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Posts Tagged: Scott Stoddard

In memoriam: Bill Weir

Bill Weir worked on several field crops, but was best known for his contributions to the cotton industry. Photo by Scott Stoddard.

Bill Weir, UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus, passed away on July 28 in Merced. He was 84.

Bill Weir

Born in in San Antonio, Texas, Weir earned his B.S. at Texas A&M University and his M.S. in vegetable crops and his Ph.D. in soil science at UC Davis.

Weir began his UC career as a staff research associate at UC Davis in 1966. In 1974, he joined UC Cooperative Extension as a field crops advisor in Merced County, where he worked until he retired in 2002. Weir worked on sugar beets, rice, barley, wheat, corn, dry beans, rye and oats, but is best remembered for his contributions to cotton. He became known as the "Father of narrow-row cotton" as his research showing increased cotton yields convinced growers to switch from planting on 40-inch beds – the width of a horse – to 30-inch beds.

In the 1970s, after observing that sunlight reached the soil between rows even late in the season, Weir began comparing narrow-row plantings of cotton with conventional 40-inch spacing, experimenting with various cotton varieties and plant populations.

Bill Weir drives a spray rig through cotton. Photo courtesy of Scott Stoddard

Working with a local Merced County grower, Weir designed the first 30-inch spindle cotton harvester in the world by converting a conventional 40-inch picker. “Results of our tests led both John Deere and International Harvester to produce commercial 30-inch spindle cotton harvesters,” Weir wrote in a UC Delivers story.

By the time he retired, greater yields from narrow-row cotton generated over $7 million more revenue per year for growers in Merced County alone. Growers in other counties, other states and other countries adopted the practice.

Weir was also part of the research team that developed a technique called plant mapping. “We learned how to let the plant tell us what it needs and then act accordingly,” Weir said. “We were able to cut back on inputs, saving growers money.”

UCCE farm advisor Scott Stoddard, right, says he learned a lot about central California agriculture while working with Weir, shown in center. Photo courtesy of Scott Stoddard

Scott Stoddard, UCCE vegetable crops farm advisor for Merced and Madera counties and director for UCCE in Merced County, joined UCCE in 1998. For the first four years, he worked as a staff research assistant with Weir on research projects in cotton, tomatoes, melons and sweetpotatoes.

“I was hired as an SRA to help Bill with his new veg crops responsibilities. Bill taught me so much about central California agriculture,” Stoddard said. 

Stoddard recalled accompanying Weir to view test plots.

“We would ride together in his Chevy pickup – Bill preferred Chevrolet over Ford because they rode smoother – to a test plot and discuss soil types and salinity and the impacts on crop selection, drainage, and the eventual creation of Kesterson Wildlife Refuge. While cotton was always his main crop, he knew a lot about the melon industry and how to pick a ripe honeydew or watermelon in the field – which is a lot harder than a cantaloupe!”

“Bill preferred taking the back roads to get to farm calls and test plots. We would take the ‘long way' to West Side Research and Extension Center in Five Points, as it gave him the opportunity to see what was happening with all the different crops being grown on the west side of Merced and Fresno counties,” Stoddard recalled.

“August was his favorite time of the year because that's when everybody, from tractors to trucks, was so busy with harvest of so many commodities. He never complained about the 100-degree days – in fact I think he enjoyed the heat.” 

When he retired, Weir (third from right) said, “Over the years, there were many changes in Extension. But, all in all, Extension has been great for me." Photo courtesy of Scott Stoddard

During his career, Weir authored or coauthored 195 peer-reviewed or scientific papers. His many awards included the 1993 and 1995 Certificate of Excellence Awards from the American Society of Agronomy.

When he retired, Weir said, “Over the years, there were many changes in Extension. But, all in all, Extension has been great for me. If I were independently wealthy, I still would have liked to do what I did during my career. That's how much I've enjoyed working in agriculture, helping farmers and being a part of Extension.”

In retirement, Weir became a private crop consultant and enjoyed gardening and wood working.

He is survived by his wife Carol, son Daniel Louis Weir and daughter-in-law Teresa, daughter Deborah Leanne Weir and eight grandchildren.

Read more about Weir's life at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/mercedsunstar/name/billy-weir-obituary?id=36127405.

Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 1:03 PM

Names in the News

Woodmansee named UCCE livestock and natural resources advisor

Grace Woodmansee
Grace Woodmansee will join UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County as a livestock and natural resources advisor on Jan. 4, 2021.

For the past four years, Woodmansee worked as a research assistant and UC Davis student in the UC Rangelands lab to address management challenges on grazing lands.

“As an undergraduate research assistant at the Chico State Beef Unit, I discovered my passion for rangeland science and management a discipline that combines my interests in social, ecological and livestock production research,” said Woodmansee, who completed her Master of Science in agronomy at UC Davis in November.

“I am very excited to join the community of Siskiyou County and to work with ranchers and land managers to identify research priorities, develop projects and address challenges related to livestock production and natural resource management,” she said.

Woodmansee will be based in Yreka and can be reached at gwoodmansee@ucdavis.edu.

Marandi joins Program Planning and Evaluation

Leyla Marandi
Leyla Marandi joined UC ANR's Office of Program Planning and Evaluation as a program policy analyst on Nov. 30. She works with Katherine Webb-Martinez, Kit Alviz, and Chris Hanson to evaluate UC ANR's programs and contribute various annual reports. Marandi will be managing the UC Delivers Blog and will assist colleagues who want to contribute an impact story.  

Before joining UC ANR, Marandi worked for local government and nonprofits on community wellness and food security. She learned UC Cooperative Extension was working toward the same goals. In her last position at the Center for Ecoliteracy, she managed their California Food for California Kids initiative, which works statewide to increase public schools' commitment and capacity for serving fresh and locally grown foods.

She earned a B.A. in political science from UCLA and a Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California.

Marandi is based in Oakland at UCOP and can be reached at (510) 987-0100 and leyla.marandi@ucop.edu.

Vargas promoted to community education supervisor 1

Rosa Vargas
Rosa Vargas has been promoted to Community Education Supervisor 1 for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC, working for UC Cooperative Extension in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

Vargas, who holds a Master's in Public Administration and a bachelor's degree in business administration, both from California State University, Stanislaus, began working for CalFresh Healthy Living, UC in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties as a Community Education Specialist II in March 2019.

As a public health professional, she has experience coordinating and implementing programs focusing on activity promotion, healthy eating, chronic disease management, maternity management, and tobacco cessation for adults and youth.

Vargas is based in San Luis Obispo and can be reached at rivargas@ucanr.edu.

 

Sutherland and almond advisors honored for IPM work

Andrew Sutherland
UC Cooperative Extension pest management advisors recently received honors from the International IPM Symposium for their work promoting safe and sustainable pest management.

Andrew Sutherland received an award of excellence for integrated pest management practitioners at academic institutions, and the California Almond IPM Team received a team award of excellence.

The honors are awarded to people or teams based on demonstrated results in:

  • Reducing human health risks
  • Minimizing adverse environmental effects from pests or pest-management activities
  • Improving economic returns by reducing input costs or improving product or service quality
  • Documenting outcomes such as reduced pesticide use, hazard reduction, improved economic returns or positive environmental impacts
  • Developing or implementing innovative strategies
  • Working successfully with teams

Sutherland is being honored for his pioneering work as the first Area Urban IPM Advisor in California, a position he has served since 2012. With no prior program or predecessor to follow, he was faced with the task of serving the IPM needs of over 15 diverse stakeholder groups ranging from structural, industrial and household pest control operators to retail store staff, housing and lodging managers and childcare providers. Some of the focus areas of his program include bed bugs, cockroaches and termite remediation and reduced-risk pest management in childcare facilities and low-income multi-unit housing. One of Sutherland's notable projects was the development of a clearinghouse website for bed bug prevention and management information, serving site-specific and state-specific client groups in the Western United States.

California Almond IPM Team in 2019

The California Almond IPM Team, composed of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and others, is being recognized with the Award of Excellence - Team as a role model for the implementation of integrated pest management practices.

Team members are UC Cooperative Extension advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former Cooperative Extension advisor Emily Symmes, Brad Higbee, who retired from Paramount Farming Company, and Charles Burkes of USDA-ARS.

For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bugs and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption in almond orchards. The team's efforts pushed mating disruption along the IPM continuum from basic to applied research, applied research to demonstration plots, demonstration plots to extension, and extension to adoption and implementation against California's key pests of almonds. The team represents a prime example of the impacts that can be achieved through multi-organizational collaborative efforts. These collaborative efforts included private farming companies, university and U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists, extension specialists, growers and their associated commodity board.

For a full list of award winners, see https://ipmsymposium.org/2021/awards.html.

Blackburn honored by Alameda County Board of Supervisors

Mary Blackburn (on left before 2020)

Mary Blackburn, UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor, was honored Dec. 8 by the Alameda County Board of Supervisors with a resolution for her 50-plus years of work to help older adults, pregnant teens and other vulnerable people in Alameda County improve their health.

Blackburn, who has worked for UC ANR since 1990, joined the supervisors via Zoom to accept the honor and said she hopes the recognition motivates young people to serve their communities.

Noting her career began amid the racial unrest and turbulent times of the 1960s, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson said, "These kinds of accomplishments were pioneering."

Watch the 10-minute presentation at https://youtu.be/PbTwfcU7nBc and read more about Blackburn's career at https://bit.ly/2ShbLUj.

Drill appointed to NUEL Steering Committee

Sabrina Drill
Sabrina Drill has been appointed to the National Urban Extension Leaders (NUEL) Steering Committee for a three-year term (2021-2023). She succeeds Fe Moncloa, who previously held the position. 

NUEL encourages work across programmatic areas to serve the diverse needs of urban communities.

“My own area of interest, from the natural resources viewpoint, is to look at and extend the ways that urban ecosystems can enhance the resilience of cities,” Drill said. “For example, on the engineering side, this can mean applying nature-based solutions, such as floodplain restoration and rain gardens, to improve water supply and quality and to reduce the impacts of flooding. It also means benefiting urban communities by making sure that they have equitable access to the physical and mental health benefits of natural areas – in other words, paying special attention in park-poor lower income areas, and working to reduce barriers to access to nature for communities of color.”

Other extension personnel may focus on nutrition, community gardening and food deserts, or the needs of urban youth for positive development opportunities.  

NUEL seeks to support extension academics working in these areas by providing professional development opportunities and promoting multistate collaboration and knowledge sharing for research and extension programming.

Parker named president of National Institutes for Water Resources

Doug Parker
Doug Parker, director of UC ANR's California Institute for Water Resources, has been named president of the National Institutes for Water Resources. NIWR is the organization of Water Resources Research Institutes, including California Institute for Water Resources, across the U.S. There are 54 NIWR institutes, one in every state and the District of Columbia and the territories. 

NIWR cooperates with the U.S. Geological Survey to support, coordinate and facilitate research through the annual base grants, national competitive grants, coordination grants, and in operating the NIWR-USGS Student Internship Program. 

 

Stoddard and Daugovish receive vegetable research award

Scott Stoddard, UCCE vegetable crops farm advisor for Merced and Madera counties, and Oleg Daugovish, UCCE strawberry and vegetable crop advisor for Ventura County, were presented the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award during the Vegetable Crop Program Team meeting Dec. 11.

The UC Davis Plant Sciences Department established the Oscar Lorenz Vegetable Research Award and presents it annually to individuals contributing to vegetable research.

Stoddard, who has been with Cooperative Extension for 22 years, focuses his research program primarily on tomatoes, sweet potatoes and melons, with an emphasis on plant fertility, variety evaluation, pest management and particularly weed management.

“He is THE California sweetpotato expert, collaborating with other U.S. sweetpotato production areas on variety development and evaluation,” said Brenna Aegerter, who presented Stoddard's award. “He has also made great contributions to pest management in sweetpotato. Scott is a great colleague and researcher. He is practical, grower-oriented, hardworking and has great ideas.”

“Oleg has contributed to development of Chateau herbicide for celery and strawberry, and several herbicides in strawberry,” said Steve Fennimore, who presented Daugovish's award. “He currently is a key member of a group that is developing precision soilborne disease management strategies for strawberry and vegetable crops in rotation with strawberry. Oleg is a master of languages besides Russian and English. He has learned Spanish and I have heard several of his extension presentations in this language and he is fluent. He is engaged internationally and has done several projects in Africa and the Middle East to help poor farmers in developing countries.”

Oscar Lorenz, a UC Davis professor of vegetable crops from 1941 to 1982, is remembered as an exceptional scientist, administrator and for his dedication to the California vegetable industry.

Each Lorenz award recipient will receive a plaque and a check for $1,000. 

Scott Stoddard
Oleg Daugovish (right)

ANR Statewide Conference reaches maximum capacity

If you haven't registered for the ANR Statewide Conference yet, there's no guarantee space will be available. There are 653 people registered, including speakers and UC President's Advisory Commission members (PAC), for the conference being held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in Ontario April 9-12.

“At this point, we are accepting applications to attend because we're exceeding capacity of the facility,” said Sherry Cooper, director of Program Support Unit. “New registrations will not be confirmed until you receive an email or phone call confirming your registration, so please wait for confirmation before making travel plans.”

Among those registered are 145 UC Cooperative Extension advisors, 71 UCCE specialists, 26 academic coordinators and administrators, 20 Agricultural Experiment Station faculty members and nearly 350 administrative and programmatic staff.

The President's Advisory Commission will meet on Monday afternoon and PAC members have been invited to stay to hear California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross speak Monday evening, ANR leaders discuss “Charting a Sustainable Future for ANR,” and President Janet Napolitano speak on Tuesday.

The agriculture and natural resources industry leaders who serve on PAC will also join ANR members Tuesday morning to listen to keynote speaker Antwi Akom, UCSF and SFSU professor and founding director of Social Innovation and Urban Opportunity Lab (SOUL) and co-founder and CEO of Streetwyze. His talk is titled “Race, Space, Place and Waste: How Innovation, Education, and Inspiration Can Fearlessly Catalyze California Towards Becoming the World's Leader in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management.”

If you plan to tweet about the ANR Statewide Conference, the hashtag is #UCANRconf2018.

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 1:42 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

IGIS plans next steps based on program review

Glenda Humiston
In 2017, an ad hoc committee was appointed to carry out ANR's routine five-year statewide program review of our Informatics and Geographic Information Systems (IGIS) Program. Associate Vice President Powers and I extend a thank you to the committee for their time commitment and thoroughness in examining the program and providing recommendations to UC ANR's Program Council (PC). The time and effort of IGIS Director Maggi Kelly and staff to provide information and PC's review of the report and recommendations are also greatly appreciated.

Given limited personnel and a short time since startup, IGIS has made significant contributions throughout ANR. There is a great need for the program within and beyond ANR, and IGIS personnel have shown impressive results in reaching out to the wider ANR community and external partners.

Here is a summary of the direction and next steps I provided to the IGIS Program Director:

  • IGIS should focus on expanding capacity and reach with drones and prioritize investing in new technology.
  • IGIS will work with the REC Directors to develop a call process to identify science leads who are interested in taking over full ownership of one or more of the flux towers.
  • IGIS should discontinue its involvement with cataloguing dark data, but work with ANR Communication Services and Information Technology office (CSIT) to inform ANR academics that digitized documents are available in the ANR repository.
  • Associate Vice President Powers and I will meet with Program Director Kelly to further discuss the proposal to re-characterize IGIS from a statewide program to a statewide academic service.
  • IGIS will develop a business plan to continue to scale up services that are in demand by UC ANR academics and offer services in a way that decreases reliance on central funds.
  • IGIS should update its website to clearly articulate to whom resources and services are available. When IGIS is not able to provide a service, to the degree possible, it should act as a clearing house and refer clients to other providers.
  • IGIS should incorporate evaluation methods that focus on the effectiveness of workshops and services and the extent of IGIS' reach.

I look forward to working with IGIS as it pursues these and other opportunities that may arise.

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:20 PM
Focus Area Tags: Innovation

Names in the News

Wang joins UCCE as vegetable and irrigation advisor

Zheng Wang

Zheng Wang joined UCCE on March 5, 2018, as an area vegetable production and irrigation advisor in Stanislaus, San Joaquin and Merced counties.

Prior to joining UCCE, Wang was a postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University-Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, where he had conducted cutting-edge and applied research and extension work on vegetable crop production since 2015. His federally funded and state-funded projects integrated minimal tillage, vegetable grafting and use of microbial biostimulants to optimize local and regional vegetable operations. From 2011 to 2014, Wang was a graduate research assistant at University of Kentucky. His research focused on the effects of production systems and tillage applications on vegetable drought tolerance and endophytic bacterial dynamics.

Wang earned a Ph.D. in crop science from University of Kentucky and an M.S. in agriculture from Western Kentucky University. Wang, who is fluent in Chinese, earned a B.S. in agronomy from Shenyang Agricultural University in China.

Wang is based in Modesto and can be reached at (209) 525-6822 and zzwwang@ucanr.edu.

Sosnoskie returns as UCCE agronomy and weed advisor

Lynn Sosnoskie

Lynn Sosnoskie joined UCCE on Feb. 26, 2018, as an area agronomy and weed management advisor in Merced and Madera counties. 

Before returning to UC, Sosnoskie spent a year at Washington State University as an assistant research faculty member tasked with extending the reach of the WSU weed science team in the Columbia Basin. From 2012 to 2016, Sosnoskie was an associate project scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, working with UCCE specialist Brad Hanson to partner solutions-based research needs of growers with an increased understanding of the biological and environmental factors that impact weeds and weed control in California's specialty crops. From 2006 to 2011, she held a postdoctoral research professional position at University of Georgia, where she contributed to weed control research and outreach efforts in upland cotton and fresh market vegetables.

As a weed scientist, Sosnoskie is interested in the spread of herbicide-resistant weeds, the preservation of effective chemical control strategies through the judicious use of herbicides and the adoption of non-chemical control practices, automated weeders, the effects of drought on the composition of weed communities, perennial weed management, and improving our understanding of weed biology and ecology to maximize vegetation control. With respect to agronomy, Sosnoskie evaluates crop responses to temperature, as well as water availability and water quality, and the epidemiology and management of diseases like Fusarium Race 4 in cotton. She collaborates on a variety of crop issues such as soil salinity and fertility management. 

Sosnoskie earned a Ph.D. in horticulture and crop science from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in crop and soil science from University of Delaware, and a B.S. in biology from Lebanon Valley College.

Based in Merced, Sosnoskie can be reached at (229) 326-2676 and lmsosnoskie@ucanr.edu. You can follow her on Twitter @LynnSosnoskie and @agronomyweedsci.

Zalom and Goodell receive international lifetime IPM awards

Frank Zalom Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey

Peter Goodell, UCCE integrated pest management advisor emeritus, and Frank Zalom, professor and UCCE specialist in the Department of Entomology and Nematology at UC Davis, received lifetime achievement awards at the Ninth International IPM Symposium March 19 in Baltimore.

Zalom is a past president of the 7,000-member Entomological Society of America, co-founder of the International IPM symposia, and served as director of UC ANR's Statewide IPM Program for 16 years.

“Dr. Zalom continues to advance the science and implementation of IPM,” said Steve Nadler, professor and chair of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “His integrity, service and respect for all are legendary.”

Read more about Zalom's contributions at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.

Pete Goodell Photo by Todd Fitchette
Goodell retired in 2017 after serving 36 years as an advisor with the UC Statewide IPM Program, which was established in 1980. His accomplishments have been recognized with two Distinguished Service Awards from UC ANR, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists, and even being named by US News and World Report as one of the “Ten Most Indispensable Americans.”

Read more about Goodell's career at //ucanr.edu/blogs/blogcore/postdetail.cfm?postnum=24248.

Surls receives 2018 Bradford Rominger Ag Sustainability Leadership Award

Rachel Surls

Rachel Surls, UCCE sustainable food systems advisor for Los Angeles County, is this year's recipient of the Eric Bradford and Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award. Surls received the award from the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at the Celebrating Women in Agriculture event in Davis on April 3.

Surls has been committed to community gardens, school gardens, and urban agriculture since long before our cities took notice. For 30 years, she has worked at the UC Cooperative Extension Office in Los Angeles County, helping to bring city-grown food into the mainstream.

The Bradford Rominger award, given yearly, honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist.

“In her three-decade career with UCCE, Rachel has developed a strong program addressing some of our most critical issues in sustainable agriculture,” says Keith Nathaniel, the Los Angeles County Cooperative Extension director. “She does so with innovative strategies, working with all aspects of the LA community. After 30 years doing this work, she continues to be active in the community she serves.”

In Surls' career, gardening has been a tool to build science literacy for schoolchildren, to increase self-sufficiency for communities impacted by economic downturn, and to create small businesses for urban entrepreneurs. As the interest in and support for urban agriculture has grown, she has been in the heart of Los Angeles, ready to respond to the needs of the city's farmers and gardeners. – Aubrey Thompson

Linquist honored with Rice Research and Education Award

Bruce Linquist

The Rice Technical Working Group presented Bruce Linquist, UCCE specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, and a team of rice researchers with the Distinguished Rice Research and Education Award Feb. 21 during their annual conference in Long Beach.

Linquist has been collaborating with rice researchers at the University of Arkansas, the USDA in Jonesborough, Ark., and Louisiana State University on advancing irrigation management practices to achieve sustainable intensification outcomes.

While rice has historically been grown in flooded fields, the researchers have been introducing aerobic periods during the growing season (also known as alternate wetting and drying). The practice has been shown to reduce CH4 emissions and water use. Read more about the rice project at http://news.plantsciences.ucdavis.edu/2018/03/27/bruce-linquist-distinguished-rice-research-and-education-award.  – Ann Filmer

Doug Parker

Parker re-elected to national water resources board

Doug Parker, director of the California Institute for Water Resources, has been re-elected by the delegates of the Universities Council on Water Resources to serve as a member of the Board of Directors. Parker, who is the past president of UCOWR, an association of universities and organizations leading in education, research and public service in water resources, will begin his next three-year term with the UCOWR Board meeting on June 28 at the joint 2018 UCOWR National Institutes for Water Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Penn.

UCOWR strives to facilitate water-related education at all levels, promote meaningful research and technology transfer on contemporary and emerging water resources issues, compile and disseminate information on water problems and solutions, and promote informed decisions about water issues at all levels of society. 

Posted on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at 12:00 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

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