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Posts Tagged: Stephanie Larson

Match.Graze matches livestock with land to reduce wildfire fuel

Cattle graze dry grass to reduce wildfire fuel. Photo by Roger Praplan.

UCCE Sonoma County is excited to announce a new tool to match grazers with landowners: Match.Graze. The free online service that allows users to find their perfect grazing match, is now live.

“It's like Tinder for livestock,” said Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock and range management advisor and director for Sonoma County, who developed Match.Graze.

Match.Graze is an interactive database of California contract grazers and landowners. Property owners create profiles with information about land they have available for grazing while livestock owners enter specifics about their herds for hire. That information will be associated with a marker pinned on a map of California. Users will be able to search the markers to find a contract grazer or available acreage to suit their vegetation management needs. 

“Every property is different and requires thoughtful consideration of how it should best be grazed,” Larson said. “Put Match.Graze to work and let's prevent catastrophic fire while helping landowners and livestock owners.”

Larson would like your help getting the word out to livestock owners and landowners across the state who may want to participate.

To get started, they should go to https://matchgraze.com and create a pin.

“We recommend doing this on a computer rather than a phone,” said Karen Giovannini, UCCE agriculture ombudsman for Sonoma County.

To make it easy for you to share Match.Graze with your landowners and grazers, Giovannini has assembled a sample email message, videos that explain the program, sample social media posts, photos of grazing animals and more at http://ucanr.edu/MGpromo.

Posted on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 12:25 PM

Regent Stegura 'blown away' by UCCE Sonoma work

UC alumni regent-designate Debby Stegura met UCCE staff and stakeholders in Sonoma County to learn more about UC ANR serves Californians away from campuses..

Vice President Glenda Humiston introduced alumni regent-designate Debby Stegura to UC Cooperative Extension staff and their community partners and clientele in Sonoma County on Nov. 15.

After visiting Beretta Dairy, Bayer Farm Park and Gardens, Sheppard Elementary and Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Regent Stegura tweeted:  

“Blown away by @ucanr tour of @UCCESonoma work—Beretta dairy, @UCMasterGarden, @Stuhlmullerwine, @California4H. Saw #kincaidfire reach, how to prepare better for future fires. @ucanr work benefits all of CA. Thank you!”

The retired business litigator and UC Davis alumna was joined on the tour by Anne Shaw, secretary and chief of staff to the regents, and Michael Bedard, UC state government relations legislative director.

At Beretta Dairy, UCCE dairy advisor Randi Black, third from left, explains calves are physically separated to prevent disease, but they can see and socialize with other calves.

Stephanie Larson, UCCE director for Sonoma County, led the tour, which first visited Beretta Dairy.

“It's so nice to have a dairy advisor,” Sonoma County dairy farmer Doug Beretta said, crediting Randi Black, UC Cooperative Extension dairy advisor, with providing the technical assistance he needed to apply for a grant to reduce methane emissions. 

Black, who joined UC ANR in 2017, helped four local dairies obtain grants totaling $2.5 million and said the projects propose to reduce emissions by 9,327 metric tons of CO2 equivalent over the next 5 years, which is comparable to removing 2,028 passenger vehicles from the road for a year.

Beretta talked about the work he has done at the dairy, based on UC research, to improve water quality. David Lewis, UCCE director for Marin and Napa counties, noted that similar manure management and water-quality work is being implemented by UCCE clientele in his counties.

Discussing the hardships created by low milk prices in the dairy industry, Beretta said he appreciated UCCE's agricultural ombudsman Karen Giovannini guiding producers who want to sell value-added products through the permitting process.

From left, Regent Stegura and Michael Bedard talk with Glenda Humiston at Bayer Farm Park and Gardens.

From the dairy, Stegura and the group met with Mimi Enright, UC Master Gardener Program manager for Sonoma County, UC Master Gardener volunteers and Julia Van Soelen Kim, North Bay food systems advisor at Bayer Farm Park and Gardens.

Collaborating with Bayer Farm, the Master Gardeners have been expanding outreach to Spanish-speaking members of the community. In addition to all of the traditional Master Gardener outreach, the Master Gardeners in Sonoma County have been actively promoting firewise landscaping to help Sonoma County residents better prepare for wildfires. Using UC ANR materials is critical, Enright said, to assure people the recommendations are based on scientific research.

Julia Van Soelen Kim explains how she and Mimi Enright launched a citizen science project with community members to assess food safety of produce grown in gardens after urban wildfires.
After the wildfires in 2017, Van Soelen Kim and Enright launched a citizen science project with community partners to assess produce safety. Within days of the fire, volunteers collected 200 samples of leafy greens from school, backyard and community gardens. With funding from UC ANR and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, they expanded testing to soil and partnered with UC Davis researchers to test eggs laid by backyard poultry, and published guidance for produce safety after urban wildfire.

After the Kincade Fire, when growers and gardeners asked if produce grown outdoors was safe to eat, Enright said UCCE Sonoma County could tell them, based on local research, it was safe to eat if consumers removed outer leaves and washed the produce and that the health benefits of eating fresh produce outweigh any trace contamination.

UCCE has been leading a coalition of community partners and government organizations to educate the community on reducing food waste and increasing food recovery. When PG&E announces public safety power shutoffs, they promote composting food that can't be eaten so it doesn't end up in a landfill.

“This kind of service in communities is not as well-known about UC as the campuses,” Humiston commented to the regent.

After telling Regent Stegura, VP Humiston and others what they like about 4-H, the 4-H members exchanged high-fives with them.

Across the street from Bayer Farm, Diego Mariscal, 4-H program assistant, has been collaborating with Sheppard Elementary School. It is one of several schools in the county providing 4-H afterschool clubs and other 4-H programs designed to nurture the next generation of Latino leaders. Last spring, Mariscal worked with families to build a 4-H soccer league for elementary school children. Parents, college and high school students were trained by 4-H to teach children teamwork, soccer skills and healthy eating habits. More than 200 new underserved youth participated in 4-H programs in Sonoma County during the 2018-2019 year.

A few of the soccer players, proudly wearing their green 4-H soccer uniforms, told the group what they liked about 4-H. 4-H All Star Corrianna E., who participates in the 4-H teen program, shared her experience in 4-H and expressed gratitude to the program for helping her overcome her shyness to become a strong public speaker. Corrianna's mother, Naomi Edwards, also shared her experience as 4-H Council President for Sonoma County. 

John Gorman, fourth from right, pointed out where the Kincade Fire burned Stuhlmuller Vineyards property, forcing him to sell the cattle and take a total loss on the smoke-damaged wine grapes.

The tour's last stop was at Stuhlmuller Vineyards, where vineyard manager John Gorman told Stegura and the group that California's preeminent grape growing region relies on UCCE for sound advice to manage pests and emerging problems.

“You want to know what's a good cultural practice? Rhonda Smith has answers backed up by hard science,” Gorman said of the UCCE viticulture advisor.

Stephanie Larson says her new grazing database Match.Graze to connect ranchers with landowners who want to use grazing to reduce fire fuels is just one of the ways UCCE is helping the community prepare for wildfire.
When new landowners ask Gorman for advice, he refers them to Steven Swain, UCCE environmental horticulture advisor, who advises small parcel land managers in Sonoma County on managing the land for fire and wildlife. “Without UCCE, where would they turn?” Gorman asked, adding that people from private companies may have recommendations that may not be in best interest of the land. 

Larson introduced new UC IPM advisor Cindy Kron, who succeeds recent retiree Lucia Varela. Kron is launching an IR-4 project to study pesticides for olives, which isn't a big enough market to interest private investment in research. She's also monitoring pears for brown marmorated stink bug because early detection is key to controlling the pest. Spotted lanternfly isn't in California yet, but grapes are among its favorite hosts so Kron is working with UC Master Gardener volunteers and other community members to watch for the exotic pest. 

The Kincade Fire destroyed fences and scorched the rangeland at Stuhlmuller Vineyards, forcing Gorman to sell the cattle. He showed the group where the fire failed to advance at the fire break created by the lush vineyards. As a result of the Kincade Fire, Gorman wasn't able to sell his petite verdot, chardonnay and cabernet grapes to wineries. To prove to the insurance company that smoke damaged the crop, his crew picked 30 tons of grapes for testing.

During and after the devastating fires in the North Bay, Larson, who is also a UCCE livestock and range management advisor, assisted livestock owners to gain access to their burned properties; this ensured their animals got food and water. She also organized resource meetings for landowners affected by fires, helping them apply for funding from government agencies and insurance companies for animal, forage and facility losses.

From left, VP Humiston, Regent Stegura, VP Chief of Staff Kathy Eftekhari and Anne Shaw, secretary and chief of staff to the UC regents at Stuhlmuller Vineyards.

Larson also said her new grazing database Match.Graze has been well-received by ranchers and landowners in Sonoma and Marin counties who want to use grazing to reduce fire fuels. Land managers and grazers can sign up at ucanr.edu/matchgraze to hire sheep, goats, cattle and horses to manage fire fuels.

The regent tours in Sonoma Country and Fresno County were coordinated by Anne Megaro, government and community relations director. She is planning future tours for regents at UC South Coast Research and Extension Center and other locations in the spring.

Stuhlmuller left grapes on the vine after smoke from the Kincade Fire made them unmarketable.

 

Posted on Monday, December 2, 2019 at 12:37 PM

Livestock and poultry owners asked to take survey on fire impact

Sheep at Hopland Research and Extension Center were moved out of the line of the River Fire.

People raising cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, horses, llamas, alpacas, aquaculture species or other production-oriented animals in California who have experienced at least one wildfire on their property within the last 10 years are being asked to participate in a Fire Impact and Risk Evaluation (FIRE) survey.

“We will aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems,” said Beatriz Martinez Lopez, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “The idea is also to create a risk map showing areas more likely to experience wildfires with high economic impact in California.

“This economic and risk assessment, to the best of our knowledge, has not been done and we hope to identify potential actions that ranchers can take to reduce or mitigate their losses if their property is hit by wildfire.”

Martínez López, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology at UC Davis, is teaming up with UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisors and wildfire specialists around the state to conduct the study.

The research team includes

  • Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Ventura County
  • Rebecca Ozeran, UCCE advisor in Fresno and Madera counties
  • Stephanie Larson, UCCE livestock range management advisor in Sonoma and Marin counties
  • Sheila Barry, UCCE livestock and natural resourcesadvisor, in Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
  • Josh Davy, UCCE livestock, range and natural resources advisor in Tehama, Colusa and Glenn counties
  • Max Moritz, UCCE wildfire specialist, UC Santa Barbara
  • Luke Macaulay, UCCE rangeland planning and policy specialist at UC Berkeley
  • Lenya Quinn-Davidson, UCCE wildfire advisor in Humboldt, Siskiyou, Trinity and Mendocino
  • counties
Wildfire in Tehama County. Photo by Josh Davy

“The idea came up in a conference in San Diego, just when we had several ongoing wildfires and we were discussing how poorly are some areas prepared for this and the need for better emergency planning, coordination and response when not only people, but also large animals are involved,” Martínez López said. “We hope this study will provide the foundation to advance in this direction.”

“Right now, we have no good estimate of the real cost of wildfire to livestock producers in California,” said Rebecca Ozeran, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. “Existing UCCE forage loss worksheets cannot account for the many other ways that wildfire affects livestock farms and ranches. As such, we need producers' input to help us calculate the range of immediate and long-term costs of wildfire.”

Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and range management advisor for Sonoma and Marin counties, agreed, saying, “The more producers who participate, the more accurate and useful our results will be.”

“We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, “And by federal and private agencies to better allocate funds for postfire programs available to livestock producers.”

The survey is online at http://bit.ly/FIREsurvey. It takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of properties the participant has that have been affected by wildfire.

“Survey answers are completely confidential and the results will be released only as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified,” said Martínez López. “This survey will provide critical information to create the foundation for future fire economic assessments and management decisions.”

The team would like your help in encouraging livestock producers who have experienced wildfire to participate in the FIRE survey.

Wildfire impacts ANR community

The River Fire started to move downhill toward the Hopland REC headquarters on July 27. Photo by Hannah Bird
Dear Colleagues,

There are 19 wildfires threatening communities all over the state and causing concern for our friends and colleagues. We've been in touch with our colleagues in the fire zones and everyone is safe and, as far as we know, no ANR members have lost homes. Here's an update from the affected areas.

In Lake County, the UCCE office is closed and staff members have been evacuated from their homes since Saturday due to the Mendocino Complex fires.

Hopland REC was hit hard by the River Fire. The good news is the evacuation order was lifted Monday and all Hopland Research and Extension Center employees are safe and the headquarter buildings are undamaged. The guard dog that had gone missing has been found. The animals were moved on Friday and all livestock are safe and accounted for. Roughly 2500 acres of the upper pastures burned and the domestic water line from the spring is down. On Friday, Cal Fire set up Incident Command Post at Hopland REC with 6+ engines, three bulldozers and a water tanker. Kudos to John Bailey, superintendent and interim director, and staff for their efforts, which no doubt limited the damage.

UCCE Shasta office is open. Many staff members evacuated due to the massive Carr Fire. Last week, 4-H members helped relocate animals to safety. At least one 4-H family lost their home to the Carr Fire – and 4-H advisor Nate Caeton fears others he hasn't been able to contact in the West Side 4-H Club have lost homes – so the local UCCE staff is reaching out to see how they can help.

UCCE Mendocino office is open. All employees are safe and the office suffered no damage from the Ranch Fire.

UCCE Riverside office is open. A Master Gardener volunteer lost her home in Idyllwild to the Cranston Fire. UCCE Master Gardener coordinator Rosa Olaiz and the rest of the UCCE Riverside County staff are safe and are making plans to assist the volunteer.

UCCE San Bernardino office is open and all staff members are safe from the Cranston Fire.

As the fires are still active, we're continuing to monitor the situation and hope for the best.

Because emergencies can arise without warning, UC ANR Environmental Health and Safety has this Safety Note to help make plans http://safety.ucanr.edu/files/152253.pdf. You can also learn what to do before, during and after a fire at http://cesutter.ucanr.edu/LivingWithFire, a website by Kate Wilkin, UCCE forestry, fire and natural resources advisor for Sutter, Yuba, Butte and Nevada counties.

Thank you all for your hard work and dedication, especially those of you impacted by the fires.

Sincerely,

Glenda Humiston
Vice President

Posted on Thursday, August 2, 2018 at 10:33 AM

Intermountain REC brings state-of-the-art conferencing to Tulelake

From left, Mark Lagrimini, vice provost of research and extension, and AVP Wendy Powers joined IREC director Rob Wilson for the ribbon cutting of IREC's new multipurpose conference and lab building.

Intermountain Research and Extension Center (IREC) celebrated the grand opening of a multipurpose conference and laboratory building on July 26. The facility will be available for use by private and public groups for business meetings, job fairs, trainings and conferences.

"The facility is the first in the Tulelake area to offer modern audio-visual infrastructure and high-speed internet connectivity capable of supporting remote presentations to stay in touch with groups from around the world," said Rob Wilson, IREC director. "We hope this facility will greatly increase the visibility and accessibility of local events and help draw more regional attention to the area."

Wilson, left, thanked the Staunton family for their generous donation supporting the building.

The conference room was dedicated in honor of the late John Staunton, a local research collaborator with UC Agriculture and Natural Resources who passed away in 2015. Staunton Farms and the Staunton family donated $25,000 to support the building project and recognize the Tulelake farmer and his long-standing support of agriculture and research.

Winema Elevators/Western Milling, Sensient Natural Ingredients, Macy's Flying Service, and Basin Fertilizer also contributed support.

UC awarded approximately $2 million for this capital improvement project with funds from UC lease revenue bonds to pay for most of the building's design and construction costs, but additional support is needed to complete the project. Intermountain REC has set a fundraising goal of $100,000 to pay for tables, chairs, furnishing and lab equipment for the building.

Donors will receive recognition in the entry of the new facility.

A special UC fund has been created to collect tax-deductible contributions to be used solely for this building project. Donations over $50 will receive recognition in print and on the IREC website. Donations over $1,000 will receive recognition on the donor wall in the building entryway. Name plate recognition on the donor wall will be based on the gift amount: Gold ($2,500+), Silver ($1,750 to $2,499), and Bronze ($1,000 to $1,749). Donations can be made via check using the enclosed envelope or by credit card by visiting the IREC website at http://irec.ucanr.edu and clicking the “Make a gift” link.

During the field day, Wilson gave an update on onion white rot research.

The ribbon cutting followed the 2018 IREC field day, an annual event that showcases the research underway at the 140-acre facility. Charlie Pickett of USDA, UC Davis Plant Breeding Center director Charlie Brummer, UCCE farm advisors David Lile and Rachael Long and UCCE specialist Dan Putnam joined Wilson in giving research updates on the tour.

Research presentations included work on biological control of cereal leaf beetle, influence of fall harvest management of irrigated grass hays, onion white rot, managing alfalfa weevil and clover rootcucurlio, pulse crop options for theKlamath Basin, cover crops and amendments, cutting schedule effects on lowlignin alfalfa andgermplasm evaluation of alfalfa and tallfescue.

UCCE advisor Rachael Long demonstrates using a sweep net to monitor for alfalfa weevils.

Steve Orloff, who conducted research at IREC for many years, was remembered.
Reporter Danielle Jester, who covered the events for the Siskiyou Daily News, noted the palpable absence of the late Steve Orloff, who was a UCCE farm advisor for Siskiyou County for 25 years. “Orloff's absence was noticeably felt throughout the day,” she wrote. “He passed away in October of 2017, and his influence in Siskiyou County's ag industry was very apparent, evidenced in part by the many mentions of his name and work throughout the day. IREC paid tribute to Orloff in the final page of its field day guide, which featured a full-page image of Orloff during a previous field day, with the words, ‘We miss you, Steve.'”

In the news article, Jester also wrote, “The information gleaned through research at the IREC can be invaluable to farmers and other researchers. Through its years of experimentation, the center has helped growers develop more effective practices in a wide range of areas, from determining the crops that will grow best in the local climate, to selecting the most economically viable crops for the region, to understanding the most effective ways to manage pests and disease.”

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at 10:21 PM
 
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