Posts Tagged: regents
The Fresno-Merced Future of Food Innovation Initiative (F3) – of which UC ANR is an anchor institution – took a big step forward during the UC Regents meeting May 18.
The Regents unanimously approved the formation of F3 Innovate – a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit that will raise funds for the partnership initiative that also includes the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF), California Department of Food and Agriculture, UC Merced and CSU Fresno.
Largely funded by a $65 million Build Back Better grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration, F3 aims to advance innovation and entrepreneurship in agrifood technology, strengthen food systems, bolster local and regional economies, and bring greater prosperity to the San Joaquin Valley and beyond.
The new F3 Innovate nonprofit will focus on agrifood systems research and commercialization, services for micro-enterprises and small businesses in under-resourced communities, ag-tech innovation seed funding, and building a talent pipeline to sustain these efforts.
“This 501(c)(3) is critical to all of that, because it really lets us bring together the public and private partners, and ensures that broader stakeholder participation and benefit,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, during her presentation to the Regents (view recording of the meeting).
UC Merced Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz and CVCF President and CEO Ashley Swearengin also spoke passionately during the meeting about the need to form the nonprofit as a key connector and catalyst for the F3 initiative.
F3 – and the new F3 Innovate – will continue to take shape through the work of Gabe Youtsey, UC ANR chief innovation officer; Josh Viers, associate dean for research of UC Merced's School of Engineering; and many other academics and staff across UC ANR and UC.
"Establishing F3 Innovate as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization is a strategic move designed to unlock and accelerate agriculture technology from lab to market. It will pave the way for a wider range of collaboration opportunities between the UC and industry, and ensure the inclusion and representation of all our stakeholders, from small and socially disadvantaged farmers to startups and corporates," said Youtsey, who is also founder of The VINE, UC ANR's Innovation & Entrepreneurship program that is co-leading F3.
"The UC Regents were enthusiastic about this partnership as it aligns perfectly with our mission of transforming cutting-edge agricultural research into practical, market-ready solutions while doing the hard work of engaging our local workers, communities and farmers to adopt these new technologies," Youtsey added. "It enables us to foster deep and meaningful collaborative relationships with industry partners, advancing technology commercialization that is inclusive and truly beneficial to all involved."
staff advisors to the UC Board of Regents, aka STARs, Lucy Tseng (UCLA) and Priya Lakireddy (UC Merced) during an online session Feb. 24 at noon.
The staff advisors serve as non-voting advisors to six regents' committees: Academic and Student Affairs, Compliance and Audit, Finance and Capital Strategies, Public Engagement and Development, Investments, and National Laboratories. To ensure continuity of experience, the staff advisors serve two-year staggered terms.
Participants may ask what the STARs are working on, share ideas or give updates on their own projects. All employees are welcome to the virtual session.
On Nov. 17, state Sen. John Laird was invited to the UC Regents' Public Engagement and Development Committee to discuss his support for the university. Laird described his instrumental role in what he called the “resuscitation” of UC Cooperative Extension by championing the state's historic increase to UC ANR's budget.
“We basically got an over 50% increase to try to bring it back to where it was at least a decade ago,” said Laird, who is chair of the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education. He credited the agricultural community in Monterey County for initiating the push to restore UCCE funding.
“I think it's really a feather in the cap for UC because it is something that reaches into every agricultural county of the state and is really appreciated,” Laird, a UC Santa Cruz alumnus, told the regents.
While touring Santa Cruz County, Laird recalled meeting a young farm employee who reduced water consumption 15% in the farm's greenhouses by following the advice of a local UCCE farm advisor. The senator noted that the UCCE advice helped the Watsonville native, a person of color, get off to a successful start in the agricultural field.
Laird said UC needs to publicize more success stories like that. “I think that story really demonstrates the difference that is made … Here is UC Cooperative Ag Extension giving advice to somebody who is starting probably a 35- or 40-year career and saving a bunch of water right off the bat.”
To view the excerpt of his discussion with the regents, visit https://youtu.be/aL524U8z0qM.
UC President Michael Drake and UC regents were treated to virtual tours of UC ANR similar to the tour taken by legislators on Nov. 20.
On Dec. 2, UC regents Charlene Zettel, Cecilia Estolano and Richard Lieb, alumni regent Debby Stegura and Anne Shaw, secretary to the regents, took a 90-minute tour via Zoom. They were joined by members of the UC President's Advisory Commission Corinne Martinez, Connie Stewart, Paula Daniels and Stuart Van Horn.
On Dec. 8, President Drake was joined by UC regents Michael Cohen and Hadi Makarechian, student regent Jamaal Muwwakkil, alumni regent Eric Mart, regent-designate Cheryl Lott and student regent-designate Alexis Atsilvsgi Zaragoza.
In introducing the virtual tour, VP Glenda Humiston explained that UC ANR does much more than they would see that day. “This is just to pique your interest,” she said.
Before the tour, “learning boxes” containing samples of almonds, smoke-tainted wine, moringa powder, California grown coffee and many other items related to the presentations were shipped to the participants to give them a more interactive experience.
For example, while discussing the impact of wildfires, Stephanie Larson, livestock range management advisor and director of UCCE in Sonoma County, invited the participants to reach into the learning box for the two small wine samples to taste first the regular wine, then the wine made from grapes exposed to wildfire smoke to see if they could detect the smoke taint. Another popular item was the Shot Hole Borer ID kit which included a real (dead) shot hole borer in a vial with a magnifying glass and damaged wood sample.
During the presentations, tour participants were encouraged to write their questions in the Chat feature of Zoom and presenters followed up with information. They also engaged with questions and conversation at points during the tour.
The regents said they were very impressed with the work that UC ANR does. They urged UC ANR leadership to tell more people about UC ANR programs and let urban legislators know that the programs affect all 40 million Californians, not just rural communities.
At the end of the tour, Humiston said, “This is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more research going on.” She invited them to see more of UC ANR on actual field tours when coronavirus restrictions ease.
President Drake said he liked seeing the connection between globally important issues such as wildfire, climate and carbon soil sequestration and UCANR research. “It's good to know we're actively involved. Thank you for your hard work and contributions.”
Presenters included Missy Gable, director of the UC Master Gardener Program; Jim Farrar, director of the Integrated Pest Management Program; Greg Ira, director of the California Naturalist Program; Lorene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute; Kamal Khaira, director of CalFresh Healthy Living, UC; Cecilia Arellano Ibarra, former CalFresh Healthy Living, UC Youth-led Participatory Action Research participant and UC Davis sophomore; Lynn Schmitt-McQuitty, director of the 4-H Youth Development Program; Alexis Peña, senior at Buhach Colony high school and past Juntos 4-H program participant; Francisco Salazar, UC Merced student and past Juntos participant; Jhalendra Rijal, area IPM advisor; Ashraf El-Kereamy, UCCE specialist and director of Lindcove Research and Extension Center; Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, small farms advisor; Mike Mellano, third-generation flower grower in San Diego County, UC President's Advisory Commission member and California representative for the Council for Agricultural Research, Extension and Teaching; Betsy Karle, dairy advisor; Yana Valachovic, forestry advisor and UCCE director in Humboldt and Del Norte counties; and Larson.
Behind the scenes, many people contributed to the tour's success.
The story map framework of the virtual tour was introduced and supported by Shane Feirer and Robert Johnson of the Informatics and GIS Program, then Kathy Eftekhari, chief of staff and Anne Megaro, director of government and community relations, created the story map working with the 16 presenters to develop content. Ricardo Vela, manager of News and Information Outreach in Spanish edited most of the videos. Many people helped to assemble and ship learning box items, including 4-H members who sewed more than 40 COVID-19 masks as samples of their work in civic engagement.
A self-guided version of the virtual tour will be posted online in the new year.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.