Posts Tagged: Rhonda Smith
Rhonda Smith, who has been heralded as the “heroine of the vineyards” for her groundbreaking work in helping combat the parade of problems that have plagued Sonoma County grapevines – and alarmed growers, plans to retire July 1.
During her nearly 34 years as a UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor, Smith steadily emerged as Sonoma County's expert on all things wine grape. Over the decades, her scientific know-how, meticulous research methodology and incredible work ethic advanced wine grape production in Sonoma County.
She cultivated working relationships with growers and vineyard managers, setting up field trials and collecting data in vineyards. As the years rolled by, she earned the respect and admiration of grape growers who wonder what they will do without her.
“Rhonda Smith became a true icon in Sonoma County viticulture for her timely research and her effective way of communicating valuable information to the wine grape industry,” said Santa Rosa grower Bob Dempel.
Tito and Janet Sasaki, who farm wine grapes in the Sonoma Valley, have benefited from Smith's dedication to the wine grape industry.
Janet Sasaki said, “Rhonda is the hardest working person I know. My friends and I have been working with her since 1989. No vineyard is too small for her to take an interest in the problem. She is very respected by everyone in the wine grape industry.”
While earning a B.S. in plant science with an emphasis in plant pathology, and an M.S. in horticulture with an emphasis in viticulture, both at UC Davis, Smith was inspired by former UC Davis plant pathologist Mary Ann Sall and Cooperative Extension farm advisors who collaborated on research to combat diseases that were costing farmers money.
“My goal has always been to assist the industry in successfully navigating the delicate balance between grape quality and economically acceptable crop yields – the essential combination to prosper as a premium grower of wine grapes,” she said.
When Smith arrived in Sonoma County in 1986, phylloxera was fast becoming the largest challenge to grape growers. The aphid-like insect feeds on grapevine roots, stunting vine growth and reducing yields. Eventually thousands of acres in the North Coast needed to be replanted. “Growers had no idea how phylloxera-resistant rootstocks would perform,” she said. Over the years, Smith and UC Davis scientists launched 10 trials to inform growers of the suitability of specific rootstocks in sites with heavy, cracking clay, wet soil conditions and high nematode populations.
Introduced insect pests – particularly vine mealybug – have been a challenge for growers, who must control them and take steps to prevent transporting the pest to other vineyards. Smith and now-emeritus UC IPM advisor Lucia Varela conducted trials to evaluate the survival of vine mealybug in unfermented winery waste.
“We learned that not only could the insects survive the press, but they could walk off uncovered piles of stems,” Smith said. Their research changed how wineries and growers handle fresh winery waste.
Smith also collaborated with other UCCE specialists, UC faculty and USDA researchers to investigate the cause of physiological disorders such as berry shrivel, Syrah disorder and pinot leaf curl, the latter causing severely stunted shoots, and partial shoot dieback in different cultivars of Pinot.
“Many growers believed the abnormal growth was due to fungal infections,” she said, “but we were able to associate pinot leaf curl to a temporary nitrogen-related disorder, which meant that applying a fungicide would not prevent the problem.”
“It's been fun and rewarding to be part of the Sonoma County wine industry for so many years,” Smith said.
Read Tim Tesconi's full story in the July edition of Sonoma-Marin Farm News: https://sonomafb.org/farm-news-archives.
joins 4-H as advisor for San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties
Emma Fete joined UCCE as an area 4-H youth development advisor for San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties on Dec. 4, 2017.
For five years prior to joining UCCE, Fete taught and developed various courses including online and hybrid variants as an instructor for the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. As a part of an interdepartmental team, she evaluated general education requirements for undergraduates. Fete also served on the Diversity Committee, analyzing and recommending departmental policies, hiring and recruiting strategies, and implementing training programs to best represent and serve diverse populations. From 2010 to 2012, she worked as an assistant language teacher for the Hiroshima Board of Education in Japan, where she taught and developed coursework in three prefectural high schools and a special needs school. From 2007 to 2010, Fete worked at WOSU Public Media, where she helped manage WOSU radio programming, fundraising and development efforts, and the station's community activities. She also has experience in local and state government as well as child-focused local non-profits. Fete is a dedicated horsewoman who was an enthusiastic 4-Her in her youth and continues to coach 4-H participants today.
Fete earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in communication at The Ohio State University and a B.A. in broadcasting from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio.
Fete is based in Stockton and can be reached at (209) 953-6118 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
Katherine “Kate” Wilkin joined UCCE on Sept. 18, 2017, as an area forestry/fire science and natural resources advisor in Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties.
Prior to joining UCCE, Wilkin was a postdoctoral researcher at UC Berkeley where she developed techniques for the California Air Resources Board to better estimate wildfire emissions and collaborated on an ecosystem services project, including water and carbon, of restored fire regimes. From 2011 to 2016, she was a graduate student researcher at UC Berkeley, and at Cal Poly from 2007 to 2009. Wilkin also worked at Yosemite National Park, National Park Service's Inventory and Monitoring Program, California State Parks, and The Nature Conservancy on complex environmental issues including forest health, wetland restoration, fire management, visitor-use, and mine reclamation. She has been a member of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council since 2011.
Wilkin completed a Ph.D. in environmental science, policy and management from UC Berkeley, an M.S. in biology from Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, and a B.S. with a double major in biology and interdisciplinary studies (environmental science) from The College of William and Mary.
Wilkin is based in Yuba City and can be reached at (530) 822-7515 and email@example.com.
Oguns joins ANR as financial analyst
Tayo Oguns has joined Resource Planning and Management Office as a financial analyst.
He serves a critical role in strategic planning for future UC ANR staffing and personnel initiatives.
Prior to joining ANR, Oguns was a financial analyst at UC Berkeley.
He earned a bachelor's degree in finance at University of Massachusetts – Amherst and an MS in business analytics at Saint Mary's College of California.
Oguns is based at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-9028 and Tayo.Oguns@ucop.edu.
Three of the twelve awards announced for the upcoming International IPM Symposium will be given to UC Integrated Pest Management Program members.
Peter Goodell, UC IPM advisor emeritus, and Frank Zalom, professor in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and former Statewide IPM Program director, were selected for the Lifetime Achievement Award.
The European Grapevine Moth Team was selected for an IPM Team Award for achieving the eradication of European grapevine moth only six years after its discovery in 2009. Team members helped growers in infested counties to monitor the pest and apply control measures on a timely basis. The team's research and extension efforts helped growers avoid losses to the pest every year until it was finally eradicated in 2016.
Lucia Varela, UC IPM advisor for the North Coast; Monica Cooper, UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor in Napa County; Walter Bentley, UC IPM entomologist emeritus; Larry Bettiga, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Monterey County; Kent Daane, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in UC Berkeley Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management; Rhonda Smith, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sonoma County; Robert Van Steenwyk, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in UC Berkeley ESPM; Joyce Strand, UC IPM academic coordinator emeritus; and Zalom.
Zalom, extension entomologist at UC Davis, also has an impressive record of furthering IPM. Zalom began in 1980 as the IPM Coordinator in California. Although he was responsible for advancing IPM in the state, Zalom championed the idea of promoting IPM on a regional and even national level. For 16 years, he co-chaired the American Public Land-grant University National IPM Committee, leading to the development of the Regional IPM Centers. Zalom believes that the science and implementation of IPM will reduce the impact of pests and pest management on agriculture and the environment.
One of Zalom's most successful projects was IPM implementation in almonds. Because of his research on navel armyworm, damage from the pest fell from 8.8 percent in 1978 to less than 1.5 percent in 1990, with a 40 percent reduction in insecticides.
The winners will receive their awards and recognition at the 9th International IPM Symposium March 19-22, 2018, in Baltimore, Md.
CAL FIRE honors Quinn-Davidson
Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE fire advisor in Humboldt County, has been selected to receive a CAL FIRE Partnership Award.
“As one of the team members helping work towards the statewide goals for using prescribed fire, your work with CAL FIRE, local cooperators and other stakeholders has created invaluable partnerships and expanded the training opportunities that many agencies were previously unable to access,” Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director, wrote to Quinn-Davidson. “It is important to CAL FIRE to work collaboratively with our partners to achieve our common goals. In this instance, your cooperative approach produced results which exceeded the normal expectations. I thank you for your efforts to further the mission of CAL FIRE.”
Yana Valachovic, UCCE director and forest advisor in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, said, “This is an incredible achievement for someone early in their career and it is strong evidence of her leadership skills and all around excellence!”
Quinn-Davidson will receive the award on Jan. 8 at a ceremony at the California Highway Patrol Academy in Sacramento.
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_.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.