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Outstanding academics recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Outstanding work recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Outstanding work recognized with Distinguished Service Awards

Sponsored by UC ANR and Academic Assembly Council, the Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) recognize service and academic excellence in UC Cooperative Extension over a significant period of time. 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, and outstanding leader.

Congratulations to the 2020 DSA recipients!

Outstanding Research – Carlos Crisosto

Carlos Crisosto on right

Carlos Crisosto, UC Cooperative Extension postharvest physiology specialist, has demonstrated an exceptional research program with impacts on both the California food industry and consumers through his work on postharvest handling of tree fruits and nuts. His work has had a significant impact – reducing food loss, improving fruit quality and safety, and expanding markets for California agriculture. Highlights of Crisosto's work include his incorporation of consumer perceptions into the measurement of fruit quality, collaborative development and implementation of protocols for fruit ripening, transportation and retail handling, and research into consumer perceptions of different cultivars. His outstanding research has been coupled with an outreach and education program that included extension through site visits, in person workshops, short courses, manuals, popular articles, websites and collaboration. In addition to his academic successes, Crisosto was awarded the Industry Distinguished Service & Achievement Award by the California fig industry in recognition of supporting cultivar development and improving marketing and utilization of dried and fresh figs over his career. The success of Crisosto's program is a testament to the outstanding work in applied research that can be accomplished through UC ANR.

Outstanding Extension – Andrew Sutherland

Andrew Sutherland with palm weevil

Andrew Sutherland has shaped his pest management program based on his clientele needs since the beginning of his career at UC ANR in 2012 and has had great success implementing pest management programs in urban areas. He has done an extensive amount of work on bed bug, termite and cockroach control. He has worked with several agencies including structural pest control businesses, public health nurses, multi-family housing managers and UC Master Gardeners to deliver practical information on pest management. One ongoing project that has both a public health and an environmental impact in California is bait station systems for control of subterranean termites. The project is evaluating efficacy and costs associated with bait systems and looking into alternatives to liquid termicides, which have been identified as serious environmental contaminants in CA's surface water systems. His work has benefited urban populations in general, but has also reached under-served communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. Sutherland has made a major effort to reach out to Hispanic audiences, producing materials in Spanish and hosting public presentations and outreach events in low-income areas of his territory. He has worked with industry leaders collaborating on applied research projects considering economic challenges when designing programs that would be beneficial and relevant to his clientele.

Outstanding New Academic – Mae Culumber

Mae Culumber

Mae Culumber has been the CE nut crops advisor in Fresno County since June 2016. She has developed an outstanding applied research program in only 4 years, which addresses clientele needs and is in alignment with the ANR Strategic Vision. Her work provides innovative solutions to identify orchard management practices that maximize the efficient use of water and nutrient resources, and promote biochemical and physical soil characteristics that will lead to improvements in soil health and enhanced vigor and productivity of nut crops. Culumber's work primarily focused on innovative efforts that improved food system productivity. She established successful collaborations with advisors and specialists from UC Cooperative Extension, faculty from UC Davis Plant Sciences, and scientists from USDA-ARS Davis and Parlier to examine greenhouse gas emissions, and soil biochemical carbon and nitrogen dynamics in newly established orchards after whole orchard recycling. Her leadership of this basic and applied research team is exceptional for a newer advisor in the Assistant rank. Culumber recognizes and invests in developing useful information, strategies and trainings to impact and improve clientele practices, that also have statewide public value by protecting California's natural resources.

Outstanding Team – AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team

Khaled Bali speaks at an AB 589 Water Measurement Training in Cottonwood.

This team of CE specialists and advisors rapidly developed and coordinated a training program that met the needs of UC ANR's farming and ranching clientele, in a cost-effective and timely manner. California Senate Bill 88 requires all water right holders who have previously diverted or intend to divert more than 10 ac-ft per year to measure and report the water they divert to the State. For most ranchers and diverters impacted by SB 88, complying with the reporting requirements is expensive and burdensome. The cost and availability of professionals to design, install and calibrate diversion measurement systems resulted in a grass roots effort by California Cattlemen's Association and California Farm Bureau to seek an educational alternative for surface water diverters. With support from the University of California, Assembly Bill 589 (AB 589) was introduced and carried. It passed through the Assembly and the Senate with no opposition and was signed by Governor Brown. The bill allows diverters that complete the UC course to install and maintain measurement devices to comply with SB 88, saving them time and money. Working with industry (California Cattlemen's Association) and regulators (State Water Resources Control Board), the UC team provided a huge service to farming and ranching clientele, and the state. This is a true testament to UC ANR's ability to work with groups of differing interests in order to reach a common goal. The UC team has conducted 20 workshops since the bill was passed and certified over 1,200 diverters. One letter of reference indicated a cost savings of more than $4,000 on his ranch alone.

The AB 589 Water Measurement Training Team includes:

  • Larry Forero, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Shasta County
  • Khaled Bali, UCCE irrigation water management specialist, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Allan Fulton, UCCE irrigation and water resources advisor, Tehama County
  • Daniele Zaccaria, UCCE associate Cooperative Extension specialist, UC Davis
  • Theresa Becchetti, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Stanislaus County
  • Josh Davy, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, Tehama County
  • Morgan Doran, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, UC Cooperative Extension Capitol Corridor
  • Julie Finzel, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor, Kern County
  • Cari Koopmann Rivers, former UCCE director, Siskiyou County
  • Glenn McGourty, UCCE director and farm advisor, Mendocino County
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE livestock advisor, Fresno County
  • Devii Rao, UCCE director and livestock and natural resources advisor, San Benito County
  • Tracy Schohr, UCCE livestock and natural resource advisor, Plumas-Sierra and Butte counties
  • Scott Stoddard, UCCE director and farm advisor, Merced County
  • Matthew Shapero, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Ventura & Santa Barbara counties
  • Rhonda Smith, UCCE viticulture advisor, Sonoma County
  • Laura Snell, UCCE director, Modoc County
  • Jeff Stackhouse, UCCE livestock & natural resource advisor, Humboldt & Del Norte counties
  • Julé Rizzardo, assistant deputy director, Division of Water Rights, State Water Resources Control Board-Sacramento
  • Kyle Ochenduszko, deputy public works director, City of Benicia
  • Brian Coats, senior water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
  • Jeff Yeazell, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento
  • Chuck Arnold, water resource control engineer, SWRCB-Sacramento

Outstanding Leader – Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule

Katherine Soule holds a number formal leadership roles in ANR including leading several statewide programs locally, serving as director of UCCE in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as Academic Assembly Council president. Soule holds informal leadership roles as a mentor and colleague. Outside of ANR, she leads a national working group, is a local non-profit board member, and leads research and development for a professional organization.When Soule became county director (July 2017), she began strategic planning focused on building relationships with key stakeholders (administrative, clientele, academics, and community partners) and addressing the needs, opportunities, and challenges UCCE faces in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. Her efforts focused on improving fiscal management, increasing understanding of UCCE, and eliminating program inefficiencies.

Soule uses strengths-based leadership and her leadership position to support and communicate the goals of academics' programs and their successes, while ensuring the fiscal resources needed to carry out their visions. She recognizes the strengths and expertise of those she leads and provides others with meaningful opportunities to develop shared visions and long-term objectives. She has supported the development and advancement of several team members, who have completed advanced degrees while working for UCCE, taken higher-level positions, and increased their professional contributions to their respective fields. She is sought throughout the ANR system to provide guidance and support for academics, statewide leaders and other personnel.

UC ANR introduces Market-based Adjustment Plan for staff salaries

Attracting and retaining highly qualified employees is a top priority for UC ANR. To be more competitive among many diverse employment markets, UC ANR leadership has developed a plan to address the competitiveness of our staff salaries. 

As part of UC ANR's overall compensation strategy, VP Humiston approved a four-year Market-based Adjustment Plan for non-represented staff to ensure salaries of existing staff are better aligned with the labor market. All non-represented staff are eligible to participate in this plan, regardless of their position's funding source. For some whose compensation has fallen behind market rates, the Division is making a significant effort to address this issue, as long as it is fiscally viable and prudent to do so.

Using UC Career Tracks, UC ANR Human Resources will be able to identify, review and address the salaries of non-represented staff members whose pay is not in the targeted competitive zone. This strategy will be implemented over four years, which will allow us to better manage the fiscal impact of the salary adjustments.

Eligible employees will be notified individually within the next few weeks. These market-based adjustments are separate and distinct from any merit program approved centrally by President Napolitano.

For more information, please read the FAQs at http://ucanr.edu/sites/ANRSPU/Supervisor_Resources/Compensation/Equity_

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 1:03 PM

UC ANR adds Matching Grants Program

AVP Wendy Powers announced that UC ANR has added another funding mechanism to its 2017 funding opportunities/grants website: a Matching Grants Program.

For grant opportunities that require matching funds, this program will provide cash resources for UC ANR academics to submit as matching funds in their proposals for external funding support of research, outreach or training efforts.

Proposed projects must be within the scope of the UC ANR Strategic Vision. All UC ANR academics with PI status are eligible to apply. Proposals will be accepted at any time, as the opportunities present themselves.  Proposals will be submitted to the Associate Vice President and reviewed by the UC ANR Strategic Initiative Leaders and two UC ANR Vice Provosts. Because we recognize that these are time-sensitive projects, the review process will take no more than one month.

Requests for matching funds will be no more than three pages in length and must include a link to the request for proposals, a justification indicating why it is appropriate for UC ANR to provide the cash match, description of the project (study design, educational framework/audience, training program, etc.) and detailed budget. Requests of up to a 1:1 cash match will be considered. No awards will be made until a contract between the grantor and UC ANR is executed. In addition to any reporting required by the grantor, all projects will require a final report with stated outcomes/impacts or anticipated outcomes/impacts. A final report to the grantor may be substituted if the final report contains outcome/impact information.

UC ANR will provide a limited pool of funds for this grant program on an annual basis. The pool of funding will be managed to ensure year round availability for timely projects.

For details about the Matching Grants Program and other ANR funding opportunities and grants, visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/Divisionwide_Programs/2017_Funding_Opportunities_Grants.

For questions about the Matching Grants Program, please contact Powers at wendy.powers@ucop.edu.

 

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017 at 10:11 AM

UC ANR to boost 4-H and MFP county support, better integrate YFC programs

The extended vacancy of the Youth, Families and Communities Director position (vacant 17 months) has given UC ANR leadership time to  consider program needs and how the Division can best meet those needs moving forward. After reflection, collecting recommendations from the respective Statewide Directors and gathering input from the broader ANR community, AVP Wendy Powers has decided not to fill the YFC director position.

“Interim co-directors Shannon Horrillo and Katie Panarella have provided excellent leadership and afforded the Division an opportunity to invest the unused salary provision to further strengthen and support the YFC program,” Powers said. 

Funds designated for the YFC director position will be reinvested into YFC programs to support growth and new opportunities. The statewide program directors identified program integration among 4-H Youth Development; Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences; Master Food Preserver and Master Gardener programs as a key priority.

“In support of their vision, we will hire a Program Integration Coordinator that will support efforts to integrate across programs and disciplines to maximize extension efforts and identify new multidisciplinary funding opportunities,” Powers said. “This is consistent with the original intent of having a YFC program and a goal within the UC ANR strategic plan to better integrate and focus our efforts.” The position will be released in the coming months with interviews anticipated in May.

“Subsequently, based on the directors' recommendations, we will invest in hiring a Master Food Preserver and Food Entrepreneurship Academic Coordinator,” Powers said. “This position will bring together our existing work with home food preservation, cottage foods and innovation in agriculture to best address the food security needs of California and to pursue funding opportunities to implement programming.

She also announced plans to hire a part-time 4-H online data system administrator to centralize some 4-H online administrative functions at the state level, reducing the administrative workload on 4-H county-based staff and increasing technical assistance and support.

“We believe this plan will provide the needed support to position YFC for growth and to meet future needs,” said Powers.

Shannon Horrillo will continue permanently as the statewide 4-H director and Katie Panarella as the statewide Nutrition, Family and Consumer Sciences director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program. They will continue working in partnership with Missy Gable, the statewide Master Gardener director and co-director of the Master Food Preserver Program to lead these high-priority ANR statewide programs and integration in ways that leverage their assets for greater collective impact.   

 

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