ANR in the news Jan. 16-31, 2020

Jan 31, 2020

California ag faces a decade of challenges

 (Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 31

…“We're getting close to a point where field work in agriculture is similar to or higher than the wages in other sectors,” said Dan Sumner, director of the University of California's Agricultural Issues Center in Davis. “But the problem is the hours of work.”

Much of agricultural work is seasonal, making the 40-hour work week impractical in many circumstances, Sumner and others say.

…When they mechanize, growers encounter more regulations. For instance, Steve Fennemore, a UC plant sciences specialist in Salinas, has been helping a company develop an autonomous weeder and is aghast at a state safety requirement that there be a person within 10 feet operating each agricultural robot in use.

“We have a tremendous labor shortage,” Fennemore said. “We have teams of robots working a field. Why do I need more than one person to run them?

“Shouldn't we be encouraging this kind of research” into labor-saving tools, he asks. “We need to do everything we can to mechanize.”


Pistachio Winter Juvenile Tree Dieback A Confounding Issue

(AgNet West) Brian German, Jan. 31

Pistachio growers will be watching for signs for winter juvenile tree dieback (WJTD) as trees begin to come out of dormancy in the spring. Damage is typically found in trees between three and five years old, although there have been instances where older trees in their seventh or eighth year have been affected.  Narrowing down the exact cause of the issue also presents its own set of challenges

“I'm somewhat hesitant to call it freeze damage because we've seen it in places where we couldn't find a freeze.  But I think more than anything it has to do with root hypoxia; that's a lack of oxygen in the root zone,” said Craig Kallsen, UC Farm Advisor in Kern County.  “We see it in old lakebeds, low elevation areas where cold air collects but that's also where the salt is so it's hard to separate those factors.”


IQ 2020 Presents: Research That Will Change the Way You Make Wine

(Wine Business Monthly Jan. 31

…Kaan Kurtural, associate specialist at the UC Cooperative Extension, is working with Levin, but is focusing specifically on Red Blotch's effects on the Cabernet Sauvignon winegrape. In addition to that research, Kurtural will also share his experience with the latest in mechanization's role in ultra-premium winemaking and discuss how precision viticulture can affect phenolics. The results of his experimentation will be available for tasting during the trials breakout session.


Newsom's budget proposes increase for UC Extension

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, Jan. 30

After snubbing the agency last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom has slipped a 5 percent increase for the University of California's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources into his $222 billion overall budget proposal for 2020-21.

The boost would mean an increase of $3.6 million annually for UCANR to begin rebuilding its ranks of researchers and educators working with growers, said Glenda Humiston, the division's vice president.

“We are making progress,” Humiston said in an email. “More people are recognizing and giving credit to the research, public service and outreach UCANR provides to help Californians improve their lives and businesses.”


Mating disruption shows promise for NOW control

(Farm Press) Todd Fitchette, Jan. 30

Studies by the University of California suggest consistent, positive results with no clear winners among various products by the major companies – Suterra, Semios, Pacific Biocontrol Corporation and Trécé – currently providing pheromone products to tree nut growers, according to David Haviland, an Extension entomologist based in Kern County.


Master Gardeners have a love of gardening and a passion to share it with others

(Stockton Record) Marcy Sousa, Jan. 30

Do you need to figure out what variety of apple is less susceptible to fire blight? A Master Gardener can help with that.

Do you have a plant that has a mysterious problem you can't seem to diagnose? Are you interested in vermicomposting but not sure where to start? Yup, call a Master Gardener for help.


Bites: Yin Ji Chang Fen heads to Berkeley, Super Bowl specials, Shawarmaji at Forage Kitchen

(Berkeleyside) Sarah Han, Jan. 29

…RAISING THE BAR Emeryville-based Clif Bar and the UC system have joined forces to found the California Organic Institute, which will be dedicated to organic research and education under the direction of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR). According to the Daily Cal, both Clif Bar and UC President Janet Napolitano have donated $500,000 to create the research institute, with the goal of promoting organic farming practices and food security in California.


North Coast Pear Research Meeting set for Feb. 6

(Lake Co News) Jan. 29

The University of California Cooperative Extension, California Pear Advisory Board, Pear Pest Management Research Fund and the and Lake County Department of Agriculture will host the annual North Coast Pear Research Meeting on Thursday, Feb. 6.


UCANR to Establish First-Ever California Organic Institute

(AGNet West) Jan. 28

The University of California will be establishing its first institution designed specifically for organic research and education; the California Organic Institute.  The new institute will be developed through UC's Agriculture and Natural Resources division (UC ANR) thanks in part to a $500,000 endowment gift from Clif Bar & Company, as well as another $500,000 in matching funds from UC President Janet Napolitano.


UC researcher is promoting healthy families

(Morning Ag Clips) Jan. 28

UC Cooperative Extension nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor Deepa Srivastava arrived in the San Joaquin Valley in 2017 to conduct a research and education program that makes children and families healthier in Tulare and Kings counties.

Srivastava joined Cooperative Extension with diverse experience in obesity prevention research and program implementation and evaluation. Her job combines extension, research, university and public service to promote healthy living among families and children in low-income communities.


Young California ranchers are finding new ways to raise livestock and improve the land

(Conversation) Kate Munden-Dixon and Leslie Roche, Jan. 28

As California contends with drought, wildfires and other impacts of climate change, a small yet passionate group of residents are attempting to lessen these effects and reduce the state's carbon emissions. They are ranchers – but not the kind that most people picture when they hear that term.

These first-generation ranchers are young, often female and ethnically diverse. Rather than raising beef cattle destined for feedlots, many are managing small grazing animals like sheep and goats. And they are experimenting with grazing practices that can reduce fire risk on hard-to-reach landscapes, restore biodiversity and make it possible to make a living from the land in one of the most expensive states in the country.


UC system will establish its 1st organic research institute

(Daily Cal) Emma Rooholfada, Jan. 28

 Clif Bar and UC President Janet Napolitano have each donated $500,000 to fund the California Organic Institute, which will be dedicated to organic research and education.

Headed by the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources division, or UC ANR, the institute will be the first of its kind in the UC system. According to UC ANR Associate Vice President Wendy Powers, the primary goal of the institute is to promote the development and adoption of techniques for more efficient organic farming.

“President Napolitano is committed to supporting a healthy California stemming from agriculture of all kinds: large, small, traditional and organic,” said UC Office of the President spokesperson Sarah McBride in an email.


Preschoolers harvest dinner at Farm Smart Festival

 (Desert Review) Kayla Kirby, Jan. 26

The Farm Smart program and UC CalFresh Healthy Living hosted the second annual Farm to Preschool festival at the UC Desert Research and Extension Center Saturday, January 25, to show preschool age children and their families where they get their food, how it's grown, and ways to live a healthy eating lifestyle.


Master Gardeners Mark 16 Years Of Demonstration Garden

(My Motherlode) Jan. 26

In 2004, University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners of Tuolumne County entered into a collaborative agreement with Sonora Union High School District to provide gardening demonstrations for the community and develop instructional projects for the students at the District's Alternative Education Campus (the ‘Dome'). The garden was originally planted by Jim Johnson, a teacher at Cassina High, and his students. It was used by Mr. Johnson and fellow teacher Bob King for school projects. Containing several varieties of fruit trees, blackberries, grape vines, raised beds, a small rose garden, and shaded tables, the garden is also an ideal break area for students.


Watch: exclusive interview with Frank Mitloehner

(Irish Farmers Journal) Lorcan Allen (subscription only), Jan 24

Prof Frank Mitloehner came to Dublin this week and gave a fascinating presentation on the biogenic cycle of methane and agricultures role in capturing carbon.


Ag awards presented during Farm Bureau annual meeting

(Corning Observer) Julie R. Johnson, Jan. 23

…In preparation to presenting the evening's awards, Christensen said, “Each year we recognize several people or organizations for their dedicated partnership with the Tehama County Farm Bureau.”

He then presented the 2019 awards as Friend of the Year to Josh Davy from University of California Cooperative Extension, and Doni Rulofson and Tom Moss of the Department of Agriculture; Media Person of the Year to Chip Thompson; Member of the Year to Eric Borror; Insurance Agent of the Year to Steve and Kelly Mora of Heritage Insurance, and Agriculture Educator of the Year to Trena Kimler-Richards of Shasta College.


Untreatable fungal infections threaten local almond orchards

(Bakersfield Californian) John Cox, Jan. 22

…It's unclear how many cases of infection have been confirmed locally. But of three kinds of ganoderma fungus infections identified recently in California almond orchards, University of California researchers say 94 percent of the cases were of the adspersum variety.

…"We are seeing those trees collapsing at 11, 12, 15 years old, ” said orchard systems advisor Mohammad Yaghmour with the UC cooperative extension in Kern County.

Growing your own celery is easier than you think

(LA Times) Jeanette Marantos, Jan. 22

…But for some reason, celery is not a winter garden staple like other greens, and that's a shame, says Gardening in L.A. blogger and master gardener Yvonne Savio. “If you're a cook, you need to grow celery, because you get twice as much as what you buy at the store.”

… You can plant the seedlings in the ground or in a large pot, Savio said. Celery roots range from 18 to 24 inches, according to a vegetable root depth guide prepared by the University of California Cooperative Extension for Los Angeles County, so look for a pot that's as deep as possible, Savio said. “For any vegetable, find the optimum depth and then add another 4 inches to the pot so the roots have some room to grow. You don't want them pushing against the sides of the pot.” Finally, choose a sunny location; celery can't handle high summer temperatures, but during the winter, when days are shorter and the sun less intense, they need at least four to six hours of sun daily.


Proposed Budget Includes Increase for UC ANR

(California Ag Today) Tim Hammerich, Jan. 21

Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed state budget this month, which includes a much needed 5% increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. 

Dr. Glenda Humiston, Vice President of UC ANR explains why this increase is so critical. 

Humiston…”We currently have only about half as many cooperative extension people out in the field that we had 20 years ago. And it really is creating a hardship for communities and industry sectors that rely upon that research and science to help keep them functional and thriving.”


‘Kiwi Queen' Frieda Caplan, produce-industry pioneer, dies at 96

(LA Times) Dorany Pineda, Gustavo Arellano, Jan. 18

They called her “Kiwi Queen” and “Mother Gooseberry.” “Mushroom Lady” and “the “Mick Jagger of the produce world.” The woman who broke the glass ceiling in the testosterone-doused produce world and forever changed the way Americans eat fruits and vegetables.

She was Frieda Rapoport Caplan, a tenacious maven credited for introducing kiwis, mangoes, habanero and shishito peppers, passion fruit, bean and alfalfa sprouts, baby carrots, sugar snap peas, starfruit, blood oranges, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric, and hundreds more fruits and vegetables into the supermarket mainstream. Into the bellies of American consumers.

…“Who the hell had heard of jicama or spaghetti squash?” said Ben Faber, a UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor who works with specialty crops. “We were a meat and potatoes society in the 1960s,” he added. “She changed our eating habits.... Frieda was able to tap into aspirations that people had after the Second World War ... something new and different other than mac ‘n' cheese.”


Fresno State students create pesticide safety videos in Hmong language

(ABC30) Shayla Girardin, Jan. 18

…For farmers, keeping food fresh is no easy task and for workers in the Hmong community trying to follow pesticide regulations, the lack of resources in their language posed a problem.

"It's the language, the culture, and if everything is in English and you don't speak the language, you don't understand what it's about," explained Michael Yang, education specialist with UC Extension.


EcoFarm bus tour rolling through Pajaro Valley

(Pajaronian) Johanna Miller, Jan. 17

…The EcoFarm bus tour, which Earnshaw and Baumgartner will lead along with UC Cooperative Extension's Richard Smith, has been held for nearly as long as the conference itself. Participants load into a fleet of buses at the conference grounds in Pacific Grove and take off to local farms, where they learn about various aspects of organic farming.


Northern California Sturgeon Farms

 (California Ag Today) Tim Hammerich, Jan. 16

If you've ever had sturgeon, there's a good chance it came from a Northern California sturgeon farm. A conservation success story, sturgeon farming has been commercialized thanks to conservation work started at UC Davis decades ago. Cooperative Extension Aquaculture Specialist Dr. Jackson Gross explains.

Gross..”Sturgeon started off as a conservation story for California, our Sacramento sturgeon or Sacramento white sturgeon over 30 years ago, they started working at white sturgeon conservation here. Part of that was the aquaculture, the role of aquaculture, conservation aquaculture, People understood that sturgeon, in terms of caviar, could also be of a high quality, which also could provide food as well as income to an industry. Um, and that, that started, uh, to what we have today is a sustainable sturgeon industry in the greater Sacramento area.”


 Composting made simple

(Gilroy Dispatch) Jan. 16

Cole Smith goes over the basics of composting hay during a “Manure Composting Made Easy” workshop in Gilroy on Jan. 11. The workshop, presented by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, taught attendees composting with food scraps, green waste and livestock manure. In addition, a new solar-powered compost system at the Gilroy High School Future Farmers of America Farm was showcased. Smith is the composting education program coordinator for the UC agriculture division.

By Pamela Kan-Rice
Author - Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach