University of California


Ventura ranchers thank UC Cooperative Extension

The Ventura County Cattlemen's Association publicly thanked UC Cooperative Extension and other organizations for their support during the devastating wildfires of late 2017.

In the space of 12 hours, the Thomas Fire ripped through vital grazing land that cattle rely on for their daily feed. Some animals were also killed in the fire. In a letter to the Ventura County Star, Beverly Bigger, president of the Ventura County Cattlemen's Association, said UCCE livestock and range advisor Matthew Shapero, the Ventura County agricultural commissioner and representatives of Ventura County animal services established an emergency program to supply five days of hay until ranchers could get on their feet.

UC Cooperative Extension also served as a one-stop location where ranchers could meet with representatives from multiple agencies to apply for assistance programs.

"We want to thank and recognize them for helping us in our time of need. We look forward to returning to our passion: managing and improving the land and continuing Ventura County's ranching heritage," Bigger wrote.

When rangeland burns, ranchers must scramble to feed their cattle. In Ventura County, UC Cooperative Extension stepped in to help after the Thomas Fire. (Photo: Kathy Keatley Garvey)
Posted on Wednesday, January 17, 2018 at 10:49 AM
Tags: cattle (9), Matthew Shapero (1), rangeland (12), wildfire (71)
Focus Area Tags: Economic Development

No need to pass on the Caesar's salad

At least 58 people have been sickened, and two — one in California and one in Canada — have died because they contracted E. coli O157:H7 in November and December, believed to be related to eating romaine lettuce or other leafy greens. In the United States, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control has linked at least 17 reports of illness in 13 states to the outbreak. 

That has many people passing on Caesar's salad. But UC Cooperative Extension specialist Trevor Suslow said it is unlikely that romaine now at grocery stores is contaminated, reported Bob Rodriguez in the Fresno Bee.

"It's not going to last that long, it's gone," Suslow said.

The CDC is conducting whole genome sequencing on samples of bacteria making people sick in the U.S. and Canada to determine whether they are related. Preliminary results show the type of E. coli is closely related genetically, the CDC reported

Officials believe romaine lettuce contaminated with E. coli O157:H7 is responsible for recent illnesses and two deaths in the U.S. and Canada. (Photo: Creative Commons 3 - CC BY-SA 3.0)


Posted on Tuesday, January 9, 2018 at 10:06 AM
Tags: food safety (25), Trevor Suslow (5)

Monthly news round up: January 2018

Western Innovator: Promoting sustainable ranching

(Western Farm Press) Tim Hearden

Tracy Schohr has devoted much of her career to promoting sustainability in ranching.

While at the California Cattlemen's Association, she put on an annual “rangeland summit” that brought ranchers together with environmental experts and climate change policymakers.

She also worked on a program to limit ranchers' risk of facing Endangered Species Act violations if they created habitat on their land.

After going back to school to earn her master's degree at the University of California-Davis, Schohr has become a UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources adviser based in Plumas, Sierra and Butte counties. 

Weed Control with Brad Hanson UC Cooperative Extension Weed Specialist at UC Davis 

(California Ag Today) Patrick Cavanaugh, Jan. 8, 2018

“Weeds are probably one of the year-in, year-out problems that growers face,” said Brad Hanson, UC Cooperative Extension, who discussed herbicide resistance with California Ag Today.

Building blocks for tending flocks

Workshop series to teach sheep handling and herding skills

(Auburn Journal) Julie Miller, Jan. 7, 2018

Counting sheep is no longer for the tired and sleepy.

Shepherding has become a booming industry in Placer County. At last count, there are 9,000 head of sheep registered with the county, said Dan Macon, livestock and natural resources advisor for University of California, for Placer and Nevada counties. And there may be more sheep that have not been registered, perhaps because they are in a smaller flock of 10 to 15, he said.

Sheep have proven to be versatile. Not only raised for the meat and milk, but also wool fibers, plus, they can help reduce fire danger by eating away tall grasses and shrubs.

After a recent outbreak of E.coli, is it safe to eat romaine lettuce? Experts differ

(Fresno Bee) Robert Rodriguez, Jan. 5, 2018

If you are staying away from romaine lettuce because of an outbreak of E.coli, it's understandable. But at least one food safety expert says it may not be necessary.

…But University of California food safety expert Trevor Suslow said it's unlikely the lettuce you buy at the grocery store these days is going to do you any harm. That's because the illnesses happened from Nov. 15 through Dec. 8. Lettuce sold during that period wouldn't be around anymore.

“It's not going to last that long, it's gone,” Suslow said.

2017's natural disasters cost American agriculture over $5 billion

(New Food Economy) Sam Bloch, Jan. 4, 2018

Over a period of 10 months in 2017, America experienced 16 separate, billion-dollar weather and climate-related disasters. Those weather events carved paths of destruction straight through some of the most fertile and productive regions of the country, wreaking havoc on beef cattle ranches in Texas, soaking cotton and rice farms in Louisiana, orange groves in Florida, and burning up vineyards in California. And that was all before Southern California's still-active Thomas fire, which began on December 4, and then closed in on the country's primary avocado farms. It's now the state's largest-ever, in terms of total acreage.

Acres of cherimoya trees in Santa Barbara County destroyed by the Thomas fire: 100

Total dollar value of Santa Barbara cherimoya fruit damaged by fire: $5,000,000


Acres of avocado fields in Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties threatened by wildfire: 5,260

Estimated pounds of Hass avocados in Ventura County lost to wildfire: 8,060,000

Total dollar value of that lost harvest: $10,175,750

Approximate percentage of American avocado crop threatened by wildfire: 8

Expected effect of wildfire on avocado prices in America, due to reliance on imports: 0


Winegrape acreage in Napa and Sonoma Counties: 104,847

As a percentage of total California winegrape acreage: 22


Estimated dollar value of unharvested Cabernet grapes in those counties, before the wildfires: $175,000,000

Estimated dollar value of those grapes, now tainted by smoke: $29,000,000

Bottles of 2016 Napa Cabernet you can buy for the price of two 2017 vintages, due to winegrape scarcity: 3

California wildfire data from Daniel A. Sumner, Ph.D. of UC Agricultural Issues Center, USDA NASS, Ben Faber, Ph.D. of UC Cooperative Extension Ventura.

There Is No “No-Fire” Option in California

(Bay Nature) Zach St. George, Jan. 2, 2018

As the use of prescribed fire by Cal Fire declined in recent decades, its use also declined with private landholders, says Lenya Quinn-Davidson, director of the Northern California Prescribed Fire Council, who leads prescribed burning workshops across the state. Scott Stephens, the UC Berkeley professor, concurs. Decades of suppression left the western U.S. with relatively few people trained to carry out the work: “We just don't have that experience to pass on.” But it's important not to let the current enthusiasm pass, he says—as climate change continues to push conditions toward extremes, as wildfires consume more and more of fire agency budgets, and as the wildland-urban interface expands, it will only become more difficult to bring fire back.

Tribute to Paul Verdegaal – one of Lodi's “men behind the curtain”

(Lodi Wine blog) Randy Caparoso, Jan. 1, 2018

This coming February 6, 2018, Lodi winegrowers will get together for their 66th Annual LODI GRAPE DAY. They will also mark the occasion with a celebration of the retirement of Paul Verdegaal, who has been working full-time as San Joaquin County's viticulture, bush berry and almond Farm Advisor under the auspices of UCCE (University of California Cooperative Extension) since 1986.

Posted on Monday, January 8, 2018 at 1:06 PM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Monthly news roundup: December 2017

2017 top story: Wet start to 2017 brought end to 5-year drought
Bill Hicks, Daily Republic, Dec. 30, 2017
Even though wildfires have dominated the headlines at the end of 2017, the Daily Republic selected the end of the drought as its top story of 2017. The deluge of rainfall was nearly a case of too much of a good thing. “The dose is the poison,” said Gene Miyao, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor for Yolo and Solano counties. “Dose in farming often relates to timing. Rain days after planting tomatoes, for instance, is good, but days before planting can delay the season.”

What will the Thomas Fire burn zone look like in the future?
Emily Guerin, 89.3 KPCC (SoCal Public Radio), Dec. 25, 2017
Ventura and Santa Barbara counties' countryside is scorched, but with normal rainfall, wildflowers will cover the hillsides in the spring. If it is a dry winter, many of these new seedlings won't survive. And without healthy adult chaparral on the landscape, fast-growing invasive grasses will soon move into to take their place, said Max Moritz, UC Cooperative Extension wildfire specialist in Santa Barbara.

Labor unions see organizing California marijuana workers as a way to grow
Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 25, 2017
The United Farm Workers, Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to unionize the tens of thousands of potential workers involved in legal marijuana production. Cannabis in California is already a $22-billion industry, including medical marijuana and a black market that accounts for most of that total, according to UC ANR agriculture economics researcher Philip Martin.

California ranchers will need vet's prescription to use livestock antibiotics
Julia Mitric, Capital Public Radio, Dec. 22, 2017
UC Cooperative Extension advisor Dan Macon said the new California requiring a veterinarian prescription for livestock antibiotics doesn't require a vet to be on site for each animal that needs treatment. But there will need to be a "veterinary-client-patient relationship." "Where the vet knows the operation, knows the rancher and has some idea of the types of animals and types of issues the rancher may be dealing with," Macon said. "And so it does require some semi-annual check in with the vet at the ranch."

How local farmers are coping with the devastating Thomas fire
Gillian Ferguson, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 19, 2017
Two weeks of unrelenting wind stoked wildfires that severely damaged avocados and other crops in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The wind also spreads smoke damage, according to Ben Faber, UC Cooperative Extension advisor. "There are a lot of gases in the smoke like ethylene that is a ripening agent," Bender said. "I was out looking at a cherimoya orchard in Carpinteria on Friday, and it didn't get hit by fire or heat, but there were a lot of cherimoyas on the ground."

Farmers who lost crops in  the Lilac Fire seek advice from experts
Jaime Chambers, Fox 5 News, Dec. 19, 2017
Dozens of farmers whose citrus and avocados were burned in the Lilac Fire gathered to hear advice from UC Cooperative Extension experts. “The first thing I tell farmers is not to panic,” said Gary Bender, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Diego County. “When the fire burns hot and fast, that means the leaves will be burned but the tree might be fine.”

‘Defensible space' couldn't keep Thomas Fire from burning Ventura County
Emily Guerin, KPCC Public Radio, Dec. 19, 2017
The Thomas Fire in Ventura County surprised firefighters by destroying so many homes the first day after it broke out. UC Cooperative Extension specialist Max Moritz, who lives in Santa Barbara, said that defensible space isn't enough to protect structures during a wind-driven firestorm. “Defensible space has a very specific use. It's to provide a place for firefighters to do their work. It doesn't actually necessarily in and of itself protect the home from ignition,” he said. “We also have to think of the structure itself. What if nobody is there to defend it?” Homeowners must take precautions to keep flying embers from landing on flammable objects in and around the home and igniting a fire.

Lilac Fire resources for crop growers
Laura Acevedo, ABC 10 News, Dec. 19, 2017
The University of California Cooperative Extension and the USDA Farm Service Agency hosted an information meeting to provide agricultural assistance after the Lilac Fire. Some growers lost millions of dollars and thousands of pounds of fruit. UCCE advisor and county director Eta Takele spoke on estimated tree loss and advisors Sonia Rios and Gary Bender were also on the program.

Google Earth helps researchers map environmental impact of cannabis
Hana Baba, KALW Public Radio, Dec. 19, 2017
In Humboldt County, a team of researchers have been using satellite images to study cannabis grow sites for three years. “We were surprised by the location of the grows, the fact that most of the grows are in areas that are really bad for agriculture,” said Van Butsic, UC Cooperative Extension specialist. “There's good places to hide.” Butsic said the landscape will be really different in a year, and really different in five years.

California wildfire 45% contained, but devil winds persist
Mark Chediak, Bloomberg, Dec. 18, 2017
In CalFire terminology, 45 percent containment means that about that much of a hot zone is penned in by physical barriers, either roads, waterways or bulldozed or hand-shoveled clearings. “The problem is, when winds shift, the line of containment can be breached and embers can create spot fires,” said Max Moritz, a fire specialist for the University of California Cooperative Extension. “That's what we see with these wind-driven events.”

Are real or artificial Christmas trees better for the environment?
Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, Dec. 14, 2017
There's a common misconception about where real trees come from. Lynn Wunderlich, who works with Christmas tree farmers in her role as farm advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, said many people assume the trees are cut down in forests and stolen from nature. In reality, Christmas trees are grown on farms in California, Oregon, Washington, Michigan, North Carolina, Tennessee and other states, and they are meant to be cut down.

Climate change may shift vineyard planting
Dan Berger, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Dec. 12, 2017
The warming climate is already having an impact on North Coast wines. UC Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor Glenn McGourty said “heat storms” before the 2017 harvest may result in satisfactory wines, but occasionally such conditions will produce characteristics that are atypical: “It's contrary to our handcrafted image of wines made from exquisitely grown fruit. If you're a pinot noir grower and all of a sudden the temperatures rise to 100 degrees for several days in a row, well, that's not the kind of wine you want to make. It's not what you signed up for.”

The invasive, flammable plants making California's fires worse
Jacob Margolis, Los Angeles Public Radio, 89.3 KPCC, Dec. 12, 2017
Dense amounts of grasses have squeezed in between the native coastal sage brush and chaparral. "The invasive grasses have had a major role in most of the fires this year," said Richard Minnich, AES researcher and UC Riverside earth sciences professor. "The fires have largely been at low elevations where exotic annual grassland is most abundant. And the amount of grass and biomass was unusually high this year because of the heavy rains last winter."

How to protect your house from a wildfire with plants
Kurt Snibbe, Orange County Register, Dec. 12, 2017
On average, about 1,445 structures are destroyed by wildfires each year in California. There have been more than 8,000 damaged and destroyed in California this year. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources is a source for science-based methods to reduce the likelihood a home will go up in flames during a wildfire event.

Why (and how) to cut down your own Christmas tree
Natalie Brunell, KCRA News, Dec. 12, 2017
Many national forests in California offer a limited number of tree permits for people to cut down their own Christmas trees. "You definitely would not necessarily expect perfection," said Susie Kocher, the forestry adviser for the UC Cooperative Extension in the central Sierra Nevada. "Farmed trees (in lots) are tended by farmers who prune them to get the perfect shape. Natural trees are going to look a little different than farmed trees."

California avocados hit with triple whammy of fire, wind and ash
Dan Whitcomb, Reuters, Dec. 8, 2017
The Ventura County wildfire destroyed much of the region's avocado crop not just with flames, but also with fierce Santa Ana winds and a thick blanket of ash. Avocados are planted in hillside groves because of their shallow roots, said Ben Faber, a UCCE farm advisor in Ventura. The fruit, typically harvested in February or March, is full-sized and a heavy fruit by December, held by a long stem. Those factors make avocados more vulnerable to the whipping winds than the lemon orchards dotting the flatlands of Ventura, Faber said.

California's climate emergency
Eric Holthaus, Rolling Stone, Dec. 8, 2017
As holiday music plays on the radio, temperatures in Southern California have soared into the 80s, and bone-dry winds have fanned a summer-like wildfire outbreak. Southern California is under siege. As California-based scientist Faith Kearns writes in Bay Nature magazine, "The admission that our best efforts may not always be enough opens a small window to shift how we think about disasters."

Pioneering practice could help California reverse groundwater depletion
Michelaina Johnson, Water Deeply, Dec. 6, 2017
A 2015 University of California study identified 3.6 million acres of farmland where farmland can be used to recharge the aquifer. “I think it is safe to say that if infrastructure were in place we could begin to replenish what is typically pumped from groundwater in most years if floodwaters are available,” said Toby O'Geen, UCCE soil resource specialist. Some of the regions with the worst groundwater overdraft and best suitability for on-farm recharge, like the Tulare Basin, have no access to surface water, according to UC Davis hydrologist Helen Dahlke.

In California fires, a starring role for the wicked wind of the West
Anne C. Mulkern, Science Magazine, Dec. 6, 2017
UC Cooperative Extension specialist Max Moritz said the state needs to incorporate wind corridors into its fire hazard severity zone maps. Stricter building codes apply in places designated as high-risk.

Bugs in the Christmas Tree? Shake, Relax, Decorate
Kathleen Doheny, WebMD, Dec. 6, 2017
Live Christmas trees could shelter some bugs, but commercial trees are probably pretty clean, said UCCE advisor Lynn Wunderlich. But consumers need not worry. “You aren't going to find black widows or brown recluse spiders in Christmas trees," Wunderlich says. Those spiders prefer to hang out in more protected surroundings, she says, such as the corner of your dark garage or shed.

2017 is California's worst year for wildfires on record
Jill Replogle, KPCC 89.3, Dec. 6, 2017
The 2017 fire season has been the most severe on record, due to a combustible combination of drought, rains, and especially, wind. “What really makes big years in terms of acres burned is essentially how many really windy days we have,” UCCE forestry specialist Bill Stewart. Last year's wet winter, which led to increased vegetation, and this year's record-breaking heat waves aren't as indicative of fire danger as Santa Ana winds, known in Northern California as Diablo winds, Stewart said. “It's always dry. There's always fuel,” he said.

California's massive fires reveal our illusion of control over disasters
Faith Kearns, Bay Nature, Dec. 6, 2017
"Unstoppable" is a word the firefighters have used to describe both the Tubbs Fire in northern California and the Thomas Fire in the southern part of the state. This is a marked change from top-down, command-and-control institutions like CAL FIRE. While it's scary, recognizing the reality that we aren't always in control when it comes to disasters also invites us to re-imagine how we can live with them.

Ali and the drones
Nick Papadopolous, CropMobsterTV, Dec. 5, 2017
Alireza (Ali) Pourreza travelled from Iran to Florida then to the UC ANR Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, Calif. He's a music-loving precision ag specialist working to help address some of the most vexing challenges facing agriculture.

Hillside berry farms trigger erosion, speed flooding on central coast
Sarah Derouin and Emma Hiolski, Santa Cruz Sentinel, Dec. 4, 2017
Strawberries are one of California's most profitable crops, but the plastic row covers that protect berries from cold and pests also increase water runoff and erosion on hillside fields. UCCE advisor Mark Bolda estimates that one inch of rainfall onto a 30-acre plastic-covered farm could send enough water downhill to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool. And the hills' sandy soil only exacerbates the problem. Nevertheless, he said, “It's not an option to not use plastic” in commercial strawberry farms.

Posted on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 9:47 AM

Monthly news roundup: November 2017

The shot hole borer beetle could kill 38 percent of all trees in the L.A. region
Akif Eskalen Shannon Lynch, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 30, 2017
The shot hole borer could kill as many as 27 million trees in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties — roughly 38% of all trees in the urban region. Because such an unusually wide variety of tree species are susceptible to this pest-disease, it has spread quickly throughout urban forests, wildlands and avocado groves across Southern California.

Sudden oak death rampant in Sonoma County after two wet winters, raising longterm fire risks
Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nov. 29, 2017
After two wet winters, the pathogen that causes Sudden Oak Death reached a record level of infection this year, reported the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Results of the latest UC survey showed a 10-fold increase over 2015 — from 3.8 percent to 37 percent this year — in the sudden oak death infection rate in an area that includes Healdsburg, Santa Rosa, Sonoma and Petaluma. The spread of sudden oak death could further transform North Coast forests already ravaged by drought and altered by climate change, increasing their vulnerability to catastrophic fire, said UCCE specialist Matteo Garbolotto.

Village Nurseries donates 300 plants to UC Davis/UC ANR field trials for landscape water needs
Village Nurseries, BusinessWire, Nov. 29, 2017
To help meet California's mandatory landscape ordinances for water conservation, Village Nurseries donated 300 plants to the University of California Landscape Plant Irrigation Trials. The studies, to be conducted at UC Davis and the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine, aim to determine water needs for landscape plants. The goal is to develop information on water use of landscape plants in both locations. Principal investigator of the project is Karrie Reid, the UC Cooperative Extension Environmental Horticulture advisor in San Joaquin County. Darren Haver is the project manager at SCREC.

Video: Los más recientes esfuerzos educativos en Santa María (Video: The most recent educational efforts in Santa Maria)
Univision, Nov 28, 2017
A Spanish-speaking UCCE nutrition educator explained that the UCCE educators visit low-income schools to teach children how to improve their diets. For example, they remind the students that punch drinks are very high in sugar. Another educator says the lessons include directions for gardening and incorporating the fresh vegetables into meals.

California fire policies sidestep one key factor: wind
Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times, Nov. 26, 2017
The causes of the Northern California wildfires in October are under investigation. But for a number of the fires, the prime suspects are sparking power lines and electrical equipment downed by winds that gusted to more than 70 mph. A few highly flammable parts of the world are taking tougher stands. National planning regulations in France now require communities in the country's fire-prone south to bar development in certain high fire-hazard zones. “It's not terribly popular. But they do have the ability to make that happen,” said Susan Kocher, a natural resources advisor with the UC Cooperative Extension who spent a sabbatical in France and recently published a research paper on the topic.

Many college students going hungry, need donated food groceries and food stamps
Nanette Asimov, San Francisco Chronicle, Nov. 23, 2017
A 2015 University of California survey of 9,000 students conducted by the UC Nutrition Policy Institute's Susanna Martinez and Lorrene Ritchie, and UCSB's Katie Maynard, sheds light on student hunger. It said nearly 1 in 5 students, 19 percent, said they had too little to eat “due to limited resources.” Another 23 percent routinely ate substandard food with little variation.

Open space committee priority list in the works
Independent News, Nov. 23, 2017
Funds for acquisition of open space lands in eastern Alameda County are available as a result of a legal settlement in connection with expansion of the Altamont Landfill. A subcommittee comprised of Livermore Councilmember Bob Woerner and Sierra Club representative Dick Schneider will work with Van Butsic, UCCE specialist, Department of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management at UC  Berkeley, to identify priority areas that could be purchased.

UC researchers take a look at the ecological impact of pot farming
Julie Mitric, Capital Public Radio, Nov. 21, 2017
Marijuana farms break up continuous stretches of forest into small pieces, and impact that is ecologically significant because it influences how nutrients cycle through the ecosystem and how wildlife moves. "It impacts what habitat are available for different species. Some species like large continuous areas of forest and other species like to live on the edge of forest. And so more fragmented forest may be better habitat for them," said UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Butsic said.

Sweet potatoes are very taty and healthy, too
Modesto Bee, Nov. 21, 2017
Thanks to the Merced River, the county's sandy soil is ideal for sweet potatoes, says Scott Stoddard, UCCE advisor who counts sweet potatoes among his specialties. Unlike, say, citrus, which is being hit by citrus greening disease, sweet potatoes haven't been struck by pestilence, beyond nematodes (which are always are a bane).

An afternoon of learning at Liberty School in Santa Maria: 4-H students apply new knowledge of nutrition, gardening, community service
Gina Kim, Santa Maria Times, Nov. 18, 2017
4-H members from five low-income schools prepared dinner for more than 100 guests after hands-on learning taught them about nutrition, gardening and community service. The project, called 4-H SNAC (Student Nutrition Advisory Council) Clubs, is a collaboration between UC CalFresh Nutrition Education and UC 4-H Youth Development in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and the schools.

Students battle it out in Agribee
Dani Anguiano, Chico Enterprise-Record, Nov. 17, 2017
The Butte County Farm Bureau and the UC Cooperative Extension nutrition education program put on an “agribee” program to educate students about agriculture and the role it plays in Butte County. The students spell and define words like xylem, weevil, phosophorus, anvil and apiary.

Good works
Orange County Register, Nov. 17, 2017
The Orange County Farm Bureau has donated nearly $1 million dollars to four colleges and universities establishing scholarships and permanent endowments to support ag education. In January, a gift of $500,000 was made to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, which established the OCFB Presidential Chair for Agriculture Education at the South Coast Research and Extension Center in Irvine. The gift was matched by the university to create a $1 million endowment. Three additional gifts of $165,000 each were given to Cal Poly Pomona, Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

Greener pastures aren't always the best
Natalie Cowan, The California Aggie, Nov. 16, 2017
Huanglongbing disease of citrus may lie dormant in a citrus plant for years before symptoms become visual. By the time growers are aware that a plant is contaminated, the disease may have spread among the grove. “While you're allowing these trees to be productive and potentially making money from them they are the Typhoid Mary,” said Carolyn Slupsky, a UC ANR food science researcher. Slupsky and other researchers are studying new early detection methods.

Burned trees in North Coast fire areas pose dilemma for homeowners
Guy Kovner, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Nov. 16, 2017
Tree advocates are urging restraint in removing burned trees and shrubs following wildfire in favor of waiting at least until spring to see if fresh green growth emerges from vegetation that has adapted to survive fire. UCCE advisor Steven Swain believes landowners should consult with an arborist before removing large trees. “Oaks survive fires when when they look terrible, with the leaves burned off,” he said.

Kids learn about food and farm at Agriculture Field Day
Dani Anguiano, Oroville Mercury Register, Nov. 16, 2017
Every year more than 150 fourth-grades learn about local agriculture and commodities at an agricultural field day sponsored by the Butte County Farm, Home and 4-H Support Group and coordinated by the Butte County Cooperative Extension's UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program. “It gives them hands-on exposure to agriculture in the county,” UC CalFresh Program Coordinator Rita Palmer said. “For many of them it's their first exposure to agriculture and there's a lot of excitement.”

These Sacramento suburban neighborhoods face the highest risk of wildfire
Ryan Lillis, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 13, 2017
Urban and suburban areas are susceptible to devastating blazes in Northern California. “I think (the Santa Rosa fire) served as a wake up for us that that sort of destruction could happen on such a scale,” said Susie Kocher, UCCE natural resources advisor. “We've gotten comfortable thinking it's a Southern California problem, but clearly it's not. This is California – we have to be thinking about all the hazards in our landscape.” The state's Cal Fire agency maps fire hazard severity zones for California's 58 counties. UCCE forestry specialist Bill Stewart, who helped draft the most recent maps in 2007, said the data was generated by examining a region's topography and vegetation, and otherwise “wasn't the most sophisticated model.”

What Is a GMO?
Jenny Splitter, Mental Floss, Nov. 13, 2017
it's hard to find an organism in any way connected to humans that hasn't been genetically modified, says Alison Van Eenennaam, UC Cooperative Extension animal biotechnology specialist. "I might argue that a great Dane or a Corgi are 'genetically modified' relative to their ancestor, the wolf," she said. "'GMO' is not a very useful term. Modified for what and why is really the more important question.”

Santa Maria's 4-H SNAC clubs provide nutritional education to low-income families
Kasey Bubnash, Santa Maria Sun, Nov. 13, 2017
The 4-H Student Nutrition Advisory Council (SNAC) clubs are providing local students with healthy food tastings, nutritional presentations, and gardening lessons so those kids can in turn teach their classmates and families about healthy choices. The 4-H SNAC program is a collaborative effort between UC CalFresh Nutrition Education, UC 4-H Youth Development, and the Santa Maria-Bonita School District. “For nutrition education, reaching low-income populations is critical and crucial,” said Shannon Klisch, Cal Fresh Community Education Supervisor. “We know a lot of low-income communities don't have the same access to healthy foods or places to get active.”

A day at the 6th Annual Hopland Sheepdog Trials
Hillary Mojeda, Ukiah Daily News, Nov. 13, 2017
For three days last weekend, sheep, dogs and humans participated in the 6th Annual Hopland Sheepdog Trials at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center. Forty-six border collies and their handlers from all over the state took their turns showing their skills as herding dogs. At the end of each day, winners were announced based on how well the border collies and their handlers maneuvered four sheep through the course.

Drought-tolerant garden dedicated at UC Extension Office
Jim Smith, Woodland Daily Democrat, Nov. 12, 2017
Morgan Doran, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Yolo County, dedicated drought-tolerant demonstration landscaping at the Woodland office last week. The landscape also controls flooding and offers better security. The garden was dedicated to UCCE advisor emeritus Kent Brittan, who died in March 2016.

New app gives real-time warnings of coyote sightings
Sharon Chen, Fox 5 San Diego, Nov. 8, 2017
Coyote Cacher, which was started by the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, helps collect information on coyote encounters in California. Niamh Quinn, a UCCE human-wildlife interactions advior who helped develop the app, said this time of year is prime for coyote activity and sightings. “This is what's called dispersal season, it's when a juvenile leaves the den to begin a life of their own,” Quinn said.  “They'll look for other mates and other coyotes to link up with.”

Cal Fire Says It's Focusing on Fire Prevention; But Critics Say Current Efforts Leave State Vulnerable to More Mega Fires
Liz Wagner, Robert Campos, and Michael Horn, NBC Bay Area News, Nov. 7, 2017
UCCE forestry specialist Bill Steward said Cal Fire isn't equipped to coordinate aggressive fire prevention strategies. “I think Cal Fire at its core is basically a fire department,” Stewart said. “I do think fire mitigation is going to have to go up. That's just been considered kind of a sideline program at Cal Fire.”

Buying legal marijuana in California could be pricey enough to keep the black market healthy.
Aaron Smith, CNN Money, Oct. 31, 2017
Between customers, retailers and growers, taxes on cannabis may reach as high as 45 percent in parts of the state, according to a Fitch Ratings report. Those high taxes may keep consumers away from legal marijuana stores once the recreational retail market goes live on January 1. Black market farmers also face other obstacles to becoming compliant with state law. UC Cooperative Extension specialist Van Bustic, a specialist in the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation, said that registering with the state and becoming compliant will cost about $100,000. He said that many Humboldt farmers are unlikely to shoulder that cost if they can continue to operate in the dark.

Cooperative Extension is key to unlocking public engagement with science
Elise Gornish and Leslie Roche, Ecological Society of America, November 2017
U.S. land-grant mission and the Cooperative Extension system have initiated, developed, and implemented models of public engagement for the past 100 years. Cooperative Extension engages through trusted and established relationships, and collaboration and co-development of projects with the public.

Santa Rosa fire victims face tough decisions on rebuilding
Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press, Nov. 4, 2017
Families whose homes were reduced to white ash by the October wildfires in Northern California must decide whether to rebuild quickly as things were, rebuild defensively against future fires, or abandon their burned neighborhood entirely. Ultimately, “all of us as taxpayers are sort of picking up the bill in one way or the other” for wildfires, said Max Moritz, UC Cooperative Extension fire science specialist. If the public is subsidizing the costs, it should also have a say through regulations to determine where and how people can build, he said.

Understanding smoke taint
Lexi Williams, Wine Spectator, Nov. 3, 2017
Fortunately for Northern California's 2017 vintage, most of the grapes had been harvested by the time the fires broke out there. People were concerned that the smoke could affect the already-picked grapes in fermenters, but according to Anita Oberholster, an UCCE enology specialist, that's unlikely. "During fermentation these wines should have been protected due to a protective ‘blanket' of carbon dioxide released during fermentation," she told Wine Spectator via email. "However, even if some volatile phenols from the smoke [are] absorbed in the wine, we do not expect any glycosylation to take place. So the problem of non-volatile precursors will not exist."

What UCR and a Riverside firm are doing to stop invasive weevil from decapitating Southern California's iconic palm trees
David Downey, Riverside Press Enterprise, Nov. 3, 2017
UCCE entomology specialist Mark Hoddle is a principal player in the fight against the South American palm weevil. Hoddle and the Riverside biotech firm ISCA Technologies are teaming up to develop formulations from naturally occurring compounds to lure weevils to small but lethal doses of pesticide. Through this approach, less than one-hundredth of the volume of pesticide in traditional spray applications is used.

Why we still kill cougars
Ryan Sabalow and Phillip Reese, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 3, 2017
Californians voted to ban hunting of mountain lions back in 1990, but lions can still be killed with a depredation permit if they have attacked a domestic animal. Since Proposition 117 passed, an average of 98 mountain lions have been killed each year. When eight 4-H club goats were killed in a mountain lion attack last spring, the families chose not to acquire a depredation permit and instead made sure their livestock enclosures were secure against mountain lions.

Sponsored research funding aids UC Davis in taking on major challenges
Kriti Varghese, The Aggie, Nov. 2, 2017
UC Davis receives $760 million in funding, allowing faculty to tackle some of world's most pressing issues. Among the programs noted in this article is the UC CalFresh Nutrition Education Program. “We're funded to provide nutrition education for obesity prevention to help transform  low-income communities and individuals, to improve access to healthy foods, to reduce food insecurity, to increase physical activity and to reduce obesity,” said David Ginsburg, the director of UC CalFresh.

State ag secretary speaks in Orland innovation conference next week
Chico Enterprise, Nov. 1, 2017
UC ANR researcher and UC Davis professor of biological and ag engineering David Slaughter will speak at the North State Innovations in Agriculture Conference at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. His topic is “The SmartFarm Initiative at UC Davis – a vision of the farm of the future.” California Ag Secretary Karen Ross is also on the agenda.

Napa County's natural, agricultural landscapes face wildfire recovery
Barry Eberling, Napa Valley Register, Nov. 2, 2017
UCCE advisors Monica Cooper and John Roncoroni organized the Napa Valley Vineyard Technical Group meeting in Napa for owners of private lands with the burn areas of the Atlas, Nuns and Tubbs wildfires of October 2017. “There are going to be days when you feel like you're making it up as you go along,” said Greg Giusti, a UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus. “You are. You haven't done this before.” Giusti talked about forest health and recovery strategies.

UC Riverside, biotech firm receive grant to combat palm tree pests, Nov. 2, 2018
The Washington, D.C.-based Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research awarded a  $150,000 grant was awarded today to UC Riverside and a Riverside-based biotech firm to bolster their work in developing pesticides capable of eradicating insects that are destroying palm trees in California and elsewhere. “This funding has arrived a critical time. We need to get ahead of the weevil invasion in San Diego and this support provides the boost we need,” said UCCE specialist Mark Hoddle, director of the  Center for Invasive Species Research at UC Riverside.

State ag secretary speaks in Orland innovation conference next week
Chico Enterprise, Nov. 1, 2017
UC ANR researcher and UC Davis professor of biological and ag engineering David Slaughter will speak at the North State Innovations in Agriculture Conference at the Glenn County Fairgrounds. His topic is “The SmartFarm Initiative at UC Davis – a vision of the farm of the future.” California Ag Secretary Karen Ross is also on the agenda.

But first we're going to have to get less squeamish about bugs
Sophia Mendelson, New Food Economy, Oct. 31, 2017
The University of California Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program defines IPM this way: “A process you can use to solve pest problems while minimizing risks to people and the environment. IPM can be used to manage all kinds of pests anywhere—in urban, agricultural, and wildland or natural areas.”


Posted on Friday, December 1, 2017 at 9:01 AM

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