing the cause and performance of the Regional Associations and Experiment Station Section in achieving their mission and the Land-grant ideal.”

The awards were announced at the annual Experiment Station Section meeting on Sept. 21 in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2016 at 5:00 PM
 
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