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Posts Tagged: Rob Bennaton

RECs and county office staff update ANR leaders on current projects

UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food in West Oakland.

To get acquainted with the people at each ANR location, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, has been visiting research and extension centers and UCCE county offices and touring the facilities.

“I'm impressed with how passionate and dedicated you are to helping people,” said Lagrimini to UCCE Contra Costa staff after listening to their project updates. He has been impressed with the work he has seen at all of his ANR visits. 

On Sept. 6, Lagrimini visited Hopland Research and Extension Center, three weeks after the River Fire consumed about two-thirds of its property.

John Bailey, right, shows Mark Lagrimini the difference in fire damage to grazed pasture on the left side of the fence compared to the ungrazed areas at Hopland REC.

“While the River Fire damaged parts of the center, none of the main buildings, residences, livestock nor staff were hurt by the fire,” said John Bailey, Hopland REC interim director.

Scientists are invited to a site tour on Oct. 19 to learn more about research opportunities at Hopland REC. 

“With Hopland REC's extensive pre-fire historical data, plus immediate post-fire, pre-rain observations that we are collecting, we have the foundation to support relevant and timely research on the effects of fire and mechanisms of recovery,” Bailey said.

Marisa Neelon, right, shows Mark Lagrimini, left, and Mark Bell the kitchen where UCCE Contra Costa County nutrition educators can prepare food.

AVP Wendy Powers and Mark Bell, vice provost of Strategic Initiatives and Statewide Programs, are joining Lagrimini for many of the visits to learn the latest about UCCE research and outreach and to answer questions from staff.

On Sept. 11, Rob Bennaton, UCCE director in Alameda and Contra Costa counties, introduced Powers, Lagrimini and Bell to UCCE staff in their Hayward offices, then took them to West Oakland to tour City Slicker Farms. UCCE Master Gardeners and 4-H members partner with City Slicker Farms, teaching people how to grow food at the site.

“Success to us is putting food where people need it and giving them the skills to grow food,” said Rodney Spencer, executive director of City Slicker Farms.

Mark Bell popped into the office of Leah Sourbeer, nutrition program supervisor, to introduce himself.

In Concord, Marisa Neelon, UCCE nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor in Contra Costa County, gave Powers, Lagrimini and Bell a tour of the new office space, which includes space for Master Garden volunteers, a kitchen for nutrition educators to prepare food and a lab for farm and IPM advisors to store and analyze samples.  

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

Staff from each unit delivered a presentation about their current projects for the ANR leaders, who were joined by Humberto Izquierdo, agricultural commissioner for Contra Costa County and Matthew Slattengren, assistant agricultural commissioner.

Charles Go, 4-H youth advisor, and Adan Osoria, EFNEP community nutrition educator, described how 4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption to improve community health and wellness. They launched 4-H2O at John Swett High School in Crockett. At the request of 4-H members, the local school board approved hydration stations and instructed the schools to provide water at meal times, Go said.

4-H and EFNEP teamed up for 4-H2O, an after school project that succeeded at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increasing water consumption.

Andrew Sutherland, Bay Area urban IPM advisor, described his research on baiting for cockroaches, subterranean termites and yellowjackets and outreach to educate pest control professionals to practice IPM in schools and multi-unit housing.

“I appreciate the work Andrew does,” said Izquierdo, noting that there is a need for pest management education, especially among the county's urban and immigrant populations.

After seeing all of the presentations, Bell said, “The enthusiasm you bring to your job is inspiring.”

UCCE Contra Costa shared quotes from participants whose lives were improved by applying EFNEP lessons.

After the visit, Powers wrote in her ANR Adventures blog on Sept. 14: “The programs we've seen in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties this week as well as Santa Clara County a couple weeks back are good reminders of the benefits to all of UC ANR when we have strong, relevant programs in urban areas. These programs not only help the clientele, directly, but help increase the visibility of UC ANR and all of its programs across both urban and ag areas.”

On Sept. 26, Powers, Lagrimini and Bell visited UCCE Riverside, then UCCE San Bernardino the following day.

“We spent yesterday in Riverside meeting with the teams from both UCCE Riverside and UCCE San Bernardino,” Powers wrote in ANR Adventures on Sept. 27. “It was very informative, particularly seeing the fresh ideas that are coming from some of the new staff. We were able to hear about the tremendous success that both counties are having truly working as a team across program areas and layering their efforts for increased program success and support.”

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

Mentors sought for grad students in Extension

Would you like to be a mentor for a UC Berkeley graduate student interested in gaining experience in Cooperative Extension?

The Graduate Students in Extension (GSE) Pilot at UC Berkeley has been extended for one year. The Request for Applications for 2018-2019 fellows at UC Berkeley is open, and student applications are due on March 30, 2018. 

One of the goals of the GSE pilot is to facilitate greater interaction between graduate students and Cooperative Extension employees. As such, applicants must identify Cooperative Extension mentors who will assist in advising their project and introduce them to Extension work. Prospective students have been encouraged to identify possible mentors through the ANR Directory, so students might reach out to ANR academics directly in the coming month to inquire about their interest in being a mentor.  

Students have an option of completing a fellowship during the summer (Summer 2018), an academic semester (Fall 2018 or Spring 2019), an academic year (Fall 2018–Spring 2019), or a calendar year (June 2018–June 2019). Mentorship teams are required to cover 25 percent of the costs for the fellow. More information about this pilot and requirements for students and mentors can be found at  http://ucanr.edu/sites/GGCE/.   

Academics who are interested in being a mentor, whether you have a project in mind or are open to working to develop a new project with a fellow, please contact Jennifer Caron-Sale in ANR's Program Planning and Evaluation Office at jennifer.caron-sale@ucop.edu or (510) 987-0214 to be connected with prospective applicants.

 

Posted on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 2:18 PM
  • Author: Jennifer Caron-Sale
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture
 
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