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Posts Tagged: Steve Orloff

Mural honoring Steve Orloff celebrated in Siskiyou County

A mural tribute to Siskiyou County agriculture and late UCCE advisor Steve Orloff was dedicated Oct. 13, 2018.

A mural depicting a UC Cooperative Extension advisor talking with a farmer beside a crop field and stream, surrounded by cattle, potatoes and a 4-H member showing a prize-winning sheep, against the backdrop of the Siskiyou Mountains was dedicated Oct. 13, 2018, to Siskiyou County agriculture and the memory of Steve Orloff.

Steve Orloff

Orloff's Family, friends, clientele and colleagues gathered to remember and honor Orloff, who passed away Oct. 3, 2017, after serving 33 years as a UCCE advisor, the last 25 years of his career in Siskiyou County.

“It is a testament to the power of Steve's work and ANR impact in local communities,” said Glenn Nader, emeritus livestock and natural resources advisor. Local farmers and ranchers funded the Steve Orloff mural, which is painted on the south wall facing the parking area of the UC Cooperative Extension office in Yreka, making it visible to I-5 travelers.

“Many members of the community and Steve's family were on hand to celebrate the efforts of the community to create a tribute to the work done by Steve Orloff,” said Jacki Zediker, 4-H community education specialist and coordinator in Siskiyou County. 

A plaque acknowledging contributions to the project is affixed to the mural.
The mural project was launched by local consultant Sari Sommarstrom, who served on several community organization boards with Orloff. 

“Sari and Steve began discussing the mural idea about a year or more before his passing, based on Sari noticing our exterior walls were very bland and could use some sprucing up,” said Carissa Koopmann Rivers, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County.

At the time, Orloff told Sommarstrom, “I can envision artwork with large cows and ranching depicted on one side transitioning to agricultural fields and mountains on the other side.  It would be a great tribute to ag in the county.”

Following Orloff's passing, Sommarstrom followed up on the mural design, fundraising and execution. She partnered with the local Farm Bureau to assist with the financial backing of the project. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved the mural in April 2018, with the county contributing the first $2,000, kicking off the fundraising campaign and allowing the painting to begin in September.

“The mural would not have come to fruition without efforts from within the entire community, and the enthusiasm of artist Kim Solga,” said Rivers. “It is important to recognize one particular person, Jacki Zediker, who was at the forefront of the project ensuring the mural exemplified the Siskiyou County agriculture and the vision that Steve had. Jacki not only worked diligently behind the scenes to cross t's and dot i's, she was also physically responsible for all the wall prep work and finishing coat on the wall, as well as organizing the official revealing unveiling of the mural on October 13, 2018.”

The mural is located at 1655 South Main St. in Yreka.



Posted on Friday, November 30, 2018 at 1:24 PM

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 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

In memoriam: Steve Orloff

Steve Orloff
Steve Orloff, UC Cooperative Extension director and advisor in Siskiyou County, died Oct. 3. He was 61.

“Over the 33 years that Steve has been a member of the UC ANR family, I'm sure that many of you have worked with this kind and affable man, whether it be at county director meetings, on alfalfa research or Program Council or other projects. We'll all miss Steve's good nature, willingness to help others and his expertise,” VP Glenda Humiston wrote in an email message to ANR employees.

Orloff, who grew up in Lancaster, earned his B.A. in geography at San Diego State University in 1978. From 1979 through 1981, he served in the Peace Corps, helping Central American farmers, primarily in El Salvador, and met his wife-to-be in Honduras. After graduating with his M.S. in general agricultural science from Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo in 1983, he joined UC ANR in 1984 as a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor for Los Angeles County, based in Lancaster.

After a few years working in the Southern California desert, Orloff moved north to become a farm advisor in Siskiyou County in 1992. He conducted research at the Intermountain Research and Extension Center in Tulelake.

When the California Alfalfa & Forage Association named Orloff as the 2011 recipient of its Jim Kuhn Leadership Award, it noted that he “conducted careful studies of the control of dodder, a major weed in alfalfa production in California, and his studies during the 1980s became the gold standard for management strategies for this difficult parasitic weed.”

In a tribute to their longtime colleague, UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist Dan Putnam and IREC director Rob Wilson wrote in the Alfalfa and Forages News blog:

Steve Orloff was a true agronomist with broad knowledge and in-depth expertise related to most fields of agriculture science. He published hundreds of articles reporting on his original research related to pest management, irrigation, harvest management fertilization and variety selection. Steve worked with many crops, including alfalfa, grass hays, small grains, onions, and several specialty crops. His accomplishments played a vital role in progressing California agriculture and helping solve many regional problems related to pests, water conservation, and economic stability. The publications “Intermountain Alfalfa Management,'" which he led in the 1990s, and “Irrigated Alfalfa Management for Desert and Mediterranean Zones” (2008), to which he made significant contributions, are considered the leading nationwide references to management of alfalfa.

Orloff's family held a “Celebration of Life.” UC Cooperative Extension weed specialist Brad Hanson attended the event and later wrote in a UC Weed Science blog post, “Many of his family and friends celebrated Steve's life at a remembrance on Oct. 14 on a farm overlooking the alfalfa fields of the Scott Valley near Fort Jones, Calif. In my mind, the memorial was very fitting and much like Steve - there was some seriousness, plenty of humor and inside jokes, and real personal connections among Steve's family, friends, and colleagues.”

Orloff is survived by his wife, Islia; their three sons, Michael, Danny and Rob; his mother, Carol; and sisters Lisa and Diane.

[11/7/2017 Updated to include the years Orloff served in the Peace Corps and the year he transferred to Siskiyou County.]

Posted on Friday, October 20, 2017 at 7:57 PM

ANR reaches out to donors on #GivingTuesday

Last year, 4-H in Placer County was successful in attracting donations through its #GivingTues campaign.
This year ANR will participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season. 

Last year, the 4-H Youth Development Program and UC Master Gardener Program successfully participated in #GivingTuesday campaigns.

“Our goal for 4-H was to raise $10,000 and we exceeded our goal with donations totaling over $13,000,” said Andrea Ambrose, acting director of Development Services. 4-H programs in 17 counties participated. In Placer County, the robotics team got their friends and family involved to promote #4HGivingConfidence on social media, leading Placer County to collect the largest amount for the 4-H Youth Development Program.

Although not as widely recognized as the shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday appeals to people swept up in the spirit of giving at the end of the year.

“#GivingTuesday is a wonderful opportunity for all ANR programs to augment their funding with private donations,” said Ambrose.

A website is being created with links to all of ANR's programs, Research and Extension Centers and extension offices. Donors will be invited to designate the program or location to which they wish to donate. The URL for the #GivingTuesday website will be announced in ANR Update soon. 

ANR will provide a toolkit for county offices and programs to participate. It will include:

  • A customizable letter to send to stakeholders
  • Templates for “unselfies.” Donors may take photos of themselves holding an unselfie sign and share on social media how they are giving.
  • Sample tweets and social media posts
  • Sample thank you note
Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at 12:29 PM

UC Research to Policy Conference puts science into action

Jason Delborne described the roles of a scientist in policy as outlined in Roger A. Pielke, Jr.'s book "The Honest Broker": pure scientist, issue advocate, science arbiter and honest broker.
A diverse group of UC scientists working on agricultural, natural resources and food issues came together at the First Research to Policy Conference to explore how to use research to effectively engage in public policy. The event, hosted by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, was held on the UC Davis campus on Oct. 12-13.

“We focused on fostering a good dialogue and facilitating co-learning among attendees,” said event co-chair Leslie Roche, assistant UC Cooperative Extension specialist in rangeland management. “We hosted university faculty, statewide CE specialists and academics, and county-based CE advisors—as well as local policymakers and leaders from non-governmental organizations and statewide programs.”

UC researchers who have successfully engaged in the public policy arena provided numerous models of linking research and policy. There were five key take-aways for scientists:

-          Honest broker role – Present policymakers with various policy options, based on sound research. Have a clear understanding of the science behind your messaging. Use qualitative data to tell the story of the hard quantitative data.

-          Active engagement – Be part of informational and oversight hearings. Empower communities to take action and foster community engagement.

-          Build coalitions – Collaboration is imperative. Develop unexpected allies and foster long-term relationships, realizing it may take some time to bear fruit.

-          Disseminate information – Share your data in user-friendly formats. Target local community, Legislature and state agencies to inform policies. Get your science into trainings and continuing education programs. Leverage your coalition to expand the circulation of your research results.

-          Target messages – Develop a strong, concise message to deliver your research. Use an emotional connection – “Old-growth oak woodlands” versus “oak woodland.”

Throughout the conference, speakers highlighted the multiple levels of engagement for researchers in the policy arena, with different roles matching different needs – some take a center stage, while others play imperative behind-the-scenes roles.

Keynote speaker Jason Delborne, associate professor of science, policy and society at North Carolina State University, encouraged engaging the public. “Science is a social process,” he said, noting that community and public engagement is often key to successfully applying research to policy. Delborne also touched on the tension between expertise and democracy, commenting that we can't always resolve it and often we have to learn to live with this tension.

From left, Mindy Romero, Lorrene Ritchie, Thomas Harter, David Lewis and Yana Valachovic, shared what they have learned from engaging in policy.

A diverse set of researchers shared their perspectives from experiences in engaging in policy. The panel included Thomas Harter, Robert M. Hagan Endowed Chair in Water Management and Policy and UCCE specialist in the Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources at UC Davis; Lorrene Ritchie, director of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute; Mindy Romero, founder and director of California Civic Engagement Project at UC Davis Center for Regional Change; and Yana Valachovic, UCCE forest advisor and county director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties. They discussed the importance of building strong science-based programs, actively engaging local communities and building coalitions of support.

From left, Amrith Gunasekara, Tina Cannon Leahy, Anne Megaro, Rebecca Newhouse and Juliet Sims described how they use research to shape policy.

Guests from both government and non-government organizations who use research to shape policy shared their perspectives on translating science to decision-making.

“Science is the foundation for developing programs,” said Amrith Gunasekara, science advisor for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

Tina Cannon Leahy, attorney with the State Water Resources Control Board, noted that policymakers and decision-makers are often looking for a clear, “black-and-white” answer, while for scientists, there is “no answer,” but rather information.

Anne Megaro, consultant to the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, and Rebecca Newhouse, consultant to the California Senate Environmental Quality Committee, both emphasized the importance of making sure science is accessible and digestible.

Juliet Sims of the Prevention Institute explained how her organization uses both published scholarly literature and community stories to effectively inform its advocacy platform.

Keynote speaker Rachel Morello-Frosch, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley, introduced the concept of moving from “translational research” to “transformational research,” a shift that requires deep community engagement in meaningful ways to effect policy change.

During a breakout session, participants discuss current research that has policy implications.

In the afternoon, four breakout sessions were offered: “Policy structures and opportunities for engagement” with Robert Waste, “Relational approaches to science communication and engagement” with Faith Kearns, “Putting it into practice–UC ANR case studies” with Dave Campbell, Clare Gupta and Lucas Frerichs, and “Navigating policy engagement: Education vs advocacy,” with Adrian Lopez and Kit Batten. These training modules helped participants build technical skills and analytical frameworks for successful policy engagement.

The Research to Policy Conference was a forum to exchange ideas and share perspectives, continuing to bridge the gap between science and policy communities. It challenged attendees to be open to new ways of thinking, shared innovative outreach methods and showcased how research can have an impact in the policy arena.

“The event brought cross-fertilization and co-learning between disciplines – nutrition, forest management, water quality – and there were common themes that resonated for all participants,” said event co-chair Gupta, assistant UCCE specialist in public policy and translational research.

VP Glenda Humiston wrapped up the policy conference by saying, "Good science is vital for good policy. It's great to see UC folks enhancing these skills to bring science together with policy."

For more information on applying research to policy, contact Frerichs, UC ANR government and community relations manager, at (530) 750-1218 or, or Research to Policy Program Team contacts Gupta at and Roche at

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