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Names in the News

Kron named area IPM advisor for North Coast

Cindy Kron

Cindy Kron has joined UC Cooperative Extension as areawide IPM advisor for Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino and Lake counties.

Before joining UCCE, Kron studied the three-cornered alfalfa hopper as a research entomologist for USDA in their Crop Disease, Pests and Genetics research unit. She tested cover crop species as feeding and reproductive hosts of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper in addition to testing commercially available biocontrol agents against the different life stages of the treehopper. She collaborated with a UC Davis colleague to create a degree day model that predicts the ideal timing to implement cultural control measures with the greatest impact on treehopper populations. 

Kron has conducted research on a variety of insects including two-year vineyard study on the population dynamics of Virginia creeper leafhopper, western grape leafhopper, and variegated leafhopper.  For her dissertation, she investigated the biology and behavior of the three-cornered alfalfa hopper and their relationship with vineyards. She also studied the effects of temperature on the developmental rate of the invasive European grapevine moth and reared brown marmorated stink bugs for USDA fumigation studies.

“My experiences have motivated me to help growers, stakeholders and the industry solve agricultural pest management problems through applied research by identifying IPM strategies and tactics that are economically feasible and implementable while having the lowest environmental impact,” Kron said.

Kron earned her bachelor's degree in viticulture and enology, with a minor in agricultural pest management, and her doctorate in entomology at UC Davis.

She is based in Santa Rosa and can be reached at ckron@ucanr.edu.

Glass takes on new HR role 

Patricia Glass

Patricia Glass began a new position as human resources business systems analyst starting in August. In her new role, Patricia coordinates the management of ANR's HR information systems, including UCPath, Talent Acquisition Management (TAM), ePerformance, and the UC Learning Center. She is also responsible for process improvement, user training, and the development of reports and analytics for the HR systems.

Glass brings more than 15 years of UC experience to the position, including time as a finance manager on the Davis campus and, most recently, team lead responsible for staff recruitment and compensation with ANR Human Resources.

Glass continues to be based at the ANR building in Davis as part of the ANR HR team and reachable at (530) 750-1324 and pglass@ucanr.edu.

Montano assisting Tran

Barbara Montano

Barbara Montano will be temporarily covering executive assistant Cheryl Hyland's duties assisting Tu Tran, AVP business operations starting Sept. 25 and will be available Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., or as needed.

Montano is a Bay Area native who graduated from UC Berkeley last year with a bachelor's degree in English and legal studies. As a student, she worked on campus and interned for Grantmakers Concerned with Immigrants and Refugees, a philanthropy supporting organization, and the law offices of Aiman-Smith & Marcy. After graduating, she worked as temporary development associate at GCIR, managing its grant work.

Montano is located at UCOP in Cubicle #10134F and can be reached at (510) 987-0183 and Barbara.Montano@ucop.edu.

Bailey appointed to USDA Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers

John Bailey

John Bailey, director of Hopland Research and Extension Center, has been appointed to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Advisory Committee on Beginning Farmers and Ranchers by USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. His two-year term expires on Sept. 17, 2021.

The purpose of the committee is to advise the USDA Secretary on strategies, policies and programs that enhance opportunities for new farmers and ranchers.

“As a member of the Committee, you will advise me on matters impacting beginning farmers and ranchers, including access to land and capital, recruitment and retention of farmers and ranchers, and more. Your role is vital as I strive to obtain the public and industry perspectives on National and State strategies, policies, and programs impacting beginning farmers and ranchers,” Perdue wrote in Bailey's appointment letter.

Before joining UC, Bailey was the Mendo-Lake Food Hub project manager for North Coast Opportunities, where he coordinated local growers to dramatically increase sales of their crops.

For 12 years, he worked at McEvoy of Marin, first as a gardener in their orchards, then director of operations overseeing product development, sales and marketing. He also owned Middle Mountain Farm, which grew and marketed row crops.

Bailey earned an MBA in sustainable enterprise at New College of California and a B.A. in biology and Certificate in Ecological Horticulture at UC Santa Cruz.

Gaudin and Light to serve on Western Cover Crop Council

Amelie Gaudin visits the no-till dairy silage field of Turlock farmer Michael Crowell.

Sarah Light, UC Cooperative Extension agronomy advisor for Sutter County, and Amelie Gaudin, UC Davis assistant professor of agroecology in the Department of Plant Sciences, will serve as California representatives on the new Western Cover Crops Council, a group from the 18 western states that aims to gear up information development and exchange activities throughout the broad region. 

Sarah Light samples cover crop biomass in a reduced-disturbance field in Guinda.
Both Gaudin and Light are currently conducting broad and comprehensive cover crop research work.  Gaudin specializes in permanent cropping systems with a strong emphasis on almonds and Light works in annual cropping systems. 

The mission of the WCCC is to facilitate and enhance communication and collaboration among farmers/growers, agents, researchers and other agricultural professionals to transfer information and technology that promotes the successful adoption and integration of cover cropping into Western U.S. agricultural systems. The WCCC Planning Team currently consists of about 16 members representing several western states. They are in the process of creating goal statements and means for better linking educational activities about cover crops throughout the region. 

Krause accepts job with Driscoll's Berries

Dave Krause

After nearly 14 years with UC ANR's Information Technology unit, Dave Krause has accepted a new role with Driscoll's Berries to help improve the technology in their research environment. This opportunity will take Krause to some of Driscoll's global locations yet allow him to stay connected to many of us at ANR and at UC. 

Krause started his UC career as a programmer with ANR Communication Services in 2006. Initially hired to build a new version of Site Builder and Collaborative Tools, Krause has since architected and implemented dozens of applications to support the work of UC ANR staff and academics. In recent years, Krause became the IT manager and interim chief information officer for the Division.

“Please join me in thanking Dave for his many contributions to the arduous work of the Division in supporting the communities and the people of this state,” wrote Tu Tran, associate vice president for business operations.

Krause's last day with UC ANR is Oct. 11. Leadership will work immediately on selecting a successor to lead the IT unit.

 

 

 

Posted on Monday, September 30, 2019 at 6:05 PM

Farm Bureau celebrates centennial at Capitol

Assemblymember Adam Gray of Merced, who grew up working at his parents’ dairy, met the farm advisors.

University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources joined in the California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial Celebration at the State Capitol on June 26.

State legislators visited booths where county farm bureaus displayed products from local growers and ranchers and discussed the benefits of agriculture in their county.

“We love Cooperative Extension!” CDFA Secretary Karen Ross exclaimed when she saw Jim Farrar and Katherine Jarvis-Shean talking with Jenny Lester Moffitt, CDFA undersecretary.

Sarah Light got to meet her Assembly representative James Gallagher of Yuba City.
UC ANR was represented by Jim Farrar, UC IPM director; Michelle Leinfelder-Miles, UCCE Delta crops advisor for San Joaquin, Contra Costa, Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties; Sarah Light, UCCE agronomy advisor for Sutter-Yuba and Colusa counties and Katherine Jarvis-Shean, UCCE orchard systems advisor for Sacramento, Solano and Yolo counties. They answered questions about pest management and crop production and discussed their research and outreach.

4-H volunteer Julie Farnham and Nicole Jansen and members of the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club brought a small petting zoo consisting of three dairy calves and two exotic sheep and talked with legislators about the benefits of participating in 4-H.

“The California Farm Bureau Federation's Centennial at the Capitol was a great opportunity to talk with legislators about how UC is present in their districts and helping their constituents,” said Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, who coordinated ANR's participation in the event.

UC Cooperative Extension has partnered with the Farm Bureau for more than a century. As UC Cooperative Extension was being organized in 1913, UC leaders required each county government that wanted to participate in the partnership to allocate funding to help support extension work in that community. It was also required that a group of farmers in participating counties organize into a “farm bureau” to help guide the UCCE farm advisor on the local agriculture issues. These grassroots groups later evolved into the California Farm Bureau Federation.

Assemblymember Devon Mathis of Visalia welcomed the Esparto/Capay Valley 4-H Club members and their livestock.

Michelle Leinfelder-Miles and Anne Megaro greeted Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman of Stockton.
Assemblymember Jim Cooper of Elk Grove chatted with 4-Hers about their calves and the woolly Navajo churro sheep before meeting the farm advisors.
Assemblymember Sharon Quirk-Silva of Fullerton had some questions for the farm advisors.
State senator Bob Wieckowski of Fremont talked with 4-Hers about raising dairy cows.
Assemblymember Steven Choi of Irvine, whose district includes South Coast Research and Extension Center, visited with Megaro and the UCCE farm advisors.
State senator Jim Nielsen of Tehama greeted Leinfelder-Miles and Jarvis-Shean.

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

Names in the News

Katie Johnson
Johnson named nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor

Cathryn “Katie” Johnson joined UCCE on Jan. 2, 2018, as an area nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor for the Central Sierra Multi-County Partnership serving El Dorado, Amador, Calaveras and Tuolumne counties. The long-time resident of the Sierra foothills is passionate about developing an integrated approach to fighting chronic disease and improving community nutrition in the region.

Prior to joining UCCE, Johnson had been a health educator for the Stanislaus County Health Services Agency, Public Health Division, since January 2017. There, she worked on policy, systems and environmental change strategies, program planning and local evaluation for the SNAP-Ed/NEOP (Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention) program, and served as the WIC (Women, Infants & Children) regional breastfeeding liaison.

From 2015 to 2016, Johnson held the positions of communication evaluation and development consultant and staff research assistant at the UC Merced Communication, Culture and Health Research Lab. At UC Merced, she contributed to strategic communications and formative evaluation for the CDC-funded PICH (Partnerships to Improve Community Health) project and coordinated community-engaged research on Merced residents' perceptions of health and safety. Previously, Johnson helped to manage small farms in Northern California and New Mexico, growing fruits and vegetables for sale at local markets. Johnson is also an international board-certified lactation consultant and has counseled breastfeeding families.

She earned a master of public health degree (with a concentration in public health nutrition) from UC Berkeley and a B.A. in environmental studies from Wellesley College.

Johnson is based in San Andreas and can be reached at (209) 754-6476 and ckrjohnson@ucanr.edu.

Laurent Ahiablame
Ahiablame joins UCCE San Diego County as director and water advisor

Laurent Ahiablame joined ANR as the UC Cooperative Extension director and water quality and management advisor in San Diego County on Dec. 18, 2017.

Ahiablame's research activities integrate environmental observations and computer modeling supported by ArcGIS to advance understanding of the fate and transport of water and related constituents across various spatial and temporal scales.

Prior to joining UCCE, Ahiablame was an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering at South Dakota State University from 2014 to 2017. From 2013 to 2014, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Ahiablame earned a Ph.D. and a M.S. in agricultural and biological engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in bioenvironmental engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.

Ahiablame can be reached at (858) 822-7673 and lmahiablame@ucanr.edu.

Kari Arnold
Arnold named orchard and vineyard systems advisor

Kari Arnold joined UCCE as an area orchard and vineyard systems advisor in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties on Nov. 1, 2017.

Prior to joining UCCE, Arnold was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis, where she participated in a statewide extension and outreach program involving viruses in grapevines and the certification program, collaborated with county viticulture advisors and industry leaders to facilitate grower workgroups for regional management of grapevine viruses, and provided presentations at grower meetings.

As a graduate student researcher from 2011 to October 2016, Arnold participated in individual grower meetings and surveys, facilitated and collaborated with a grower workgroup for areawide disease management in Napa vineyards, and conducted statistical characterization of spatial and temporal patterns of insect-vectored plant viruses. From 2009 to 2011, Arnold also worked as a staff research associate and nursery technician for Foundation Plant Services at UC Davis, where she provided employee training; worked on team oriented projects; provided tours, conducted virus indexing, and collected and analyzed data.

Arnold completed an M.S. and a Ph.D. in plant pathology from UC Davis and a B.S. in horticulture from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

Based in Modesto, Arnold can be reached at (209) 525-6821and klarnold@ucanr.edu. Follow her on Twitter @KariDigsPlants. 

Farzaneh Khorsandi
Khorsandi named ag safety and health engineer specialist 

Farzaneh Khorsandi Kouhanestani joined UCCE on Sept. 1, 2017, as an assistant agricultural safety and health engineer specialist in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at UC Davis.

Prior to joining UCCE, Khorsandi Kouhanestani worked as research assistant and Ph.D. student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her research is mainly related to agricultural machine design and evaluating the performance of the designed machines both experimentally and theoretically. The designed systems in the Ph.D. project were related to agricultural machinery safety. During her M.S. work, she designed, manufactured and evaluated the performance of a hand-held fruit harvester, a catch frame and a fruit sorter. After completing her M.S., she was a design engineer for an agricultural machinery design company, working on several design projects including a granule spreader, feed cutter and mixer and hay harvester.

Khorsandi Kouhanestani earned a B.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering in Iran, an M.S. in mechanics of agricultural machinery engineering from Shiraz University, Iran, and a Ph.D. in biosystems engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Khorsandi Kouhanestani is based at UC Davis and can be reached at (530) 752-7848 and fkhorsandi@ucdavis.edu.

Pramod Pandey
Pandey receives state's highest environmental honor 

California Safe Soil and Pramod Pandey, UCCE specialist in UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, were among 13 California organizations that received the state's highest environmental honor, the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA), in a ceremony at the California Environmental Protection Agency in Sacramento on Jan. 17.

The award recognizes the public-private partnership and collaborative research among California Safe Soil, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to recycle organic food waste into fertilizer and feed for agricultural use.

California Safe Soil has a proprietary new technology – enzymatic digestion – to recycle organic biomass. However, they had to prove that recycling food into fertilizer and feed can be done safely, without foodborne pathogens.

California Safe Soil worked with Pandey to conduct pathogen challenge research. Annette Jones and Douglas Hepper at CDFA and Bart Weimer, professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine, and Glenn Young, professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology, helped formulate the pathogen challenge test, which provided the scientific results needed to allow CDFA to issue an operating license for the enzymatic digestion.

Pandey's research, which was published in a peer-reviewed journal, proved that California Safe Soil's method for recycling organic food waste into fertilizer and feed is based on robust science and technology.

GEELA recipients are chosen from five categories including climate change, ecosystem and land-use stewardship, environmental education, sustainable practices and waste reduction. 

Trevor Suslow
Suslow honored by Steinbeck Center

Trevor Suslow, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis and director of the Postharvest Center, received the 2017 Valley of the World Education Award given by the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. The center established its Valley of the World Awards to honor key figures in the Salinas Valley agricultural industry.

“In the spirit of John Steinbeck's writings, the education award recognizes an individual who through his or her teaching and efforts has inspired and nourished a lifelong love of learning,” the center says on its website.

In presenting the award, the center described Suslow as having “one of the most active extension education and outreach programs” among extension specialists.

“Conservatively, he has provided over 1,500 local, state, national and international technical, extension education, training and outreach presentations on crop protection, soil and phyllosphere microbiology, biotechnology, fresh and fresh-cut produce quality systems, and microbial food safety of fresh produce,” the center wrote.

Soule named one of Top 20 under 40 in SLO

Katherine Soule

The San Luis Obispo Tribune has chosen Katherine Soule, UC Cooperative Extension director and advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, as one of its Top 20 under 40. The Tribune's annual competition recognizes young professionals “who are making significant contributions in the fields of health care, business, law, government and the nonprofit sector. Not only have they demonstrated excellence in their careers, they also have shown a profound commitment to public service.”

In the news article announcing the winners, the newspaper says that Soule has earned state and national recognition for improving community health and increasing diversity in youth participation.

“As the extension's youth, families and communities advisor for the last several years, Soule developed new 4-H programs engaging underserved youths and promoting healthy living, leadership and social development. Her efforts nearly doubled enrollment and boosted Latino participation 26.8 percent. She's delivered nutrition education to more than 10,000 people through various partnerships,” the Tribune wrote.

It goes on to add, “Soule is a founding member of the Cultivating Change Foundation, working to improve inclusivity for the LGBTQ community in agriculture locally and nationwide.”

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