Posts Tagged: Surendra Dara
Soule named assistant vice provost for CE
Katherine Soule will serve as ANR's new Assistant Vice Provost for Cooperative Extension. She will start her new duties on July 1, 2020, and continue to serve as UCCE director for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties and as UCCE youth, families and communities advisor. The role was previously held by Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty until she assumed the role of Statewide 4-H Youth Development Program director.
“We are excited to have Katherine on the Cooperative Extension administrative team! She brings a breadth of Cooperative Extension experiences and leadership skills,” said Mark Lagrimini, vice provost for research and extension. “Katherine is known for her innovative, collaborative, and strengths-based leadership. She cares deeply about improving lives and working environments for her unit, her community and ANR.”
Soule earned her Ph.D. from the University of Georgia, Athens in 2013 and became the UCCE youth, families and communities advisor for San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties. In 2017, she accepted an additional appointment as UCCE director for these counties. She was elected as UC ANR's Academic Assembly Council president for a two-year term ending in June 2020.
"As the assistant vice provost of Cooperative Extension, I look forward to supporting the development and successes of new and existing county directors,” Soule said. “I hope to promote collaborative, cross-county communication, while focusing on identifying and meeting the needs of county directors across the division. We are all most effective when we learn from and support one another, so I look forward to connecting with academics, county directors, ANR leadership and other UC ANR personnel in this new role."
Choe, Dara and IPM team honored by Pacific Branch of ESA
Choe, UCCE specialist in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology, won the Medical, Urban, and Veterinary Entomology Award.
“Since joining the faculty at UC Riverside in 2011, [Choe] has developed an outstanding research and extension program dealing with the major urban structural pests and related issues in the western United States,” wrote Mike Rust, UC Riverside entomology professor, in his nomination letter.
His research includes exploiting the role of semiochemicals and behavior to control social insects and developing novel ant baits.
“Dr. Choe has been at the forefront of developing hydrogels as carriers of baits to control ants and yellowjackets. Developing cost-effective and environmentally safe delivery strategies has always been a major problem facing the use of ant baits in agriculture and urban setting. His pioneering biodegradable alginate beads promise to be a major advancement,” Rust wrote.
Dara, UC Cooperative Extension entomology and biologicals advisor for San Luis Obispo and Ventura counties, won the Award for Excellence in Integrated Pest Management.
This annual award recognizes individuals who made outstanding contributions in research and outreach in the area of IPM. Dara's new IPM model has been well-received and its impact has been documented in a UC Delivers story. Dara is the first UC ANR scientist to receive this award and fourth from UC since the Pacific Branch began offering awards in this category in 2009.
The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team won the Entomology Team Work Award. The team consists of UC IPM advisors David Haviland and Jhalendra Rijal, former UCCE advisor Emily Symmes, UCCE Kern County staff research associate Stephanie Rill, industry researcher Bradly Higbee of Trécé, USDA scientist Charles Burkes and Bob Curtis of the Almond Board of California.
The team encouraged the adoption of mating disruption for managing navel orangeworm, a major pest in almond orchards, especially in the San Joaquin Valley. After they began demonstrating that mating disruption proved to be an economical pest control method in orchards, they saw a rapid rise in growers adopting the technology. Based on a survey of pest control advisers and growers conducted in the early 2019, the anticipated use of navel orangeworm mating disruption for the 2019 season in San Joaquin Valley was 32%, as opposed to the 7% adoption in 2017. Kern County data showed a 26% countywide increase in the adoption of mating disruption from 2017-2018.
For more than a decade, the team conducted research on navel orangeworm, spider mites, leaffooted bug and ants that laid the groundwork for IPM adoption. For the past three years, the team put these IPM practices on display using nine demonstration orchards across the San Joaquin Valley as part of CDPR Pest Management Alliance and Almond Board of California grants.
The UC IPM Almond Pest Management Alliance Team received an award in February from the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and California Environmental Protection Agency
Three UC Davis faculty members were also selected for prestigious awards: Lynn Kimsey, Walter Leal and Robert Kimsey.
The Pacific Branch covers provinces/states in Canada, U.S. and Mexico on the Pacific Coast.
Ingram named forest stewardship education academic coordinator
Prior to working with UCCE advisor Susie Kocher in forest stewardship education, Ingram had been an academic human resources business partner in UC ANR's Human Resources, leading academic recruitments, analyzing data and managing the academic merit and promotion process since 2015. From 2008 to 2015, Ingram was a community education specialist for the UC Sierra Nevada Adaptive Management Project and Sierra Nevada Watershed Ecosystem Enhancement Project. She planned, managed and implemented collaborations between UC, agencies, local communities and stakeholders, developed training curriculum and facilitated meetings, workshops and events related to forestry and fire issues in the Sierra Nevada. She was also an instructor of record for the California Naturalist Program and published a “Natural History of the Sierra Nevada” for use in California Naturalist Program trainings.
Ingram earned a master's degree in education, adult education and training from Colorado State University. She also holds a bachelor's degree in political science with a minor in environmental ethics from Humboldt State University.
Ingram is based in Davis and can be reached at email@example.com.
Tomich elected AAAS fellow
American Association for theAdvancement of Science, the world's largest general scientific society.
Tomich, director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute at UC Davis and UC ANR's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SAREP), is among 443 new AAAS fellows elected this year.
Tomich is being recognized for "extraordinary contributions to generating sustainable solutions to global food system security through environmental science, effective policy, and collaborative research partnerships with underdeveloped economies globally."
His research spans agriculture and farming systems, economic development, food policy, and natural resource management. His publications include Transforming Agrarian Economies: Opportunities Seized, Opportunities Missed (1995); Environmental Services and Land Use Change: Bridging the Gap between Policy and Research in Southeast Asia (2004); Ecosystems and Human Wellbeing: A Manual for Assessment Practitioners (2010); The California Nitrogen Assessment: Challenges and Solutions for People, Agriculture, and the Environment (2016), and Agricultural Research for Rural Prosperity: Rethinking the Pathways, a special issue of the journal Agricultural Systems (2019).
The new fellows will be formally recognized on Feb. 15, 2020, at the AAAS annual meeting in Seattle.
ESA honors Dara for extension work
Dara addresses pest and disease issues of small fruits and vegetables with conventional and biological options, and finds alternative uses for entomopathogenic fungi as biofungicides and biostimulants. His research and extension program develops innovative solutions for sustainable crop production and protection, and he reaches out to the agricultural community locally, regionally and internationally.
As a volunteer, Dara has provided training in integrated pest management and crop production to farmers in Bangladesh, Haiti, Kosovo, Moldova, Mozambique, and Myanmar, and to visitors from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria and Colombia.
Dara earned a Ph.D. in entomology from Virginia Tech and a postgraduate diploma in applied information technology from Information Technology Institute, Canada. He has nearly 25 years of experience in IPM and microbial control, working on 17 species of invasive pests and diseases and several endemic species throughout his career. He has authored or co-authored 350 scientific and extension articles, which include three co-edited books, one co-edited special issue of a journal, 13 book chapters and 50 peer-reviewed journal articles.
He serves on various committees at the University of California, the Society for Invertebrate Pathology, the Entomological Society of America, and the Association of Applied IPM Ecologists. He also publishes two e-journals and is a subject editor for the Journal of Economic Entomology. Dara was recently featured as a Western Innovator by Capital Press for his work in biologicals.
ESA presented him with the award at Entomology 2019 Nov. 19 in St. Louis, Mo.
People from across California and around the world got to taste new crops, see research demonstrations and learn about several UC ANR activities at the World Ag Expo Feb. 12-14. Despite the cold rainy weather, the world's largest agricultural exposition attracted 102,878 people representing 48 states, the District of Columbia and 65 countries to Tulare.
At an outdoor tent, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, Greg Douhan, UCCE citrus advisor, and other researchers, handed visitors fresh Tango citrus grown at the Lindcove Research and Extension Center and told them about their citrus variety research.
Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE small farms advisor, and Michael Yang, small farms and specialty crops agricultural assistant, encouraged visitors to taste moringa tea. Surendra Dara, UCCE entomology and biologicals advisor, described how Bagrada bugs and other pests under the microscopes can be controlled by microbes. Roger Baldwin, UCCE wildlife specialist, and Niamh Quinn, UCCE urban wildlife conflict advisor, took turns showing taxidermy vertebrate pests and describing their management research.
Jeff Mitchell, UCCE specialist, and Jeff Dahlberg, Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center director, gave demonstrations to show the superior health of soils managed with conservation techniques.
Demonstrating the use of high-tech in agriculture, Sean Hogan, Informatics and Geographic Information System academic coordinator, Andy Lyons, IGIS program coordinator, and Jacob Flanagan, IGIS programmer, showed how they use drones and cameras in agricultural research.
Inside Pavilion A, Teresa Rios-Spicer, UCCE nutrition program manager, andYeseniaMedrano, UCCE community education specialist, both from Tulare County, challenged visitors to test their nutrition knowledge by playing Jeopardy! Visitors could spin the UC Master Gardeners prize wheel to answer gardening questions and win seeds. 4-H members invited youth to peer into virtual reality goggles to give them an idea about the fun activities that can be part of joining 4-H.
Frank Mitloehner, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, gave a seminar explaining confusion in the media about the amount of greenhouse gas livestock emit in California and globally. He reviewed the innovations in livestock production that are leading the way to a "greener future" for California and U.S. agriculture.
Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UC Cooperative Extension citrus entomology specialist, and Victoria Hornbaker of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, gave an update on regulatory protocols relating to Asian citrus psyllid and HLB quarantines and the proper transportation of bulk citrus to prevent the spread of the pest and disease.
The California and Dutch AgFoodTech innovation partners reunited in Tulare for a networking luncheon to share their action plan with invited guests and scope the projects.
UC ANR had a major presence at World Ag Expo Feb. 13-15 in Tulare. In addition to exhibits inside the Pavilion, this year, UC ANR hosted a series of well-attended researcher demonstrations of citrus varieties, soil quality and other subjects in a tent outside. UC ANR scientists also gave presentations on “hot topics” ranging from the use of drones and other electronic technology in production agriculture to animal health to human nutrition.
“Between our tent and our Pavilion space, there's been a lot of very good engagement and discussions with the primary stakeholder audience,” said Mike Janes, Strategic Communications director.
On the opening day of the expo, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue held a town hall to hear from members of California's agriculture industry concerns about the upcoming Farm Bill. VP Glenda Humiston was among those present for the discussion, which attracted considerable media attention.
Western Farm Press wrote: “While trade, labor and regulatory issues may top the list of agricultural policy issues Perdue faces in Washington D.C., Glenda Humiston, Vice President of the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Division of the state's Land Grant university, stressed the importance of adequate research funding and federal definitions of rural versus urban, which she said is having detrimental impacts across California on important program funding.”
“If a county has one town that has 50,000 population in it, the entire county is labeled metropolitan for purposes of allocating funding,” Humiston said in the Hanford Sentinel.
“Humiston said that while UCANR has a ‘proud tradition of research in California,' the university is plagued by reduced budgets at the same time the state is plagued by a new invasive pest every several weeks. She said for the university to stay ahead of these issues and to help growers in these and many other areas, additional funding is vital,” Farm Press reporter Todd Fitchette wrote.
In private communication, Fitchette said that widespread applause broke out from the audience in response to Humiston's comments.
California is constantly being challenged by pest invasions, obesity, labor shortages, water scarcity, food insecurity, climate change and more. To accelerate the development and adoption of technologies that address these challenges and advance food, agriculture and natural resources in California, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources and AgStart will receive a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) to cultivate the Verde Innovation Network for Entrepreneurship (the VINE).
Like a grapevine, the VINE will connect existing clusters of innovation across California and link entrepreneurs with mentors, advisors, collaborators, events, competitions, education and other services to turn good ideas into products and services people can use.
“We want to make sure every Californian has the support system to take a novel idea and commercialize a new product or start a new business,” said VP Glenda Humiston. “They don't have to be a university inventor, they could be a farmer or a young person.”
AgStart itself was established with an EDA i6 Challenge grant to assist agriculture and food technology entrepreneurs in the Sacramento Valley region. Since 2012, AgStart has supported more than 58 entrepreneurs and their companies.
“In 2016, of the 16 entrepreneurial companies that AgStart assisted, eight resided outside our region, and leveraged AgStart's program to make connections into our Sacramento Valley region,” said John Selep, president of AgTech Innovation Alliance, AgStart's sponsor.
“The VINE will expand this AgStart model of connecting entrepreneurs to the resources they need to be successful, to enable entrepreneurs residing anywhere in California to connect to the clusters of resources, contacts, mentors and potential partners that have emerged across the state,” said Selep.
“There are many wonderful regional innovation hubs in food, agriculture and natural resources so we plan to bring value by amplifying their efforts, connecting regions and organizations into a more cohesive ecosystem, and bringing value-added resources that ultimately benefit all Californians through the innovations affecting our economic prosperity, food supply and environment,” Youtsey said.
UC Cooperative Extension specialists and advisors, who work in every county, can provide insight into real-world conditions that entrepreneurs should consider in the development stage. UC ANR's nine research and extension centers can provide locations to field-test products and demonstrate their effectiveness. For example, start-up Blue River is testing its technology by flying a drone over sorghum crops to collect data at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier.
For the last two years, UC ANR has hosted the Apps for Ag hackathon and has introduced the winners to mentors, tech industry advisors, farmers, funders and legal experts who can advise entrepreneurs on business structure.
The VINE, which is working with UC Davis Innovation Institute for Food and Health and Valley Vision, is being structured to complement other efforts to establish food, agriculture, and natural resources incubation and innovation resources in cluster locations around the state, such as the BlueTechValley Regional Innovation Cluster, the Western Growers Innovation & Technology Center, UC Merced's VentureLab and others.
Youtsey and Selep are seeking more VINE partners with expertise across the business spectrum.
“If our vision is successful, the VINE will make California the most fertile region in the world for entrepreneurs in ag and food technology to establish themselves, to prosper and grow,” Selep said.