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Posts Tagged: President’s Advisory Commission

PAC discusses advancing President Drake’s priorities

Concept from Hub for Urban Living Design Workshop held on May 18.

The President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) met virtually on June 16 and had a lively discussion with one another and later with President Drake about how UC ANR can deliver on the president's priorities of social/environmental justice, public health and economic impacts of the pandemic, and climate change and agriculture. Discussion evolved about how UC ANR could be a convener and facilitator of needed community discussions around these important and often difficult topics. ANR could serve as a bridge-builder, bringing in multiple partners and disciplines.

Vice President Humiston provided an update on the state budget, COVID-19 operations, a new virtual tour of the research and extension centers, and the “Hub for Urban Living Design Workshop” that was held on May 18. She also discussed the new, optional, monthly PAC discussion sessions on emerging issues that began in May and commended Jim Farrar, Statewide IPM Program director, and Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director, for their presentations at the first two sessions. Anne Megaro, government and community relations director, and PAC member Don Bransford reported on the activities of the Outreach and Advocacy and Funds Development committees. Deans Michael Lairmore, Helene Dillard and David Ackerly shared updates on key campus happenings.

Commissioners participated in breakout discussions to generate ideas about how UC ANR could make a greater impact in each of President Drake's priority topic areas. President Drake joined the meeting after lunch to hear presentations from commissioners that were informed by the breakout sessions:

  • Sharon Nance, assistant state conservationist at the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service discussed social/environmental justice
  • Mary-Ann Warmerdam, deputy controller, environmental policy at the State Controller's Office discussed public health and economic impacts of the pandemic
  • Rodger Wasson, owner and president of Wasson & Associates, discussed climate change and agriculture
Posted on Wednesday, June 30, 2021 at 6:18 PM
  • Author: Kathy Eftekhari
  • Author: Linda Forbes

PAC discusses rural-urban interface

The UC President's Advisory Commission (PAC) met via Zoom on March 22.

Vice President Humiston provided updates on COVID-19 operations, the UC ANR budget, recently completed strategic plans for the division and the research and extension center system, and the status of land sales in Davis, at Hansen REC and at South Coast REC.

PAC members had a lively discussion on ways to effectively capture input from the full commission on both emerging issues and longer-term topics of interest. VP Humiston suggested that UC ANR could host monthly “special topics meetings” to be led by each of our statewide program and initiative leaders so that the PAC may communicate directly with UC ANR personnel regarding needed research, programs and opportunities. This new initiative is scheduled to launch by early May with the first topic being integrated pest management.

In the afternoon, President Drake joined the group for presentations and discussion on the rural-urban interface.

Darren Haver, assistant vice provost and director of South Coast REC and Orange County UCCE, kicked-off this section of the agenda with a presentation outlining the concept for a new UC ANR “Hub for Urban Living.” The vision is to establish a network of researchers from multiple institutions, government and community agencies, and the private sector who are interested in engaging in a physical and virtual, interdisciplinary space that connects the power of research to address short and long-term issues impacting the sustainability of urban life.  A systemwide hub design workshop is scheduled for May 18 to further develop the concept.

Three PAC members also presented on related topics.  Paula Daniels, co-founder and chair of the Center for Good Food Purchasing, talked about regional food systems; Connie Stewart, executive director of initiatives at Humboldt State University, gave a presentation on UC-CSU partnerships; and Lucas Frerichs, associate director of state policy at The Nature Conservancy, talked about private-public research partnerships.

Posted on Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 8:18 PM
  • Author: Kathy Eftekhari
  • Author: Linda Forbes

PAC discusses forest management

President Drake, top left, listens to Kathryn Uhrich, outlined in yellow, deliver an overview of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

The UC President's Advisory Commission met Dec. 14 via Zoom as coronavirus precautions continued to discourage travel.

“It's the beginning of a new phase,” said President Drake, announcing that the first coronavirus vaccines would be arriving at UC medical centers the next day. Acknowledging that the pandemic has created challenges for everyone, Drake urged everyone to protect themselves as they continue to perform critically important activities for Californians.

In her update on UC ANR activities, VP Glenda Humiston announced that she and AVP Wendy Powers have accepted leadership roles in the Association of Public Land-grant Universities (APLU). Humiston is chair of the Budget and Legislative Committee for the Experiment Station Council on Policy (ESCOP) and Powers is chair-elect of the Extension Council on Policy (ECOP).

Humiston also briefed PAC members on the 2020 California Economic Summit that was held online Dec. 3-4. The statewide conference focused on improving economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Humiston spoke about the benefits to California of investing in wildfire reduction and forest restoration work.

Dan Sanchez, UC Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, gave PAC members a presentation on how UC ANR and partners collaborate to advance forest health, reduce fire risk and develop jobs and economic growth with high-value products from biomass.

During a report from the ANR Governing Council, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox, who is chair of the council, encouraged more collaboration between UC ANR and campuses. He suggested climate change as a subject for connecting UC ANR and campus expertise.

Humiston noted that she and Powers recently gave a presentation about UC ANR to UC vice chancellors of research, who expressed interest in working with UC ANR and Powers has been meeting with them regularly.

Continuing with the natural resources theme, Ish Herrera, California Forward director of regional stewardship, gave a presentation on wood products and Eric Holst, Environmental Defense Fund associate vice president for working lands, gave presentations on forest management. Both see roles for UC ANR.

Herrera suggested UC could use wood products in building projects to create more of a market for trees removed to thin forests.

Fire management in forest ecosystems is one of more pressing issues in the state and ANR's interdisciplinary expertise makes it the “right organization, right time,” Holst said.

Deans gave reports on the School of Veterinary Medicine and the three Agricultural Experiment Station (AES) colleges affiliated with UC ANR.

In wrapping up the meeting, Drake lauded the group for “big thinking” and “broad thinking” to lift up society.

The PAC will meet again on March 22 via Zoom.

Posted on Friday, January 29, 2021 at 7:46 PM

President Drake meets the PAC


UC President Michael Drake (in yellow-outlined square) attended his first meeting with the PAC on Sept. 30.

UC President Michael Drake attended his first meeting with the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources (PAC) on Sept. 30. Vice President Humiston, PAC Chair Jean-Mari Peltier and PAC members welcomed the ophthalmologist and former UC Irvine chancellor Drake home to UC and shared their excitement about the future of UC under his leadership.

After a series of presentations to provide Drake with perspectives on California agricultural and environmental issues and the role of UC ANR, he graciously stayed overtime to address members' questions and comments. Participants learned more about his background and his commitment to the university's role in addressing key agricultural, environmental, health and safety, and social justice issues. From his love of farm visits to his interest in carbon sequestration, it was clear that his leadership will bring exciting things to UC ANR.

California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross gave a presentation on California agriculture and CDFA's critical and valued partnership with UC ANR.

Six PAC members shared their experiences with UC ANR engagement in issues they face in the field: 

  • Mike Mellano, chairman of the Board and VP of Farming, Mellano & Company, discussed his third-generation family farm's reliance on UC Cooperative Extension partnership and agricultural research.
  • Ashley Boren, chief executive officer of Sustainable Conservation, shared insights about the importance of UC ANR's work in natural resource conservation.
  • Rancher Dina Moore of Lone Star Ranch focused on UC ANR's vital role in working with ranchers on livestock and timber management.
  • Lon Hatamiya, president and CEO of The Hatamiya Group, shared insights on UC ANR's role in agricultural technology innovation.
  • Celeste Cantu, vice chair of the San Diego Water Quality Control Board, discussed the important role of UC ANR and UC Master Gardener volunteers in addressing urban issues.
  • Grant Davis, general manager of the Sonoma County Water Agency, covered UC ANR's contributions to and valued partnership in water resources management.

UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox provided an overview of the UC ANR Governing Council and the division's partnerships with campuses.

Deans David Ackerly (UC Berkeley College of Natural Resources), Helene Dillard (UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences) and Michael Lairmore (UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine) shared updates on current news, issues and challenges on their campuses.

To watch the recording of the PAC meeting, visit

10:00-10:10: Welcome
10:10-10:30: California Agriculture and CDFA's Partnership with UC ANR – Karen Ross
10:30-11:00: UC ANR Engagement with Issues in the Field
            -Farming and Ag Research – Mike Mellano
            -Natural Resource Conservation – Ashley Boren
            -Livestock and Timber – Dina Moore
            -Innovation and Ag Tech – Lon Hatamiya
            -Urban Issues and Volunteers – Celeste Cantu
            -Water and Local Agencies – Grant Davis
11:00-11:05: UC ANR Governing Council and Partnering with Local Campuses – Kim Wilcox
11:05-11:45: Discussion
11:45-12:00: Campus Updates from AES Deans

Posted on Thursday, October 1, 2020 at 5:42 PM
  • Author: Linda Forbes

PAC meets virtually, thanks President Napolitano for her service

President Napolitano met with the PAC via Zoom to thank the members for time and advice during her seven years as UC president. She plans to step down from the office Aug. 1.

The President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources met via Zoom April 9 as everyone was sheltering in place during the coronavirus pandemic. Jean-Mari Peltier, PAC chair, welcomed the PAC members for their last meeting with President Janet Napolitano. Last September, Napolitano announced that she will step down as UC's leader Aug. 1.

President Napolitano commended ANR for its flexibility in response to the COVID-19 crisis. ANR is “the University of California for large parts of the state and we're proud that you are,” she told VP Glenda Humiston, adding that ANR is performing well under her leadership.

Napolitano thanked the PAC members for contributing their time and advice during her seven years at the UC helm, calling ANR “essential to UC identity as land grant university.” The commissioners thanked the president for her support for ANR. In response to questions about building support for ANR with her successor, Napolitano recommended taking the new president out of Oakland for site visits to learn about ANR. She described her visits to Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Humboldt County and other ANR sites as “eye opening.”

In her update about ANR, Humiston reported that despite the coronavirus pandemic's disruption to public gatherings, all ANR programs are still serving communities. “I'm really impressed with the innovative ways they are finding to deliver outreach,” she said, adding that advisors are adapting, for example, doing ranch visits via phone. Humiston also described the UC ANR Governing Council's tour of the South Coast Research and Extension Center in February to see how ANR engages urban Californians. She noted that a regents tour of South Coast REC planned for April 23 has been postponed until after the pandemic passes.

Karen Ross, secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture, joined the group to discuss how CDFA is responding to food system disruption resulting from the COVID-19 crisis. “I am optimistic about agriculture; we are so innovative and resilient,” Ross said, adding that she is concerned about funding for UC ANR and UCCE. She recommended seizing the moment while consumers are thinking about the food system to educate people about UC ANR's role.

Building on their December meeting, the PAC members continued their discussion of the future of the commission. They discussed recommendations to ensure the success and sustainability of ANR as well as the PAC. 

They recommended the role of PAC members include

  • Communication & advocacy
  • Engaging as a strategic tool for problem solving
  • Being a connector to industry leaders
  • Supporting fund development
  • Advising on strategy and mission priorities

To make their membership meaningful, the commissioners said they would like

  • Greater active involvement
  • Knowing they add value
  • Feeling connected with ANR and other PAC members
  • Sharing critical information

Although the PAC usually meets twice a year – in the spring and fall – the PAC agreed to meet again via videoconference in May or June to discuss and approve the new PAC charter.


Posted on Friday, May 1, 2020 at 1:36 PM

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