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Posts Tagged: Michael Rethwisch

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Spinelli named UCCE horticulture advisor

Gerry Spinelli

Gerardo Spinelli joined UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County as a production horticulture advisor on Oct. 12, 2020. He will work with nurseries, floriculture and controlled environment plant production.

Prior to joining UCCE San Diego, Spinelli worked for the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz county since 2015 in irrigation and nitrogen management for strawberry and lettuce. He collaborated with Michael Cahn, UCCE advisor and technical expert for the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency's conservation program, to promote the adoption of CropManage to optimize nitrogen and irrigation in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties.

He has also worked on nutrient and pest management in vegetables, lettuce hydroponic production and anaerobic soil disinfestation in banana at University of Hawaii, Manoa, and was a UCCE farm advisor for irrigation and vegetables in Stanislaus County. He also worked in Honduras on an irrigation development project providing technical assistance for smallholder corn and watermelon growers, and in London designing and installing landscape irrigation systems. He also lived in Lebanon, where he introduced integrated pest management in apple and olive production, rebuilt irrigation channels for tobacco and vegetable growers, began a queen bee breeding program and built sewage lines for the Wavel refugee camp.

Spinelli grew up in Italy on an olive and vegetable farm on the hills overlooking Florence and is fluent in Italian, English, French and Spanish.

He earned a B.S. in agronomy, an M.S. in tropical agriculture at the University of Florence, and a Master of International Agricultural Development and Ph.D. in horticulture and agronomy at UC Davis, focusing on plant physiology and water stress in almond orchards.  

Spinelli is based in San Diego and can be reached at (858) 822-7679 and gspinelli@ucanr.edu.

Amaral named pomology, water and soils advisor

Doug Amaral

Douglas Amaral joined UCCE in Kings and Tulare as pomology, water and soils advisor on Oct. 1, 2020.

Before joining UCCE, Amaral was a project scientist and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis. His research has focused on the physiology and biochemistry of plant nutrient uptake, and molecular and genetic aspects of nutrient acquisition and tolerance in citrus, almonds, pistachios and other crops.

Amaral, who was born and raised in Brazil, is fluent in Portuguese and English. He earned a Ph.D. in plant and soil sciences at the University of Delaware, an M.S. in plant nutrition and soil fertility at Federal University of Lavras, Brazil, and a B.S. in biological sciences at University Center of Lavras, Brazil.

Amaral is based in Hanford and can be reached at (559) 852-2737 and amaral@ucanr.edu.

UCCE poster, newsletters win NACAA awards

Michael Rethwisch and Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.”

Three California state winning entries received national recognition at the recent annual meeting and professional improvement conferences of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) held virtually in late September and early October.

Michael Rethwisch, UCCE field crops advisor for Riverside County, and student assistant Kassandra Allan won a national NACAA award for their applied research poster, “Dingy cutworm pheromone lures are not highly attractive to the closely related granulate cutworm.” Rethwisch was also selected to give a presentation on comparative insecticide efficacy for lygus bug control.

The UC Dairy Newsletter was a national finalist entry and western regional winner in the Team Newsletter competition. UCCE advisors Jennifer Heguy, Daniela Bruno, Joy Hollingsworth and Betsy Karle collaborate on the newsletter.

The University of California Cooperative Extension Subtropical Horticulture News by Sonia Rios, UCCE subtropical horticulture advisor for Riverside and San Diego counties, was the western regional winner for individual newsletter.  

CAPCA honors Wilen for "Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture" 

Cheryl Wilen

Cheryl Wilen, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus for San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles counties, received the 2020 Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award by the California Association of Pest Control Advisers (CAPCA).

The Outstanding Contribution to Agriculture award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made a significant contribution to California agriculture. The former leader of UC ANR's Endemic and Invasive Pests and Diseases Strategic Initiative is known for her research and development of integrated pest management strategies for the turf, ornamental horticulture and nursery industries. Over the course of her career, Wilen has helped reduce the use of toxic pesticides, cut the cost of pest control and promote the use of environmentally sound methods in production.

Wilen, who retired from her 25-year UC ANR career in July, received the award during CAPCA's virtual annual conference on Oct. 12. She is currently on recall to serve as interim director for UCCE in San Diego.

4-H Youth Retention Study Team receives national award

The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team also received ANR's Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Research in 2018.

The 4-H Youth Retention Study Team received the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Professionals' “Susan Barkman Award for Research and Evaluation” Oct. 20, during the association's virtual conference.

The Youth Retention Study examined the retention and drop-out rates (nearly 50%) of first year 4-H members over a seven-year period to understand why youth leave the 4-H program. They found a lack of communication and the inability to understand and navigate the 4-H program contributed to attrition. These findings led to development of a handbook for families to navigate the 4-H program and a Project Leader Checklist for implementing the 4-H project experience. 

While the study focused on California, the team has engaged multiple states in an effort to document the national scope of this issue, and used the data to develop tools and strategies for addressing and extending that information through peer-reviewed articles, workshops and training.

The Youth Retention Study Team includes

  • JoLynn Miller, UCCE advisor for the Central Sierra
  • Kendra Lewis, University of New Hampshire State Specialist for Youth & Family Resiliency and former UCCE academic coordinator for evaluation for UC ANR Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program
  • Marianne Bird, UCCE advisor for the Capital Corridor
  • John Borba, UCCE advisor in Kern County
  • Claudia Diaz-Carrasco, UCCE advisor for Riverside and San Bernardino counties
  • Dorina Espinoza, UCCE advisor for Humboldt and Del Norte counties
  • Russell Hill, UCCE advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
  • Car Mun Kok, UCCE advisor for Lake and Mendocino counties
  • Sue Manglallan, UCCE advisor emeritus in San Diego County
  • Kali Trzesniewski, UCCE specialist in UC Davis Department of Human & Community Development

Ronald becomes first woman to receive World Agriculture Prize

Pam Ronald, a UC Davis distinguished professor, whose work has revolutionized plant molecular genetics, has become the first woman to receive the World Agriculture Prize.

Ronald is recognized for her history of major discoveries in plant molecular genetics. In 1995, she isolated a key immune receptor that revealed a new mechanism with which plants and animals detect and respond to infection. Her discovery in 2006, with UC Davis plant scientist David Mackill, of a rice submergence tolerance gene facilitated the development of high-yielding, flood-tolerant rice varieties that have benefited millions of farmers in South and Southeast Asia.

The award ceremony will be virtually held at 5 p.m. on Nov. 30 from Nanjing Agricultural University, Jiangsu Province, China.

Read the full story by Amy Quinton at https://caes.ucdavis.edu/news/plant-pathologist-pamela-ronald-named-gchera-world-agriculture-prize-laureate.

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.

 

President Napolitano analyzes options for ANR in UCOP structure

Dear Colleagues,

In my ANR Update message on Feb. 8, I shared a report released in January by the Huron Consulting Group on the UC Office of the President's (UCOP) organizational structure. President Napolitano's goal in commissioning that review was to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UCOP, while aligning its work to best support the university's core mission.

As I mentioned last month, Huron offered options that we believe would harm ANR's ability to deliver our mission of research and extension and to bring UC to local communities in every part of California. We identified several issues with both options, chief among those were adding layers of administration between ANR and the UC president as well as between ANR and the public we serve. Those additional layers would likely increase administrative costs and reduce funding for program delivery. At the president's request, we have developed an alternative proposal that would strengthen ANR's ability to deliver our mission while also serving the needs of UCOP for better financial management and administrative efficiency.

A challenge we have faced for years is that about half of our budget flows through UCOP while we manage the remainder directly. ANR is the only major operating division at UCOP that directly conducts research and program delivery, with hundreds of employees throughout California deploying over $200 million in resources. This has caused a great deal of confusion for auditors and often led to budget cuts during calls to reduce UC administrative overhead. Our recommendation places the entire ANR budget into one operating unit/location within the UC Chart of Accounts and allows for more transparency to the public. It also improves ANR's opportunities to stabilize our funding, rebuild our academic footprint and enhance program delivery.

Unlike the institutions used as examples in Huron's report, there is no one flagship campus serving as California's land-grant institution; instead, the entire UC system is responsible for the land-grant mission. To effectively deliver that mission, ANR is structured as a large statewide operating unit administering over 300 Memoranda of Understanding with a wide array of public and private sector partners, including deployment of resources on multiple campuses across the UC system and in close partnership with local governments in every county. The Huron report recognized that housing ANR within one campus was suboptimal and could create perceptions of favoritism and inequities between the campuses. Our proposal calls for a collaborative relationship; injecting competition and administrative layers would not serve the UC system nor our stakeholders well.

Separating ANR's budget and FTE from UCOP offers many advantages to both entities. Under the proposal we have offered, the ANR vice president continues to report directly to the president, the ANR governance structure does not change and no people or infrastructure would be moved. The proposal does agree with the Huron recommendation that ANR funding should be changed to state appropriations and that reconnecting the UC Natural Reserve System to ANR offers improved research opportunities for both entities. We believe these changes would best achieve the president's objectives to better align UCOP support functions to campuses while enhancing the systemwide and statewide functions of a vital outreach and engagement arm of the university.

The president continues to analyze the different options before her to ensure UCOP is best serving the UC system as well as all Californians for the long term. We are excited to work closely with President Napolitano to strengthen UC as a premiere research and extension institute by giving these vital programs room to grow and better serve the critical needs of California's economy and communities. I will continue to keep you apprised as our discussions unfold.

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

 

Posted on Thursday, March 8, 2018 at 8:02 AM
  • Author: Glenda Humiston
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Innovation, Natural Resources

Names in the News

Gabriel Torres
Torres named grape advisor for Tulare and Kings counties

Gabriel Torres joined UCCE on Feb. 1, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Tulare and Kings counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Torres was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Nematology at UC Riverside developing an integrated pest management strategy for controlling the most prevalent nematode species in grape vineyards in California. Torres evaluated rootstock resistance, chemical and biological compounds, and anaerobic soil disinfestation methods. Torres conducted most of the nematode experiments under the supervision of UC Cooperative Extension specialist Andreas Westphal.

From 2014 to 2016, Torres was a leader of the plant pathology program for the Colombian Oil Palm Natural Research Centre (CENIPALMA) in Bogota, Colombia. There he developed and guided projects aimed at solving disease problems of the oil palm crop in Colombia, including bud rot, lethal wilt, and basal stem rot.

He completed a Ph.D. in plant pathology from Michigan State University and a B.Sc. in agronomy from Universidad de Caldas, Manizales, Caldas, Colombia.

Torres is based in Tulare and can be reached at (559) 684-3316 and gabtorres@ucanr.edu.

Lund named grape advisor for Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties

Karl Lund

Karl Lund joined UCCE on Jan. 8, 2018, as an area viticulture advisor in Madera, Merced and Mariposa counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Lund was a trial specialist at Syngenta Flower, where he designed and conducted floriculture research trials under both greenhouse and garden conditions for a wide variety of flowering plants, specifically focused on the development of fertilization recommendations and nutrient profiles. In 2016, Lund was a technology development representative at Monsanto, where he worked with seed distributors and local farmers to plant, maintain and evaluate pre-commercial varieties of lettuce, bell peppers and spinach.

Lund spent many years teaching and conducting research in viticulture. Starting in 2008, he worked in the laboratory of Andy Walker at UC Davis, where he ran a project looking at the phenotypic and genetic diversity of phylloxera in Northern California, and trying to understand the genetics of phylloxera resistance in hopes of breeding new phylloxera resistance rootstocks for California.  His research helped identify new feeding types of phylloxera in Northern California and connected those feeding types to genetic groups. He also identified new sources of broad phylloxera resistance to be used in breeding phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.

As a postdoc in the Walker lab, Lund looked at drought avoidance in grapevine rootstocks. Insights from this work may be useful in the creation of more drought-tolerant rootstocks. In addition to his research, he was a teaching assistant for several UC Davis classes. Lund wrote a book chapter on grapevine breeding in the western United States and lectured at Cal Poly SLO for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Lund completed a B.S. and a Ph.D. in genetics at UC Davis.

Based in Madera, Lund can be reached at (559) 675-7879, ext. 7205 and ktlund@ucanr.edu.

Kansal joins CSIT as portfolio and project manager 

Namita Kansal

Namita Kansal recently joined the Communication Services and Information Technology as a portfolio and project manager. 

Some of the projects she is working on include assessing the network status of all UCCE sites in California to inform strategic decisions to fund and prioritize the UCCE sites that urgently need network upgrades, portfolio-level reports to inform strategic, operational and funding decisions for the Web IT team, a change management process for the entire IT team, and a project plan and funding estimates for the ANR website redesign.

Before joining ANR, Kansal was a project manager at the UC Davis School of Medicine, working to operationalize strategic initiatives, program development and project management.  

She earned a masters in public administration and a master in arts from Syracuse University. 

Kansal is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at (530) 750-1207 and namkansal@ucanr.edu.

Ali Pourreza
Pourreza wins ASABE Sunkist Young Designer Award

The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers has selected Ali Pourreza, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis, to receive the Sunkist Young Designer Award.

This award recognizes and honors ASABE members under 40 years of age for outstanding contributions to the advancement of the agricultural engineering profession and to stimulate professional achievement.

Sponsored by Sunkist Growers, Inc., the Young Designer Award recognizes the development of a technical plan that influences agricultural engineering progress, as evidenced by use in the field.

Pourreza developed a polarized imaging technique to detect accumulation of starch in citrus leaves as an early indication of citrus greening disease or huanglongbing (HLB).

“The polarized imaging technique was primarily used for early citrus greening detection, that is a major disease of citrus with no known cure,” said Pourreza. “Early detection of citrus greening is important because growers can prevent further spread of the disease before the entire orchard gets infected. The polarized imaging technique can also be used in other applications that involve the detection of starch or sugar.”

He also developed the Virtual Orchard, which uses aerial imagery and photogrammetry to create a 3-D image of an orchard.

“Knowledge about tree geometry such as individual canopy cover, volume, height and density is important for growers to understand variability within their orchard and make timely decisions about irrigation, nutrient, pest and disease, etc.,” Pourreza said. ”Virtual Orchard is an affordable technology that makes this information accessible for growers. Information extracted from the Virtual Orchard can be used to apply variable rate inputs in a site-specific manner according to the prescription maps that identify the application rate at different locations of an orchard.”

The award will be presented to Pourreza during the ASABE annual meeting in July in Detroit.

UC ANR receives award for extending high-speed broadband

Gabe Youtsey
The nonprofit organization CENIC has awardedUC ANR its 2018 Innovations in Networking Award for Broadband Applications. The award recognizes work to extend high-speed broadband to University of California researchers in rural communities across California by connecting UC ANR sites to the California Research and Education Network (CalREN),

Gabe Youtsey, chief innovation officer; Tolgay Kizilelma, chief information security officer; and Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations, were recognized as project leaders.

Tolgay Kizilelma
In 2016, CENIC began working with UC ANR to connect its nine research and extension centers to CalREN, equipping them with internet speeds comparable to those found on UC campuses. For example, the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center in Mendocino County and the UC Desert Research and Extension Center in Imperial County are both connected at 500 Mbps, five times their previous level of connectivity. 

“You can't do big data with dial-up internet speed,” said Jeffery Dahlberg, director of the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center. “Before this upgrade, our internet was slower than my home internet speeds. Now we have speeds more like you will find on UC campuses.”

Tu Tran
Due to the remote location of most of these facilities, the work involved in identifying suitable pathways for connections between each site and the CalREN network has been extensive. Engineers from CENIC and UC ANR collaborated on network design, deployment, and troubleshooting to equip these facilities with the high-speed internet they need.

In addition to the RECs, Highlander Hall, home to News and Information Outreach in Spanish and the Citrus Clonal Protection Program, is now connected to CalREN. Elkus Ranch (the environmental education center for Bay Area youths), the UC ANR building in Davis and 30 UC Cooperative Extension sites are in the process of being connected.

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 4:58 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Lagrimini named Vice Provost of Research and Extension

Mark Lagrimini
Mark Lagrimini, professor of agronomy and horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has accepted UC ANR's position of Vice Provost of Research and Extension. As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, he will provide leadership and vision to county-based Cooperative Extension personnel and employees at the nine research and extension centers. 

“Mark has exceptional accomplishments in the private sector, academia and administration that demonstrate his ability to partner and collaborate in order to achieve what, at first, might seem impossible,” said Wendy Powers, associate vice president. “I'm excited about the expertise, experience, insight and perspective he will bring to UC ANR as we drive towards our 2025 Strategic Vision and having a positive impact for every Californian.”

Lagrimini is currently a professor in the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studies the regulation of carbohydrate partitioning in maize and its impact on drought tolerance.

“I am excited about joining the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources leadership team,” Lagrimini said. “Agriculture is an economic engine for the state of California. I will support a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship and teamwork within the division to turn the numerous challenges we face in agriculture into opportunities.”

From 2005 to 2011, he served as head of the Department of Agronomy & Horticulture, leading the university's largest department of more than 80 faculty members.

From 1999 to 2005, he was a project leader for Syngenta Biotechnology Inc. located in Research Triangle Park, NC, where he led an ambitious agronomic improvement project using structural and functional genomics, coordinated ectopic gene expression, metabolic pathway engineering, elite maize transformation, and physiological assessment of plant performance with proof-of-concept achieved. While at Syngenta, Lagrimini received four U.S. patents. He began his academic career as an assistant/associate professor in the Department of Horticulture & Crop Science at The Ohio State University from 1987 to 1999. 

He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Iowa and a B.S. in biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

As Vice Provost of Research and Extension, Lagrimini will report directly to the Associate Vice President and collaborate closely with the Vice Provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs and Vice Provost of Academic Personnel and Development. He will lead the County Director/REC Director Council, oversee all UCCE county directors, REC directors and both assistant vice provost positions and serve on Program Council.

Lagrimini will join ANR on June 1, 2018, and be based at the Second Street building in Davis.

 

 

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 3:52 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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