Posts Tagged: Cooperative Extension
Policy advocate at the California Farm Bureau Federation, Taylor Roschen, wrote a 736-word commentary, published in AgAlert today, praising the value of UC Cooperative Extension advisors and advocating for an additional $20 million annual funding from the state of California.
Roschen provided highlights of UC ANR's public value, writing that:
- The breadth and depth of agricultural knowledge created by UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is unparalleled.
- Local Cooperative Extension staff, such as farm advisors and community education specialists, serve as translators, sharing the power of UC research with our farms, our families and our communities.
- 4-H youth leaders are 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their communities and nearly five times more likely to pursue higher education.
However, she continued, since 1990, the state's contribution to UCANR has decreased by 57%. California has lost more than 60% of its 4-H advisors since the 1990s and now have the equivalent of only 31 program representatives to serve the state's 58 counties.
To bring UC ANR programs "back from the brink," Roschen wrote, the California Farm Bureau is working with Assembly Agriculture Committee Chair Susan Eggman, D-Stockton, to fight for UCCE's future and save 4-H and local farm advisors and specialists.
"We are petitioning the state Legislature and the Newsom administration to provide an additional $20 million annually to UC ANR," she said.
Public comment on UCCE positions closes July 21
UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources leaders strongly encourage commodity groups, cooperating programs, agency partners, community groups and others to share their opinions on priority needs for UCCE positions.
“We want to hear from our stakeholders,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Which Cooperative Extension positions do you think are most critical for UC to fill with the resources we have to invest?”
Members of the public are invited to review proposed positions and leave comments at http://ucanr.edu/2014CallforPositions.
To comment on a proposal, visit http://ucanr.edu/2014CallforPositions and find the position at the bottom of the page. Above the list there is a search tool. Click the proposal title link and write in the “comments” text box. If desired, commenters may include their title and the name of their organization.
Comments are not being counted as votes. One collective set of thoughtful comments from an organization or group that explain why a position is important will carry more weight than an overwhelming number of comments that simply state support. The comments are publicly accessible and will be read by the review teams, UC ANR Program Council and Allen-Diaz.
For the Be a Scientist project, school children, families, community groups and individuals went online to answer three questions: Where is food grown in your community? How are you conserving water? How many pollinators do you see?
People as far north as Del Norte County and as far south as Imperial County participated:
- 10,697 people counted pollinators, including bees, butterflies, birds and even a few bats. (These numbers cannot be added to determine total participants because people could answer more than one question.)
- 9,989 people posted on the map where food is grown in their community – from backyard fruit trees to school gardens to farms
- 8,314 people told how they are conserving water – such as taking shorter showers or letting their lawns turn brown
“It's encouraging to see so many Californians interested in pollinators because they play a vital role in producing food,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “People are conserving water in many different ways, which is important because water is a limited resource even in non-drought years. And, surprisingly, almost half of the people participating in our survey said they grow food.”
Preliminary results show that people counted 37,961 pollinators in a three-minute period. Flies were by far the most abundant, accounting for 79 percent of the pollinators counted.
While most Californians get their food from a store, 45 percent of those responding to the UC survey said they grow their own food too. One-third of the people responding said they get their food only from a store.
To save water, 62 percent of the participants are watering less.
Many people uploaded photos of gardens, pollinators and themselves along with their observations on the map. For details about the survey, visit http://beascientist.ucanr.edu to view the maps and reports.
The statewide science project was part of UC Cooperative Extension's 100-year anniversary celebration. On May 8, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed the legislation creating the system to connect scientific advances in agriculture, nutrition and natural resources from public land-grant universities and communities in each state.
“We will continue to celebrate a century of UC Cooperative Extension and its benefits to Californians with events around the state throughout the year,” said Allen-Diaz.
For more information about the UC Cooperative Extension centennial, visit http://ucanr.edu/100.
The two UCCE specialists, from the UC Division of Agricultural and Natural Resources, will help further connect campus research with local farmers and residents.
One of the positions, which will be housed in the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, will help farmers and ranchers adjust to the problems created by climate change and participate in statewide efforts, which include state and federal agencies in addition to UC, address climate change adaptation and mitigation.
The other position, housed in the Health Sciences Research Institute, will focus on nutrition research and education and food security, aiming to improve the lives of local residents. The UCCE nutrition specialist will connect with a larger team of nutrition researchers and educators throughout the UC system addressing issues related to healthy food and human health.
UC Merced Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson said even though the campus doesn't have an agriculture school, current areas of faculty research can and do benefit San Joaquin Valley citizens and farmers. For example, research on unmanned aerial vehicles offers more efficient means to monitor soil and crop conditions. UC Merced scientists are also conducting research into factors that affect the flow of water out of the Sierra Nevada and into the San Joaquin Valley.
“These positions come with a focus on interacting with the community, conducting applied research, and translating UC research to help the agricultural economy and local residents,” he said. “This is a recognition that we're making important contributions to the agricultural industry and that we have research and outreach important to it.”
Both positions require applicants with Ph.D.s who are ready to start projects that will work toward solving pressing problems.
The climate change specialist could potentially study precision technologies that help better manage agricultural systems or increase the quality and scale of information.
The nutrition specialist will work with experts in the field to understand regional and state research needs and outreach priorities. The specialist will also have an emphasis on nutrition and disease prevention.
“We're an ideal lab for these kinds of research experiments,” Peterson said.
“Serving California agriculture with UC science-based solutions is what we do on an everyday basis. California agriculture is a world-recognized marvel, and we'd like to think the university, through its Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, is a big reason why,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, Vice President of ANR. “This collaboration with UC Merced will only strengthen UC efforts.”
ANR focuses on agriculture, nutrition, natural resources and youth development. UC Cooperative Extension, which is part of ANR, conducts research on campuses, at research and extension centers and in counties.
UCCE advisors and educators work directly with people in their communities to conduct and apply this science-based research on the farm and field and in classrooms and homes. UCCE's 20,000 Master Gardener Program and 4-H Youth Development Program volunteers help extend UC's information even further into communities around the state.
Public comments will be accepted until July 21.
“Filling critical academic positions is a top priority for UC ANR,” said Barbara Allen-Diaz, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources. “We encourage our stakeholders – including commodity groups, cooperating programs, agency partners, community groups and others – to let us know what they see as priority needs for positions.”
To view the list of academic positions and to post a comment, visit http://ucanr.edu/callforpositions.