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201 Area Viticulture Advisor Tulare and Kings County


Associated Documents


This proposal has been formally submitted for the 2012 cycle.



There is a very large clientele in these two counties - both large and small. Tulare is a key county for table and raisin grapes. There are many pest management issues to work on.
Posted May 31, 2012 3:32 PM by Maxwell Norton
Kern and Tulare are the highest volume table grape producing counties in the state and represent over 80 percent of the state’s total production and consequently of its $1.4 billion value. Currently, neither Kern nor Tulare County has a farm advisor.

Growing and shipping table grapes is a complex, scientific and technical endeavor which requires a constant search for new and improved cultivars, production practices, and shipping protocols. Research designed to solve industry problems and maximize opportunities needs to be a part of the everyday work in which the industry engages with the University. There is no better or more proven way for that work to take place than through county-based farm advisors.

Understanding that the economic landscape is different today than it was in past decades, the California Table Grape Commission has offered to fund one full-time six-year term position in Kern County if the University will fund one in Tulare/Kings County (or vice versa) and if both are designated as priority positions for the round of funding immediately following the end of the six-year term. Alternatively, the commission will fund one-half of a Kern County position and one-half of a Tulare/Kings County position if the University funds the other two-halves, with both positions designed as priorities.

Table grapes are, for the most part, grown on small multi-generational family-based farms located in rural communities that are among the hardest hit in the country by the economic downturn, suffering from some of the nation’s highest unemployment. Agriculture is a significant employer in these communities and table grapes are a major crop.

Farm advisors helped build the table grape industry. They are needed to sustain the industry – and the rural communities it supports – into the future.

Posted Jul 20, 2012 2:55 PM by Kathleen Nave
These are positions that are seriously needed. Home Ec and 4H are important but agriculture is what the land grant college system was founded for. The Extension service has been severely neglected in the last few years and this is at least a hope for a better future.
Posted Jul 27, 2012 12:19 PM by Tome Martin-Duvall
At this time there are no farm advisors in Kern or Tulare counties, the two major table grape producing areas in California. There are several on-going rootstock projects in the Kern/Tulare counties (some plots are 23 years old). They provide valuable information on phylloxera and nematode control thus reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides, At the present time Dr. Fidelibus has stepped up to provide leadership for several of the projects but others will not be evaluated due to time, and travel constraints. Research is needed in cultural practices such as new varieties, water management in conjunction with rootstocks, growth regulators, pest and disease control including continuation of a glassy winged sharpshooter project that has provided invaluable data on rate of spread of Pierces disease when high populations of GWSS are present. The imbalance of research in table grapes when compared to the wine industry is huge. I am in support of both positions since it is an opportunity for two advisors for one where the University funds one and the table grape industry funds the other. I have heard concern that no one would take a six year term position when funding might not be continued. If funding was not available at the end of the six year term and the advisors are successful, they would walk right into an industry job since this would then be a one of a kind training opportunity. Please give these two positions high priority for filling in this cycle.
Posted Jul 18, 2012 5:45 PM by Don Luvisi, farm advisor emeritus, Kern County
Posted Jul 29, 2012 2:21 PM by Donald Luvisi
An important commodity, a critical position, and there is little to say other than to echo Don Luvisi's comments above.
Posted Aug 1, 2012 8:54 AM by Kent Daane
The California Grape and Tree Fruit League, a voluntary public policy association that represents through its members approximately 85% of the volume of fresh table grapes and deciduous tree fruit in the state, enthusiastically supports the proposal made by the California Table Grape Commission (CTGC) related to much needed addition of table grape farm advisors for Tulare/Kings as well as Kern counties.
Our organization not only recognizes the need and the benefits that will be provided by these advisors but also the reality of the current economic climate we find ourselves in the state. While we remained concerned that the concept of general fund support from all levels of government as it relates to agriculture continues to be more narrowly defined as resources become scarcer, we are realistic when it comes to this particular situation involving table grape farm advisors. For the reasons articulated by CTGC, we believe the proposal made by that group, particularly the shared funding mechanisms, makes sense for our members, the industry and the communities that benefit from table grapes being grown in these areas.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 11:07 AM by Barry Bedwell
The value of a Viticulture Farm Advisor to our USDA ARS research programs is very high. Farm Advisors have the practical observations and experience to see what problems are significant, to know and explain to us in the research community where our efforts are needed (and where they are not). They are our eyes, our teachers, and our collaborators. They have links to the industry to help us find vineyards for experiments, comment on the practicality of the tests we do, and facilitate the transfer of new practices into commercial use. Please give this position a high priority for filling in this cycle.
Posted Aug 2, 2012 4:22 PM by Joe Smilanick
As a grower of Grapes and a grapevine nurseryman, I have felt the loss of a Viticulture advisor in the Tulare and Kern County area. I have personnally used the past advisors on a regular basis, and have made many recommendations for customers and growers to contact the past viticultural advisor. There are multiple benefits of having a viticultural advisor in place. The advisor is a neutral party that can observe problems, solutions, and situations on farms and ranches and can filter and share this information to other growers without threatening a growers trade secrets or propritary information. Having an advisor in place helps the growers to be successful, which stablizes jobs and the local economies. The trials and testing of new ideas, new varieties, new rootstocks, new pesticides, new treatments, and new equipment is invaluable. We desperately need a viticultural advisor in place at all times. Please fill this position to help keep farming and agricuture the highest priority for the good of our great state.
Posted Aug 3, 2012 1:59 PM by Steve Maniaci
As chairman of the Consolidated Central Valley Table Grape Pest and Disease Control District, I strongly encourage the University of California to fill the grape farm advisor postions in both Kern and Tulare counties. Local specialists have and would continue to help the industry more quickly and effectively react to the challenges from invasive pests and diseases that threaten our very survival. There is a unique and synergistic relationship that exists between the industry and local extension personnel. This partnership allows for a better solution to be developed for the myriad of problems and concerns of grape growers. Benefits are accrued not only by the growers, their employees and local support industry, but by entire communities and to the state as a whole. At the very beginning and throughout the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter/Pierces Disease outbreak, our former viticulture advisors in both Kern and Tulare counties provided invaluable support not only to an extremely alarmed grower community, but for other U.C. researchers, CDFA, USDA APHIS and county Ag Commissioners, as well. Other examples of benefits provided by the proposed viticulture positions include, but are certainly not limited to the following. Improved economies of water and energy use through the refinement of irrigation management programs. Local evaluation of new rootstock and grape varieties for resistance to pests such as nematodes, Phylloxera, powdery mildew, Pierces Disease and others. The results of these efforts are the reduced use of chemicals and all that entails including grower expenses, reduced potential for human exposures and adverse environmental effects.
As outlined in other letters, the grape business is a large industry that supports a large number of families and generates a large amount of tax revenue to the state and federal governments. As one of the few bright spots in this economy, it would make good sense to foster and protect this asset which is vital to so many. I strongly encourage the University of California to fill both of the vacant grape farm advisor positions in Kern and Tulare counties.
Paul Giboney
Posted Aug 3, 2012 3:40 PM by Paul Giboney
Kern & Tulare county may represent over 50% of Table Grapes grown in Ca and maybe the US. Having a Farm Advisor who specailizes in Viticulture (Table&Wine) in these two counties will benefit Grower,PCA and Consumer. Issues facing Grape growers is a long list; Picking Varieties,Ag Products,Plant growth Regulators, GWSS, Vine Mealy Bug, VOC's, Ground Water,Sustainability, Conventional Farming, Organic and much much more. Having knowledge, leadership in Viticulture would only benefit all. Please consider having this postion filled in the future soon.

Best Regards,

Monte Peckinpah.
Crop Advisor.
Posted Aug 5, 2012 8:55 AM by Monte
Tulare and Kern County agriculture are the largest economic drivers in the region, and we are in critical need of qualified personnel to assist farmers with the complicated regulations and requirements associated with farming. Farm Advisors serve a very important role in helping farmers improve their farming strategies, cultural practices, application of crop protection materials, research and data collection, and expertise in many technical fields. We support the prioritization of those farm advisory positions that best serve Tulare and Kern County agriculturalists, and encourage UCCE to fund these positions and fill them as soon as possible. Thank you.

Tricia Stever Blattler, CEO
Tulare County Farm Bureau
Posted Aug 6, 2012 12:07 PM by Tricia Stever Blattler
The Table Grape industry in Kern and Tulare County accounts for 1.4 Billion in sales. The production is shipped throughout the US as well as exported globally.

During the past 45 years that I have produced grapes in Tulare County, we have enjoyed the benefit of a University Extension Specialist. That service ended a few years ago and we presently have a large void in the system.

Growers need a place to seek information, advice and council in a very regulated and complicated industry that has ongoing challenges if we are to retain a strong exconomic and competitive industry.

I can not emphasize how important I feel this position is to the furture of the grape industry, our County, the State and our Country. With the table grape industry providing conditional funding for two positions is a positive approach to an industry / government partnership.

I hope the filling of these two positions will receive the consideration they deserve and we can advance our industry as we have done in the past.

Aram Kinosian
Sundale Vineyards
Tulare, CA
Posted Aug 6, 2012 5:26 PM by Aram Kinosian
I have long relied on Tulare County and Kern County Farm Advisers to provide information and answer questions on table grape cultural practices.
There has been a wealth of research produced in the past that still applies to today’s farming practices, and the County Farm Advisers are one of the few resources for growers that have much of that research and knowledge available, all in one place.
In my opinion, table grapes are the most difficult type of grape to grow. To achieve the quality level that buyers and consumers demand, every cultural practice from pruning, to irrigation, to plant nutrition and every step in between, needs to be done with precision.
New ideas and new research come across my desk daily. It is of great value to me as a Farm Manager, and to my company as a leading producer of quality grapes, to be able to call a County Farm Adviser and discuss how new information can be applied to current cultural practices. Please fill these two Farm Adviser positions.

Thomas Karle
Anthony Vineyards Inc.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 11:31 AM by Thomas Karle, Farming Manager, Anthony Vineyards.Inc.
As an Agricultural Consultant specializing in Table Grape production I can't emphasize enough, the need for technical expertise in the South Valley where most of the Table Grape acreage is located. With the exit of Dr. Nick Dookoozlian, the retirement of Don Luvisi and Bill Peacock, not to mention the relocation of the last Table Grape farm advisor, Jennifer Hashim to Australia, there is a void for expertise and research in this high risk specialty crop. Most of the consultants don't have the time or resources to investigate many of the ever changing technical aspects of table grape production. With new pests and diseases arriving on what can be an annual basis and existing cultural issues that are not fully understood, growers are making costly mistakes trying to answer these questions themselves. The need for unbiased research in the many aspects of table grape management are truly needed. There are many new varieties entering the industry annually and objective research is needed to fully understand, and optimize the cultural requirements to produce top quality fruit to represent the industry here and abroad. Small increments in production and quality are hard to measure when trying to produce fruit on a large scale. The need for a a technical Farm Advisor in the Southern San Jouquin for grape production is a priority that should not be overlooked, as Farm advisors with cross production expertise are working very hard to fill this gap, but a specialist is what the industry needs. There are many consultants in the the south valley that would be glad to help this individual get up to speed with the fast paced world of Table Grape production.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 4:32 PM by Max Jehle
In 2005 Tulare and Kern County table grape growers voted to tax themselves and initiate the Consolidated Central Valley Table Grape Pest and Disease Control District. The purpose of the District is to monitor, research, and support the control of any pest or disease which may endanger the viability of the table grape industry in Tulare and Kern Counties. To be successful against the battle against invasive species it is imperative that the District work collectively with University of California Extension Farm Advisors along with local, state, and federal government partners and other industry organizations. It has been proven that these partnerships are extremely important as shown by successful programs such as the Glassy-winged Sharpshooter Area-wide Treatment Program and the European Grapevine Moth eradication effort. These programs could not have worked without the support of local Farm Advisors participating on the ground and working with local growers in performing needed research and presenting the most up to date information in combating these serious pests. Therefore, the District strongly supports the California Table Grape Commission’s proposal to support the addition of University of California Extension Farm Advisors.
In addition, an important part of the mission of the District is to fund local research on invasive pests and diseases. It has been very difficult especially in the last few years to fund as many projects as we would like since there are not enough local University of California researchers. The opportunity for local research and problem-solving will increase dramatically only if there are Farm Advisors in place in Tulare and Kern Counties.
Again, we support the effort of the Table Grape Commission to fund these positions and urge the University to move forward to get Farm Advisors in place in Tulare and Kern Counties as soon as possible.
Posted Aug 7, 2012 4:57 PM by Judy Stewart-Leslie

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