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Position Details

220 Agronomy Advisor - Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties

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Associated Documents

Status

This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.

Comments

11 Comments

1
Agriculture continues to be the main economic driver in the sacramento valley. Our $250 million a year row and seed crop industry for the three counties is in dire need for an Angronomy Advisor. Having an advisor will be beneficial in dealing with production, pest management, ag/urban interface as well as conservation and environmental protection. The agriculture community of the three counties relies heavily on the UC system for their expertise and professionalism and would welcome an agronomy adisor to our area.
Posted Jul 18, 2012 3:24 PM by Louie Mendoza
2
Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties currently have no CE Agronomy Advisors to serve the significant needs of the area. Research, outreach and advisement are desperately needed in order for local row and field crop growers in the tri-county area to remain competitive, sustainable and growing. The skills provided by an Agronomy Advisor could greatly improve farming operations for many local producers, helping them to implement mutually beneficial conservation practices while increasing production and profitability.
Posted Jul 20, 2012 9:09 AM by Yuba-Sutter Farm Bureau
3
The Colusa County Resource Conservation District (CCRCD) fully supports the addition of an Agronomy Advisor for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties. Protection of natural resources and viability of agriculture are two of the CCRCD's priorities. An Agronomy Advisor would be an excellent resource for the CCRCD to help us assist local farmers to address their natural resource issues through outreach, education and access to technical assistance.
Posted Jul 26, 2012 7:49 AM by Colusa County Resource Conservation District
4
The Sutter County Resource Conservation District (SCRCD) strongly supports the addition of a U.C. Cooperative Extension Agronomy Advisor for the Colusa/Yuba/Sutter Area. Agriculture is the primary private-sector economic engine in the three-county region. Therefore, SCRCD is committed to assisting local agricultural producers in efforts to conserve natural resources and maintain a viable, sustainable agriculture-based economy. The addition of a local Agronomy Advisor will help SCRCD and other partners in this effort.
Posted Jul 27, 2012 12:26 PM by Larry Lloyd, District Manager, Sutter County Resource Conservation District
5
Sutter County has a strong agricultural economic base which incudes extensive field and row crops (other than rice). The addition of an Agronomy Advisor position for Yuba, Sutter, and Colusa counties will fill an existing void left by multiple retirements, both past and future. The local growers depend on the expertise provided by this position and the Sutter County CAO supports this request.
Posted Jul 30, 2012 4:26 PM by Megan M. Greve, Deputy County Administrative Officer, Sutter County
6
Introduction
The California Wheat Commission (CWC) is pleased to see the Agronomy Advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties included on the list for consideration and we welcome the opportunity to provide comments in support of filling this critical position.
Our comments will focus on the importance of this position to the California wheat industry, but we acknowledge the importance of the other crops and agree that the position description is appropriately drafted to encompass the challenges facing growers of diverse field crops in this region.
The California Wheat Industry
Wheat is grown on more than 700,000 acres throughout the state, from the Oregon border south to Mexico. In 2011, the farm value of the grain was approximately $360 million. The California wheat industry is unique in many ways: we grow five of the six classes of wheat including red, white and durum; our Hard Red Winter varieties, which comprise about 70 percent of total planted acres, are actually fall-planted spring varieties; we are the only state wheat commission with its own quality lab; over 80 percent of our wheat is irrigated; much of our wheat is grown as part of a rotation with other crops like corn and tomatoes; and a significant portion of the common wheat in the Central Valley is cut for silage and is not captured in the "farm value" cited above.
In Colusa, Sutter and Yuba Counties in 2011, about 28,000 acres of wheat were planted, which produced just over 71,000 tons of wheat. This represents approximately 7 percent of total statewide production of common wheat. Wheat is a valuable rotation crop, often planted in rotation with tomatoes and corn. With the strong wheat prices, we are expecting increased acreage to be planted this fall.
CWC Relationship with UCCE and UC Davis
Wheat growers voted to establish the California Wheat Commission in 1983, expressly to support research that improves California wheat quality and marketability, and to develop and maintain domestic and international markets for California wheat. CWC collects assessments on wheat grown for grain and directs the funding toward these two major activities. The most important activity has always been funding UC and UCCE wheat research programs. In recent years, as available public funds have been reduced, CWC funding has grown significantly. In the current fiscal year, out of a total budget of about $1 million, CWC has allocated close to $350,000 for UC and UCCE, including:
• $120,000 to support UCD wheat breeding program (as part of UC Discovery Grant)
• $35,000 to supplement the statewide variety trials program
• $50,000 to fund a study at UC Riverside on optimal root size
• $100,000 in grant funds for UCCE specialist and advisors for wheat related projects
• $10,000 for UCCE internships to encourage promising students to consider extension
• $33,000 to help fund a new wheat breeder
These all represent ongoing commitments for which CWC considers and approves annual funding. In addition to these multi-year programs, CWC has recently helped purchase a new wheat drill (seeder) for a local farm advisor, a new protein machine for the wheat lab at UCD, and is likely to help acquire a new combine to harvest the statewide variety trials.
More than just the financial investment, CWC sees UCCE and UC as the key strategic partners in keeping the wheat industry viable in California. Virtually all of our growers are diversified producers facing myriad financial, agronomic and environmental challenges. They look to us for accurate and unbiased information regarding varieties with the best yield and end use quality, water use efficiency, and disease resistance. UC-conducted research helps us provide this information. Additionally, UCCE-conducted field trials help identify best management practices for fertilization, irrigation and weed control. Thus, our core mission relies on a strong and viable UCCE.
Importance of the Agronomy Advisor for Yuba, Sutter and Colusa Counties
Without an advisor in place, these counties have been largely left out of the expanded funding for field trials offered through the mini-grant program. Growers in these counties continue to face disease pressure and other agronomic challenges with which the Agronomy Advisor can assist. There are many issues and challenges facing the industry that make filling this position ever more urgent.
• Water and nitrogen use efficiency and climate change are being widely debated and researched both in and outside of California. The Agronomy Advisor, working as part of the statewide network, is critical to helping wheat growers understand the issues, better utilize new research findings in the field, and improve the economic viability of wheat production.
• The once-robust network of small grains farm advisors has been much reduced by retirement, and will continue to be so in the near future as more farm advisors retire. Filling this position will help reverse this trend and rebuild core extension capability.
• The wheat breeding industry is undergoing major changes, with major biotechnology companies, including Monsanto and Syngenta, purchasing smaller seed companies. These changes currently are directly affecting the structure of our public field trials and limiting the information that is available to growers and end users about varieties being considered for release. The Agronomy Advisor is needed to more actively manage this changing environment and protect the interests of growers.
• The changes in wheat breeding are largely driven by the renewed interest in introducing new traits into wheat through biotechnology. The nature of the traits -- disease resistance, drought tolerance, improved nutrition -- is still undecided, but most experts agree that biotech wheat will be in the market within 7-10 years. How and whether to introduce biotech wheat into California is a very important question that CWC, UC and UCCE will need to work together on to resolve.
• CWC is seeing significant interest from growers in producing wheat either organically or sustainably. Growers in many areas, including these three counties, are seeking assistance in identifying appropriate varieties and practices to enable them to re-introduce wheat into their rotations. This interest is being generated by the demand for local grain for local millers, bakers and consumers. The Agronomy Advisor would be able to meet this new demand and help expand existing and create new production areas.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Wheat, together with corn, barley, oats, triticale and sorghum, are grown on close to 2 million acres in California. These small grains crops are critical to human and animal feeding systems, as well as to the expanding biofuels industry. The California Wheat Commission, which is comprised of growers from around the state as well as grain handlers, at-large members with special expertise, and food company and milling industry members, has strongly supported filling open agronomy positions as they become vacant. The California Wheat Commission has demonstrated a serious commitment to its partnership with UCCE and urges priority selection of the Agronomy Advisor for Colusa, Sutter, and Yuba Counties.
Posted Aug 1, 2012 11:47 AM by Janice Cooper
7
U.C Extension Advisors fill a critical role in the dynamic agricultural systems we have in the Sacramento Valley. We are constantly facing new challenges such as Tomato Spotted Wilt, Fusarium Wilt, Downey Mildew as well as others. Production practices are evolving to include conservation tillage, drip irrigation and Precision Farming. The U.C. Cooperative Extension should be the conduit through which producers and researchers can find solutions to today’s agricultural challenges. I fully support and look forward to working with our local Extension Advisor.
Posted Aug 1, 2012 5:33 PM by Darrin Williams, Farm Manager, T&P Farms, Arbuckle
8
I wholly support the UC ANR ‘Agronomy Advisor’ position, whose duties are critical to addressing issues of concern for Colusa, Sutter and Yuba County’s agriculture and natural resources. As a collaborative partner with UCCE, this position is essential for our regional sustainability.

Approval of this vital position to assist all concerned Colusa, Sutter and Yuba County residents is paramount.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 9:57 AM by Mark Quisenberry, Agricultural Commissioner, County of Sutter
9
The Colusa County Farm Bureau (CCFB)strongly supports the addition of a U.C. Cooperative Extension Agronomy Advisor for the Colusa/Yuba/Sutter Area. Yuba, Sutter and Colusa counties currently have no CE Agronomy Advisors to serve the significant needs of the area. Research, outreach and advisement are desperately needed in order for local growers in the tri-county area to remain competitive, sustainable and growing. The skills provided by an Agronomy Advisor could greatly improve farming operations for many local producers, helping them to implement mutually beneficial practices while increasing production and profitability.
The addition of an Agronomy Advisor position for Yuba, Sutter, and Colusa counties will fill an existing void left by multiple retirements, both past and future. The local growers depend on the expertise provided by this position.



Posted Aug 2, 2012 11:02 AM by Melodie Johnson, Executive Manager for Colusa County Farm Bureau
10
I grow approximately 30+ organic crops in Sutter County, from arugula to zucchini. The risk factor is significant, particularly without any farm advisors in the area. Having an agronomic advisor familiar with the nuances of Sutter County soils and weather would be a huge help in fine tuning cultural practices that would minimize risk while improving the environment.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 5:48 PM by Scott Park, Meridian farmer
11
This position was rated very highly by the state-wide agronomic crops crop, as a number 1 priority, since there is a high acreage of agronomic crops in this region, and these crops are closely related to water issues in the Delta.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 7:23 PM by Dan Putnam, UC Davis

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