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Posts Tagged: Mary Blackburn

Names in the News

Woodmansee named UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor

Grace Woodmansee
Grace Woodmansee will join UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County as a livestock and natural resources advisor on Jan. 4, 2021.

For the past four years, Woodmansee worked as a research assistant and UC Davis student in the UC Rangelands lab to address management challenges on grazing lands.

“As an undergraduate research assistant at the Chico State Beef Unit, I discovered my passion for rangeland science and management a discipline that combines my interests in social, ecological and livestock production research,” said Woodmansee, who completed her Master of Science in agronomy at UC Davis in November.

“I am very excited to join the community of Siskiyou County and to work with ranchers and land managers to identify research priorities, develop projects and address challenges related to livestock production and natural resource management,” she said.

Woodmansee will be based in Yreka and can be reached at gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu.

Marandi joins Program Planning and Evaluation

Leyla Marandi
Leyla Marandi joined UC ANR's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation as a program policy analyst on Nov. 30. She works with Katherine Webb-Martinez, Kit Alviz, and Chris Hanson to evaluate UC ANR's programs and contribute various annual reports. Marandi will be managing the UC Delivers Blog and will assist colleagues who want to contribute an impact story.  

Before joining UC ANR, Marandi worked for local government and nonprofits on community wellness and food security. She learned UC Cooperative Extension was working toward the same goals. In her last position at the Center for Ecoliteracy, she managed their California Food for California Kids initiative, which works statewide to increase public schools' commitment and capacity for serving fresh and locally grown foods.

She earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California.

Marandi is based in Oakland at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-0100 and leyla.marandi@ucop.edu.

Vargas promoted to community education supervisor 1

Rosa Vargas
Rosa Vargas has been promoted to Community Education Supervisor 1 for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, working for UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Vargas, who holds a Master's in Public Administration and a bachelor's degree in business administration, both from California State University, Stanislaus, began working for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as a Community Education Specialist II in March 2019.

As a public health professional, she has experience coordinating and implementing programs focusing on activity promotion, healthy eating, chronic disease management, maternity management, and tobacco cessation for adults and youth.

Vargas is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at rivargas@ucanr.edu.

 

Sutherland and almond advisors honored for IPM work

Andrew Sutherland
UC Cooperative Extension pest management advisors recently received honors from the International IPM Symposium for their work promoting safe and sustainable pest management.

Andrew Sutherland received an award of excellence for integrated pest management practitioners at academic institutions, and the California Almond IPM Team received a team award of excellence.

The honors are awarded to people or teams based on demonstrated results in:

  • Reducing human health risks
  • Minimizing adverse environmental effects from pests or pest-management activities
  • Improving economic returns by reducing input costs or improving product or service quality
  • Documenting outcomes such as reduced pesticide use, hazard reduction, improved economic returns or positive environmental impacts
  • Developing or implementing innovative strategies
  • Working successfully with teams

Sutherland is being honored for his pioneering work as the first Area Urban IPM Advisor in California, a position he has served since 2012. With no prior program or predecessor to follow, he was faced with the task of serving the IPM needs of over 15 diverse stakeholder groups ranging from structural, industrial and household pest control operators to retail store staff, housing and lodging managers and childcare providers. Some of the focus areas of his program include bed bugs, cockroaches and termite remediation and reduced-risk pest management in childcare facilities and low-income multi-unit housing. One of Sutherland's notable projects was the development of a clearinghouse website for bed bug prevention and management information, serving site-specific and state-specific client groups in the Western United States.

California Almond IPM Team in 2019

The California Almond IPM Team, composed of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and others, is being recognized with the Award of Excellence - Team as a role model for the implementation of integrated pest management practices.

Team members are UC Cooperative Extension advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former Cooperative Extension advisor Emily Symmes, Brad Higbee, who retired from Paramount Farming Company, and Charles Burkes of USDA-ARS.

For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bugs and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption in almond orchards. The team's efforts pushed mating disruption along the IPM continuum from basic to applied research, applied research to demonstration plots, demonstration plots to extension, and extension to adoption and implementation against California's key pests of almonds. The team represents a prime example of the impacts that can be achieved through multi-organizational collaborative efforts. These collaborative efforts included private farming companies, university and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists, extension specialists, growers and their associated commodity board.

For a full list of award winners, see https://ipmsymposium.org/2021/awards.html.

Blackburn honored by Alameda County Board of Supervisors

Mary Blackburn (on left before 2020)

Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, was honored Dec. 8 by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors with a resolution for her 50-plus years of work to help older adults, pregnant teens and other vulnerable people in Alameda County improve their health.

Blackburn, who has worked for UC ANR since 1990, joined the supervisors via Zoom to accept the honor and said she hopes the recognition motivates young people to serve their communities.

Noting her career began amid the racial unrest and turbulent times of the 1960s, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said, "These kinds of accomplishments were pioneering."

Watch the 10-minute presentation at https://youtu.be/PbTwfcU7nBc and read more about Blackburn's career at https://bit.ly/2ShbLUj.

Drill appointed to NUEL Steering Committee

Sabrina Drill
Sabrina Drill has been appointed to the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee for a three-year term (2021-2023). She succeeds Fe Moncloa, who previously held the position. 

NUEL encourages work across programmatic areas to serve the diverse needs of urban communities.

“My own area of interest, from the natural resources viewpoint, is to look at and extend the ways that urban ecosystems can enhance the resilience of cities,” Drill said. “For example, on the engineering side, this can mean applying nature-based solutions, such as floodplain restoration and rain gardens, to improve water supply and quality and to reduce the impacts of flooding. It also means benefiting urban communities by making sure that they have equitable access to the physical and mental health benefits of natural areas – in other words, paying special attention in park-poor lower income areas, and working to reduce barriers to access to nature for communities of color.”

Other extension personnel may focus on nutrition, community gardening and food deserts, or the needs of urban youth for positive development opportunities.  

NUEL seeks to support extension academics working in these areas by providing professional development opportunities and promoting multistate collaboration and knowledge sharing for research and extension programming.

Parker named president of National Institutes for Water Resources

Doug Parker
Doug Parker, director of UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources, has been named president of the National Institutes for Water Resources. NIWR is the organization of Water Resources Research Institutes, including California Institute for Water Resources, across the U.S. There are 54 NIWR institutes, one in every state and the District of Columbia and the territories. 

NIWR cooperates with the U.S. Geological Survey to support, coordinate and facilitate research through the annual base grants, national competitive grants, coordination grants, and in operating the NIWR-USGS Student Internship Program. 

 

Stoddard and Daugovish receive vegetable research award

Scott Stoddard, UCCE vegetable crops farm advisor for Merced and Madera counties, and Oleg Daugovish, UCCE strawberry and vegetable crop advisor for Ventura County, were presented the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award during the Vegetable Crop Program Team meeting Dec. 11.

The UC Davis Plant Sciences Department established the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award and presents it annually to individuals contributing to vegetable research.

Stoddard, who has been with Cooperative Extension for 22 years, focuses his research program primarily on tomatoes, sweet potatoes and melons, with an emphasis on plant fertility, variety evaluation, pest management and particularly weed management.

“He is THE California sweetpotato expert, collaborating with other U.S. sweetpotato production areas on variety development and evaluation,” said Brenna Aegerter, who presented Stoddard's award. “He has also made great contributions to pest management in sweetpotato. Scott is a great colleague and researcher. He is practical, grower-oriented, hardworking and has great ideas.”

“Oleg has contributed to development of Chateau herbicide for celery and strawberry, and several herbicides in strawberry,” said Steve Fennimore, who presented Daugovish's award. “He currently is a key member of a group that is developing precision soilborne disease management strategies for strawberry and vegetable crops in rotation with strawberry. Oleg is a master of languages besides Russian and English. He has learned Spanish and I have heard several of his extension presentations in this language and he is fluent. He is engaged internationally and has done several projects in Africa and the Middle East to help poor farmers in developing countries.”

Oscar Lorenz, a UC Davis professor of vegetable crops from 1941 to 1982, is remembered as an exceptional scientist, administrator and for his dedication to the California vegetable industry.

Each Lorenz award recipient will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000. 

Scott Stoddard
Oleg Daugovish (right)

Names in the News

Vollmer named UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor

Laura Vollmer

Laura Vollmer joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Mateo, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties on Sept. 8, 2020, as a nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor.

For four years prior to becoming a UCCE advisor, Vollmer served as a policy analyst with the Nutrition Policy Institute. At NPI, she helped to provide strategic direction to the National Drinking Water Alliance, managed research, evaluation and policy advocacy efforts related to the charitable food assistance system and wrote policy briefs aimed at improving federal and state nutrition policy. She was a grant writer and institutional giving associate for City Harvest, an antihunger nonprofit in New York City, for two years.

She currently serves as a board member of Oakland-based Youth Outside, which works to ensure equitable access to the outdoors.

Vollmer is a registered dietitian and earned her Master of Public Health at UC Berkeley and Bachelor of Arts at Wesleyan University.

Vollmer is based in Half Moon Bay and can be reached at (650) 276-7429 and
lvollmer@ucanr.edu.

NEAFCS honors Blackburn with Hall of Fame award

Mary Blackburn

Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County, received the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Hall of Fame Award on Sept. 14.

“Your dedication to NEAFCS has been exhibited through the educational resources and leadership you have provided to your community, state and across the nation throughout the years to help families improve their living conditions,” Roxie Price, NEAFCS president, wrote to Blackburn.

Blackburn, who has served with UC Cooperative Extension since 1990, is nationally renowned for her pioneering work delivering research-based nutrition and quality of life education to senior citizens, pregnant teens and other vulnerable groups. Collaborating with the UC CalFresh Healthy Living, UC program staff and UC Master Gardener volunteers, she recently launched a gardening project designed to improve the nutrition, physical activity and overall well-being of senior citizens living in affordable housing in Oakland, with special consideration for seniors with physical limitations.

“Mary Blackburn has really made a difference in the lives of Bay Area residents. Her work with local communities makes it easier for people to stay active and eat healthy food,” said Glenda Humiston, University of California vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “It's wonderful to see her receive national recognition from her peers.”

Read more about Blackburn's career at https://bit.ly/2ShbLUj

Tulare, Kings and Alameda nutrition teams win NEAFCS awards

Representatives of the Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership shown in 2018 when they won the Wellness Team Award from the Harkin Institute for Public Policy & Citizen Engagement.

UC ANR was well-represented at the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Virtual Annual Session awards Sept. 14.

Deepa Srivastava, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor in Tulare and Kings counties, and her CalFresh Healthy Living, UC & EFNEP Team was the second-place Western Region winner of the SNAP-ED/EFNEP award. Program supervisor Teresa Rios-Spicer and nutrition educators Marina Aguilera, Alice Escalante, Grilda G. Gomez, Maria Gutierrez, Mariana Lopez, Eldon Bueno and Susan L Lafferty share in the SNAP-ED/EFNEP award.

The third-place Western Region winner of the Community Partnership award was the Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP). The partnership coordinates and cross-promote SNAP-Ed and other public, private, and community programs, to benefits low income and vulnerable populations. Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor for Alameda County, has represented UCCE in CNAP since the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) providers organized in 2006.

UC CalFresh program supervisor Tuline Baykal, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition family and consumer sciences advisor and Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, share in the Community Partnership award.

Partners include Alameda County Area Agency on Aging, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda County Nutrition Services, City Slicker Farmers, Project EAT Alameda County Office of Education, Oakland Unified School District Health Wellness and Nutrition, Alameda County Social Services Agency, All In To End Hunger, Fresh Approach, Inc., Healthy Oakland People and Environments, Mandela Marketplace, Oakland Food Policy Council, and Alameda County Women, Infant and Children.

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 1:46 PM

Names in the News

Hawau Bojuwon
Bojuwon named NFCS advisor for Kern County

Hawau Bojuwon joined UC ANR on March 26, 2018, as a UCCE area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Kern County.

Prior to joiningUCCE,Bojuwon was working as a regional nutrition and health education specialist and county program director at University of Missouri Extension from 2016 to 2018. In Missouri, she planned, implemented and evaluated educational programs in nutrition, health, food safety, food resources management, and physical activity promotion education to low-income audiences. From 2015 to 2016,Bojuwon was a research assistant in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at University of Mississippi.

In addition to her dietetic and health promotion internships, Bojuwon worked as a clinical and outpatient dietitian where she was responsible for helping people make health-conscious decisions by selecting healthy food options, reading nutrition facts on food labels, reducing fat intake and increasing physical activity. Her work experience includes assessing clients, planning, developing and directing nutritional care activities for them, interviewing and advising clients about their diets, menu planning and development of meaningful health reports in addition to providing nutrition education.

Bojuwon earned two M.S. degrees, one in food and nutrition services and the second in health promotion, and a B.A. in biochemistry from University of Mississippi. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist.

Bojuwon is based in Bakersfield and can be reached at (661) 868-6217 and hebojuwon@ucanr.edu.

Del Pozo-Valdivia named IPM advisor for Central Coast

Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia

Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia joined UCCE on March 23, 2018, as an area integrated pest management (IPM) advisor in Monterey, San Benito and Santa Cruz counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Del Pozo-Valdivia was a post-doctoral research scholar (from August 2016 to March 2018) at North Carolina State University, where he designed, analyzed and reported research on elucidating how Bt resistance influences flight capacity in cotton bollworm and timing of insecticides in Bt cotton to control bollworm. Del Pozo-Valdivia held graduate research assistant positions at North Carolina State University (2012-July 2016) and Washington State University (2009-2011) where he planned, designed, set up and analyzed various experiments managing an invasive Hemipteran and two Noctuid species. From July 2004 to 2008, Del Pozo-Valdivia, who is fluent in Spanish, was chief of pest management at Camposol S.A. in Trujillo, Peru, where he managed weeds, diseases and arthropod pests in commercial and GAP-certified asparagus.

Del Pozo-Valdivia completed a Ph.D. in entomology from North Carolina State University, a M.S. in entomology from Washington State University, and a B.S. in agronomy from La Molina National Agrarian University, Lima, Peru.

Del Pozo-Valdivia is based in Salinas and be reached at (831) 759-7359 and adelpozo@ucanr.edu.

Michael Rethwisch
Rethwisch returns as crop advisor for Riverside County

Michael Rethwisch rejoined UCCE on Nov. 13, 2017, as a crop production and entomology advisor for Palo Verde Valley in Riverside County. From 1999 to 2007, Rethwisch served in Palo Verde Valley as UCCE crop production advisor.

In 2007, Rethwisch moved to University of Nebraska – Lincoln to become a Cooperative Extension educator in crops and water for Butler and Polk counties. He conducted research on a wide variety of local crops, evaluating biostimulants and pesticide efficacy and resulting crop yields. He advised growers on pesticide safety, nitrogen management and water use. His applied research poster was chosen as the 2017 national champion by the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.  He also coached the 2017 4-H horticulture contest national championship team.

From 1994 to 1999, Rethwisch was an extension agent for University of Arizona Cooperative Extension at the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, where he assisted with 4-H events, trained 4-H members in horticulture and conducted pest-control research and field trials on cotton and alfalfa. From 1987 to 1992, Rethwisch was an IPM specialist at University of Arizona Cooperative Extension.

Rethwisch earned an M.S. in entomology and a B.S. in entomology and agronomy from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Rethwisch is based in Blythe and be reached at (760) 921-5064 and mdrethwisch@ucanr.edu

Farzaneh Khorsandi

Khorsandi named ASABE 'New Face of Engineering'

Farzaneh Khorsandi, UC Cooperative Extension specialist for agricultural safety and health at UC Davis, was selected as the “New Face of Engineering” by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.

ASABE named 13 young members to its class of 2018 "New Faces of ASABE – Professionals." From the 13 "New Faces,” Khorsandi was chosen the top honoree and represented ASABE at Engineers Week activities in Washington, D.C., in February.

Through their professional and extracurricular pursuits, New Faces of ASABE, all 35 years of age or younger, represent the best of a profession that endeavors throughout the world to improve quality of life and make sustainable use of precious natural resources. 

Nominated by engineering colleagues and fellow ASABE members, the 2018 Class of New Faces of ASABE was announced Feb. 14 at the 2018 Agricultural Equipment Technology Conference in Louisville.

Larson, Barry win gold for outstanding educational material

Signs in regional parks tell visitors why beef cattle are grazing in local parks.

Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor in the Bay Area, and Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock and range management advisor in Sonoma County, won the Gold Award for Outstanding Educational Material in the Promotional Materials category from the Association of Natural Resource Extension Professionals.

Decisionmakers and the public have little knowledge of animal agriculture production or the ecosystems services provided by livestock grazing on western open space lands, according to Larson and Barry. To address the issue, they created an information campaign promoting the value of cattle grazing and ecosystem services on open space through curriculum and interpretive trail signage.

The advisors collaborated with the California Rangelands Conservation Coalition and three park districts (East Bay Regional Park Districts, Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District, and Sonoma County Regional Parks) to produce signage, factsheets and videos describing ecosystem services and how they relate to California rangelands. The print materials are linked at http://ucanr.edu/sites/BayAreaRangeland

The three videos are posted on UC ANR's YouTube channel:

Susie Kocher, UCCE forestry and natural resources advisor in the Central Sierra area, will accept the award on behalf of Larson and Barry during the awards ceremony May 2 at the ANREP conference in Biloxi, Miss.

APS honors Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis

Howard Judelson
The American Phytopathological Society will present awards to Howard Judelson, Georgios Vidalakis and Krishna Subbarao at the 2018 International Congress of Plant Pathology meeting in Boston, scheduled for July 29-Aug. 3.

Howard Judelson, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside, will be named an APS fellow.

“Over his professional life of more than three decades, Judelson has made significant fundamental contributions to studies of oomycete plant pathogens, and has advanced the discipline and mission of APS,” according to the APS website.

“Judelson is recognized for his contributions towards understanding the basic biology and evolution of oomycete plant pathogens. He established the first techniques for manipulating genes in P. infestans and relatives, created genome resources, and studied cellular pathways involved in pathogenesis. Overall, Judelson made significant contribution and achievements in original research, teaching, and professional and public service.”

Georgios Vidalakis
Georgios Vidalakis, professor and UC Cooperative Extension plant pathology specialist and director of the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, will receive the APS Excellence in Regulatory Affairs and Crop Security Award.

“Vidalakis has made outstanding contributions to regulatory plant pathology and crop security by playing a leading role in the development and implementation of regional, state, national, and international citrus regulatory protocols in collaboration with industry, scientists, research institutions and regulatory agencies. He has played a key role in the transitioning of the Central California Tristeza Eradication Agency towards the more comprehensive Citrus Pest Detection Program with emphasis on huanglongbing (HLB) diagnostics. The rapid detection and eradication of HLB infected trees in major citrus producing areas of California, such as the San Joaquin Valley, is recognized as one of the most important elements in the battle against the deadly HLB. 

“Vidalakis serves on multiple statewide citrus regulatory committees and provides expertise at the highest levels of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). One of his major regulatory contributions to California's citrus was his leading role in the development and implementation of the mandatory (SB 140) Citrus Nursery Stock Pest Cleanliness Program that protected the citrus nurseries in advance of the spread of Asian citrus psyllid (ACP) and the discovery of HLB-diseased trees in California.”

Krishna Subbarao
Krishna Subbarao, professor in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, will receive the Ruth Allen Award, which recognizes outstanding, innovative research that has changed, or has the potential to change, the direction of research in any field of plant pathology.

“Subbarao's seminal research contributions focus on soilborne fungal diseases affecting lettuce and other cool-season vegetable crops. His recent research has provided crucial novel insights into the biology and management of Verticillium and Sclerotinia pathogens. His work presented convincing evidence that V. dahliae strains pathogenic to lettuce were introduced into the production system via infested spinach seeds. 

“Subbarao led the development of the online platform, VertShield, built to share data and diagnostic tools so that others around the world can reliably identify Verticillium pathogens and monitor their movement. Subbarao was also a co-leader in sequencing the first Verticillium genomes, which facilitated subsequent studies on genome evolution and pathogenicity mechanisms.”

Read more about the contributions of Judelson, Subbarao and Vidalakis to the science of plant pathology at https://www.apsnet.org/members/awards/Pages/2018AwardeesAnnounced.aspx

Mary Blackburn
Blackburn wins wellness award

Mary Blackburn, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Alameda County, was honored for her Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership (CNAP) by the Harkin Institute March 21 at the Harkin on Wellness Symposium in Des Moines.

Blackburn's Alameda County Nutrition Action Partnership is one of 11 wellness programs from across the country that the Harkin Institute selected to exemplify best practices for how communities and organizations can invest in health.

The 11 wellness programs are highlighted in the first of what is planned to be an annual Harkin On Wellness (HOW) publication.

CNAP draws on the strengths of established community resources that joined together to coordinate work between USDA-funded partners and unfunded organizations in their community.

Through the partnership, CNAP is able to help implement and work with programs including Safe Routes to School, Alameda County Community Food Bank nutrition education and training, brown bag recovery for low-income seniors, Project EAT (Educate, Act, Thrive), Fresh Approach, Oakland Unified School District Health & Wellness and Nutrition Services, and Get Fresh Stay Healthy Campaign.

Fox named interim Affirmative Action Compliance and Title IX officer

John Fox
John Sims, Affirmative Action Compliance and Title IX officer, has accepted a position with the Office of the President. Effective May 7, John Fox, executive director of Human Resources, will serve as the interim Discrimination, Affirmative Action Compliance and Title IX Officer for UC Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

In this role, Fox will be responsible for receiving reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Fox can be reached at (530) 750-1343 and jsafox@ucanr.edu.

Electronic reports of misconduct, including sexual harassment and discrimination, can also be submitted through the Office of the President's confidential hotline at (800) 403-4744, or the EthicsPoint online reporting system.

More information about prevention and reporting of discrimination, sexual violence and sexual harassment is at http://ucanr.edu/sites/DiscriminationSexual_Violence/Reporting.

 

UC Merced chancellor, 4-H’er and VP discuss community outreach with regents

From left, UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and 4-H member Melina Granados joined VP Humiston to discuss UC ANR impacts with UC regents.

UC VP Glenda Humiston, 4-H member Melina Granados of Riverside County and UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland gave the UC regents a presentation about UC ANR's community outreach and impact. The Public Engagement & Development Committee meeting was held at the UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center on Jan. 24, 2018, in San Francisco.

Opening the discussion, Humiston gave an overview of ANR, explaining that for 150 years ANR has been bringing the power of UC directly to the people in all California counties. Melina, who was born in Mexico, talked about her role as president of the Eastside Eagles 4-H club and what she has learned. Leland described joint projects between UC Merced and ANR in climate adaptation, nutrition and drone technology research.

Watch the 25-minute recording of the UC ANR presentation to the regents below, or visit https://youtu.be/ptFS8HwlsjE.

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 12:37 AM
Focus Area Tags: Economic Development, Environment, Family

AI can help growers more precisely manage their fields, Humiston tells Little Hoover Commission

Glenda Humiston gave testimony on the impacts of artificial intelligence in the agricultural sector to the Little Hoover Commission in Sacramento on Jan. 25.

Artificial intelligence, or AI, can improve precision agriculture by using sensed environmental data to “learn” and continually adapt, VP Glenda Humiston told the Little Hoover Commission at a hearing in Sacramento on Jan. 25.

The Little Hoover Commission is reviewing the impacts of artificial intelligence. While there is no singular definition, artificial intelligence encompasses a broad range of technologies that seek to approximate some aspect of human intelligence or behavior.  

Throughout its study, the commission will consider the potential policy role of California state government in areas such as regulation, workforce development and retraining.

Humiston was asked to give a statement on the impacts of artificial intelligence in the agricultural sector.

“California's working landscapes face some critical challenges; among those are drought, climate change, air quality, soil health, pests, pathogens and invasive species,” she said. “Additionally, rural/urban conflicts and urban sprawl continue to reduce available farm land and make viability of food production more difficult.

“Of importance to today's hearing, California's labor-intensive crops are facing increasing difficulty accessing necessary labor – both skilled and unskilled. This situation has led growers and universities to seek solutions through mechanization, automation and other new technologies.”

She sees opportunities in precision agriculture for growers and ranchers to more precisely manage their operations by using site- and crop-specific data gathered by new technologies.

“Artificial intelligence improves this further by using the sensed environmental data to ‘learn' and continually adapt to ever-changing conditions as it receives data that strengthens the computer's ‘intelligence,'” she said.

Humiston also outlined some of the challenges to harnessing the power of AI for agriculture.

“Artificial intelligence is extremely difficult in agriculture because of the huge amount of variability in environmental conditions across a single field,” she said. “This requires many sensors, complex algorithms, and large real-time data processing – all integrated and working together to inform decisions and actions.”

In a 2014 Pew Research Center survey, the vast majority of the 1,896 experts anticipated that robotics and artificial intelligence will “permeate wide segments of daily life by 2025.” The commission's artificial intelligence project will investigate the shape and speed of these changes in California and in society.

Through its public process, the commission intends to study the key challenges of artificial intelligence in California, its economic implications and how it can be used to solve societal ills. The commission will review issues such as justice, equity, safety and privacy. The project will consider recent studies on workforce impacts, which could include both job creation and job displacement. Possible mitigations and worker protections will be discussed as will examples of efforts to plan and prepare for innovations and labor transformations. 

To read Humiston's full testimony to the Little Hoover Commission, visit http://www.lhc.ca.gov/sites/lhc.ca.gov/files/CurrentStudies/ArtificialIntelligence/WrittenTestimony/HumistonJan2018.pdf.

 

Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 12:20 AM
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

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