Big Increase in State Budget for UCANR

Governor Signs ‘Transformational’ Budget for UC ANR Research and Outreach

 

By Pam Kan Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, New and Information Outreach

The state budget signed by Governor Newsom Monday night [July 12] includes a historic increase for the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources. The state restored UC ANR’s budget to pre-COVID levels of FY 2019-20 and provided a 5% increase plus an additional $32 million in ongoing funding, bringing total state support to $107.9 million for the division, which contains the county-based UC Cooperative Extension, Integrated Pest Management, and 4-H Youth Development programs.

“This budget increase is transformational and will allow us to rebuild UC Cooperative Extension’s boots-on-the-ground to help Californians cope with wildfire, drought, and climate adaptation,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources.

Over the past 20 years, state funding for UC ANR decreased by almost 50% (adjusted for inflation), resulting in a significant reduction of UC ANR’s Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists – from 427 positions in 2001 down to only 269 in 2021 – creating vacancies in many critical positions.

“We appreciate UC ANR stakeholders for sounding the alarm,” Humiston said. “And we are immensely grateful to Senator John Laird, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcommittee on Education, for recognizing this critical need and for his leadership and dedication to restoring UC ANR’s budget to bring back Cooperative Extension throughout California.”

With this new funding, UC ANR will begin recruiting for 20 UC Cooperative Extension academic positions and prioritizing many more critical positions for hiring during the next several months.

“As in the past, we will be talking to our community partners and other stakeholders to identify the most pressing needs to prioritize the next round of hiring,” Humiston said. “We must identify positions to address California’s emerging and future needs. While this state budget increase will allow UC ANR to hire more people, we will continue seeking funding from additional sources to expand access to our diverse resources for all Californians.”

To learn more about how UC ANR enhances economic prosperity protects natural resources, develops an inclusive and equitable society, safeguards food, develops the workforce, builds climate resilience, and promotes the health of people and communities in California, see the stories in its 2020 annual report at https://ucanr.edu/sites/UCANR/files/352362.pdf.

2021-07-27T11:22:09-07:00July 27th, 2021|

Jim Costa for Ag Committed Supported

U.S. Citrus Industries Support Congressman Jim Costa for Chairman of the U.S. House Agriculture Committee

 

 In a letter dated November 11, 2020, to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Citrus Mutual (CCM), Florida Citrus Mutual (FCM), and Texas Citrus Mutual (TCM) formally asked that Congressman Jim Costa, D – Fresno, be appointed as the new chair of the House Agriculture Committee.

 

As a farmer himself, Congressman Costa understands the industry’s issues, such as pest and disease, trade, water, and immigration. Notably, Congressman Costa was instrumental in securing federal funding to support research to find a cure for the devastating citrus disease Huanglongbing.

 

Congressman Costa’s track record of support for the citrus industry and specialty crops is indisputable. He has led countless bipartisan efforts on behalf of agriculture and rural America.

 

“The House Agriculture Committee needs a leader who understands its importance not only for our farmers, but for underserved communities, and national security,” says CCM President/CEO Casey Creamer. “Congressman Jim Costa is that leader, and we are proud to offer our strong support.”

 

“U.S. agriculture, especially fruit and vegetable growers, are at a crossroad. Increasing production costs coupled with unregulated imports, place the U.S. grower in a desperate situation. I am confident that if appointed Chair, Congressman Jim Costa will be a leader for agriculture in addressing these and other critical issues that affect growers and rural communities across the country,” said  Michael W. Sparks, CEO of Florida Citrus Mutual.

 

“The agricultural industry within Congressman Jim Costa’s district is very similar to specialty crops, including citrus within Texas, making him well versed in many of the issues that affect our growers,” says Dale Murden, President of Texas Mutual. “Citrus Greening is a major concern for the Texas citrus industry, and we know Congressman Costa understands the issue well, and we are proud to support him.”

 

We trust that Congressman Costa will lead the committee with his years of experience and dedication to agriculture in California and the United States.

2020-11-19T13:45:29-08:00November 19th, 2020|

Annual Alfalfa and Forage Field Day Sept. 19

Mark Your Calendars for the Annual Alfalfa and Forage Field Day

By Mikenzi Meyers, Contributing Editor

The Annual Alfalfa and Forage Field Day is fast approaching, and it’s one you won’t want to miss! The field day will be held on Thursday, September 19th at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, and cover a variety of topics from forages to crops.

Nicholas Clark, certified Crop and Farm Advisor in Agronomy and Nutrient Management for the University of California Cooperative Extension (Kings, Tulare and Fresno), is eager to spread the word and increase attendance for what is sure to be an educational day for all attendees.

“We try to make it a very comprehensive program in terms of covering the bases of different forages that are popular or emerging in popularity in the southern portion of the San Joaquin Valley,” Clark explained.

Although alfalfa and other forages are on the forefront of the event, Clark added that management practices, silage crops, and possibly also sugar beets are up for discussion.

Make sure to mark your calendars for the Annual Alfalfa and Forage Field Day on Thursday, September 19th at the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

2019-07-23T16:59:43-07:00July 23rd, 2019|

Activist Groups Promote Fear on Consumer Food Choices

Activists Driving Consumers to Organic Food Only—Beyond Consumer Affordability

By Safe Fruits and Veggies

Despite recent and repeated calls by scientists and nutritionists to increase efforts to improve consumption, activist groups have created and promoted new webpages and infographics designed to raise fears among consumers about the safety of the more affordable and accessible fruits and vegetables.

These groups continue to ignore peer-reviewed research, which has shown these tactics don’t just negatively impact consumers’ purchasing decisions regarding conventionally grown produce—consumers’ reluctance also includes purchasing of organic produce as well. In other words, the work of these activists isn’t meeting their goal of driving consumers toward organics and maybe driving them away from produce altogether. How crazy is this?

Let’s review just some of the study findings, which have been released during the time these groups chose to create and promote new fear-based content:

“Prescriptions” for healthy foods could save more than $100 billion in healthcare costs. The healthy foods included fruits and veggies plus seafood, whole grains, and plant oils. The study concluded: “These new findings support the concept of ‘Food is Medicine.’”

Eating and drinking better, including increasing consumption of fruits and veggies, could prevent one in five deaths around the world. The study concluded: “Our findings show that suboptimal diet is responsible for more deaths than any other risks globally, including tobacco smoking, highlighting the urgent need for improving human diet across nations.”

Low fruit and veggie consumption resulted in an estimated three million deaths from heart disease or stroke. “Our findings indicate the need for population-based efforts to increase fruit and vegetable consumption throughout the world.” Click here to continue reading and to “like” and share this blog post.

2021-05-12T11:05:02-07:00July 19th, 2019|

UC Davis Offering Beginner Beekeeping Classes

Do You Want to Become a Beekeeper or Learn More About Beekeeping?

News Release

The California Master Beekeeper Program (CAMBP), directed by Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is hosting two short beekeeping classes in early August: one on “Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” and the other, “Working Your Colonies.”

Each will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. The deadline to register is Thursday, Aug. 1.

“These courses are foundational to beekeeping husband excellence,” said Wendy Mather, program manager. “They are great for folks who are thinking about getting bees next season, as well as those who currently have bees and want to ensure they’re doing whatever they can to ensure the success of their hives.”

The classes are not required to become a California Master Beekeeper, but are highly recommended, as “they will help folks prepare to become a science-based beekeeping ambassador,” Mather said. Instructors are Elina Niño and CAMPB educational supervisor Bernardo Niño, a staff research assistant in the Niño lab.

Planning Ahead for Your First Hives
“Planning Ahead for Your First Hives” will take place Saturday, Aug. 3, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what’s necessary to get the colony started and keep it healthy and thriving. They will learn about bee biology, beekeeping equipment, how to install honey bee packages, how to monitor their colonies (that includes inspecting and monitoring for varroa mites) and other challenges with maintaining a healthy colony.

The course is limited to 25 participants. The $105 registration fee covers the cost of course materials (including a hive tool), lunch, and refreshments. Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/572.

 Working Your Colonies
“Working Your Colonies” will take place Sunday, Aug. 4, and will include both lectures and hands-on activities. Participants will learn what is necessary to maintain a healthy colony. Lectures will cover advanced honey bee biology, honey bee integrated pest management, and products of the hive. Participants also will learn about queen wrangling, honey extraction, splitting/combined colonies, and monitoring for varroa mites.

The course is limited to 25 participants per session. The $175 registration fee covers the cost of course materials, lunch, and refreshments. For more information or to register, see https://registration.ucdavis.edu/Item/Details/559.

Participants can bring their bee suit or veil if they have one, or protective gear can be provided. All participants are to wear closed-toed and closed-heel shoes, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt.

The California Master Beekeeping Program uses science-based information to educate stewards and ambassadors for honey bees and beekeeping. For more information, contact Mather at wmather@ucdavis.edu.

2019-07-15T14:19:28-07:00July 15th, 2019|

Four Students Selected to Represent Real California Milk in Asia, Mexico

Student Ambassadors Share California Dairy Message with International Audiences 

News Release

The California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) has selected four students to serve as interns in the second year of the international dairy leadership program. Jessica Brown, Stefani Christieson, KayCee Hartwig-Dittman and Makayla Toste will serve as dairy representatives, working with marketing teams representing CMAB during the summer in Mexico, South Korea and Taiwan.

The interns, selected from students enrolled in agriculture-related programs at colleges and universities throughout the state, were chosen based on academic achievement, connection to the dairy industry, and a willingness to travel abroad and learn more about international dairy sales and marketing as well as a plan to work in the California dairy industry in the future.dairy cattle

Over the six-week period, each intern will spend time with in-country CMAB marketing organizations—Brown in Taiwan, Christieson and Hartwig-Dittman in South Korea and Toste in Mexico—to gain a better understanding of these markets, consumer buying habits, and promotional efforts on behalf of California’s dairy industry.

Brown is currently enrolled at Fresno State, majoring in agriculture business. She was raised on her family’s vineyard in Tracy and has always had a passion for agriculture. Her desire to learn about agriculture outside of the U.S. has provided her with opportunities to study abroad, most recently in Spain. Because of her love of travel and learning about other cultures, Jessica is focusing on international marketing at college, with plans to work in this field of study upon graduation in 2020. Brown is a member of the agriculture marketing team at Fresno State and will be working with Steven Chu and Associates in Taipei, Taiwan.

Christieson is a recent graduate of the UC Davis, where she received her B.S. in Political Science and minors in economics and French. She will be attending graduate school in the fall at Sciences Po in Paris, France, for a year and then will complete the program at Fudan University in Shanghai, China in year two. Christieson plans to complete her master’s degree in international economic policy and pursue a career as agriculture economic policy advisor for an agriculture export market organization to help California farmers continue to expand into emerging and established markets overseas. Christieson will be working with Sohn’s Market Makers, Ltd. in S. Korea.

Hartwig-Dittman is currently enrolled at Fresno State, where she is majoring in dairy science and is employed at the dairy unit on campus. She has a culinary arts degree from Diablo Valley Community College and has experience working in the restaurant industry in California. Her love of travel and food has allowed her to travel outside of the U.S., where she has learned to use dairy products in new and creative ways with hopes to find innovative ways to introduce dairy to consumers around the world. Hartwig-Dittman will also be working with Sohn’s Market Makers, Ltd. in South Korea.

 Toste, a second-generation dairy farmer from Newman, received her B.S. degree in Animal Science with an emphasis in dairy science. During her last year at Fresno State, Toste served as the assistant herdsman for the Fresno State dairy unit, where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the dairy and an officer for the Fresno State Dairy Club. After the internship, she plans to work in the California dairy industry in promotion and marketing to help keep the industry viable for the next generation of farmers. Toste will serve as an intern with the team at Imalinx in Cuernavaca, Mexico.

“California accounts for more than 33 percent of all U.S. dairy exports so international trade is essential for our continued growth. Over the last decade, the CMAB has worked closely with partners in Asia and Mexico to develop markets for California dairy products. This program is focused on providing insight into international dairy marketing for future leaders like Jessica, Stefani, KayCee, and Makayla, who will work in the dairy business and one day serve on dairy industry boards and lead industry groups,” said Glenn Millar, Director of International Business Development for the CMAB.

The goal of the CMAB International Internship program is to provide agriculture/dairy college students an opportunity to learn about dairy foods and marketing in the international marketplace. The program looks to develop leaders who will serve on dairy industry boards and work in dairy foods production, processing, or sales/marketing.

2021-05-12T11:17:08-07:00July 12th, 2019|

California Grape Growers Award Scholarships

Table Grape Growers Help Children of Field Workers

News Release

California’s table grape growers recently awarded scholarships to seven students in grape growing regions of the state. All recipients will be attending California universities or vocational schools.

Four field worker scholarships were awarded: one $3,500, two-year award for study at a vocational school and three $20,000, four-year awards for study at a California university. Three $20,000, four-year agricultural scholarships for study at a California university were also awarded.

 2019 scholarship recipients: $20,000 Four-year Field Worker Scholarships

Mr. Alex Aguilar is a graduate of Shafter High School. He graduated with a 4.3-grade point average and was the associated student body president as well as the all-state, small-school football player of the year. Alex plans to attend San Diego State University, where he will major in mechanical engineering with the goal of becoming an engineer.

Alex Aguilar

Ms. Julissa Elizondo is a graduate of Cesar E. Chavez High School in Delano, where she graduated with a grade point average of over 4.0. Julissa was a member of the superintendent’s honor roll and held an associated student body executive position. She plans to attend UC Davis to major in cell biology with the career goal of becoming an OB/GYN.

Julissa Ruby Elizondo

Mr. Diego Garcia is a graduate of Harmony Magnet Academy High School in Strathmore. He is a California Scholastic Federation member as well as an adult literacy volunteer. Diego graduated with a 4.17 grade point average, and his SAT score placed him in the 89th percentile nationally. He plans to attend UC Davis, where he will major in neurobiology, physiology, and behavior with the goal of becoming a surgeon.

Diego Garcia

$3,500 Two-year Field Worker Scholarship

Ms. Stephanie Torres is a graduate of Porterville High School. Stephanie plans to attend the Clovis Culinary Arts Academy and will pursue a career as a pastry chef. Stephanie graduated with a 3.3-grade point average.

Stephanie Alejandra Ramos Torres

$20,000 Four-year Agricultural Scholarships

Mr. Juan Espinoza is a graduate of Shafter High School, where he held a 4.3-grade point average. He is a four-year member of FFA, a member of the football team and the soccer team’s defensive player of the year. Juan plans to attend CSU Bakersfield, where he will major in agricultural engineering with a goal of mechanizing the table grape harvest.

Juan Nieto Espinoza

Mr. Nicholas Patton is a graduate of Golden West High School in Visalia, where he maintained a 4.0 grade point average. Nicholas was actively involved in FFA and the MVP of the varsity water polo team. He plans to attend UC Davis to major in biotechnology, followed by the pursuit of a master’s degree in biological engineering at Cornell University. Nicholas’ final goal is to develop new food technologies.

Nicholas Patton

Mr. Zachary Wilson is a graduate of Kingsburg High School with a 3.95 grade point average. He was a four-year honor roll student and associated student body vice president, as well as a member of Future Farmers of America (FFA), where he won numerous awards. Zachary plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, to major in both agricultural sciences and agricultural business with the career goal of owning an agricultural business.

Zachary Wilson

Since 1985, the California Table Grape Commission (commission) has awarded scholarships to children of table grape field workers.

More than 130 students have received scholarships to attend vocational schools, community colleges, and California universities. In 2012, the commission created a new scholarship program, one designed to encourage those who want to study and work in the agriculture industry with an emphasis in the table grape industry.

To date, the program has helped 27 students attend four-year California universities.

2019-07-09T15:04:16-07:00July 9th, 2019|

Westlands Water District Announces Scholarship Winners

Westlands Water District Announces Recipients of the Six West Side Scholarships

News Release

Westlands Water District awarded scholarships to six high school seniors in recognition of the students’ exceptional academic achievement. Each recipient, all of whom are from west side communities, will receive $1,000 towards their community college or university expenses. Applicants were judged on their academic performance, school activities, and community leadership, and each applicant submitted an essay on an agricultural-related topic.

The District congratulates the following 2019 scholarships winners:

Joe Cardiel III, a senior at Firebaugh High School. Cardiel plans to attend Fresno State, where he will major in Agriculture Education, with plans to pursue a career as an agricultural educator.

Cardiel is a varsity basketball and varsity baseball player and FFA chapter secretary. As a Firebaugh high school student, Cardiel was honored with the Eagle Baseball award, FFA State Degree, and FFA Outstanding senior.

Marvin Cornejo, a senior at Mendota High School. Cornejo is an honors student who plans to attend Fresno State to pursue a degree in Chemistry. Following college, Cornejo aspires to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

Cornejo is a Mendota School Board student representative; a West Side Youth volunteer; an avid athlete involved in track &field, cross country wrestling and soccer; and an FFA Greenhand and Chapter degree holder.

Myriam Castro, a senior at Tranquility High School. Castro will graduate in the top five of her class. Castro plans to attend Fresno State, where she will major in Criminology.

During her time at Tranquility High School, Castro was involved in the Honor Guard and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) and obtained the ROP Criminal Justice certificate of completion and the State Seal of Biliteracy.

Peter Hawken, a senior at Lemoore High School. Hawken was honored as the Chemistry Student of the Year. Following graduation, Hawken will attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he will major in Environmental Science. With his degree, Hawken aims to pursue a career as an environmental and agricultural irrigation specialist.

Hawken is the Varsity Soccer team captain, both the soccer and tennis club president and is involved in Jesus Club and a California Scholarship Federation life member.

Jazmin A. Murillo, a senior at Coalinga High School. Murillo plans to attend West Hills College Coalinga, where she will major in Political Science and film. Following college, Murillo plans to pursue a career as a paralegal and as a film director.

Murillo is the editor-in-chief of the Coalinga High School Magazine, President of the After School Program Leadership Club and VIDA club, and was on the Principal’s Honor Roll from 2015 to 2019. Murillo has also been honored with the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award, first place in the Chevron Robotics Challenge and as a National Hispanic Scholar.

Emma Andrade, a senior at Riverdale High School. Andrade is an honor roll student who plans to attend Fresno State, where she will major in Physics and plans to pursue a career as an experimental physicist.

Andrade plays varsity basketball and tennis and has been involved with Rural Route 4-H since 2010, continually holding leadership positions, such as Corresponding Secretary and Camp Director. Andrade has been honored with the Academic All-League Team and Letter, County Heartbeat Artistry Award and All-League First Team Varsity Tennis.

Westlands is honored to recognize and assist these outstanding students; as reiterated by Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands, “these scholarships represent a small gesture of thanks and support to the communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that make our region productive and vibrant. Our hope is that these students will continue to contribute to their communities and make them even better for future generations.”

2019-06-27T17:27:38-07:00June 27th, 2019|

FruitsAndVeggies.org Highlights How to Boost Health

FruitsAndVeggies.org Has Been Updated

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Eating more fruits and vegetables is important. California Ag Today recently spoke with Teresa Thorne executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, based in Watsonville She expressed the need to eat more fruits and vegetables and discussed how the website FruitsAndVeggies.org has been updated.

“Whether you choose organic or conventional, choose either with confidence,” Thorne said.

Both organic and conventional fruits and vegetables are safe.

“Experts everywhere agree that we should buy even more,” Thorne said.

Teresa Thorne

“Our website was getting a little bit old and rickety,” she explained.

The website, FruitsAndVeggies.org, was launched back in 2010. New sections on the website help readers understand the necessity of eating more fruits and vegetables.

“These new sections are kind of a fun take on our more traditional nutrition information,” Thorne said.

They also have fun facts such as how eating a lot of strawberries can help whiten teeth. And eating leafy Greens like spinach can lead to healthier hair.

“Things along those lines are just kind of fun little tidbits,” Thorne said.

“It is proven that consuming more foods and vegetables improve your mood, they’re great for you and you can be happier too if you eat more,” Thorne said.

The facts section also clarifies safety and prevention information.

“We also have another section about produce safety,” she said.

This was based on a popular blog that was published approximately one year ago. The information was consolidated it into one quick and easy section for viewers to easily read some interesting facts.

“One being that if we increased our serving by one serving of a fruit and vegetable in a day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually,” Thorne said.

2019-06-06T15:34:47-07:00June 6th, 2019|

The Key to Healthy Living

Eat Your Fruits and Vegetables with Dr. Joan Salge Blake

By Mikenzi Meyers, Associate Editor

“Eat your fruits and vegetables!” is a phrase all too often heard by children as their parents’ attempt to instill healthy living and the importance of a balanced diet from a young age. However, as they mature, it becomes just as important to make sure they stay true to the mantra. Dr. Joan Salge Blake—clinical associate professor at Boston University’s Department of Health Sciences program, registered dietitian, published author, and host of the health and wellness podcast “Spot On!”—is continuing to advocate for this message in an era surrounded by food trends and alternatives.

Joan Salge Blake

“The recommendation is to have a minimum of two-and-a-half cups of vegetables a day and two cups of fruit a day for a combination of four-and-a-half cups … and [people] are not meeting those minimum requirements,” Blake said.

The biggest reason that most miss their opportunity to complete their daily balanced diet is due to their meal group priorities throughout the day. According to Blake, “The issue is that a lot of people wait until nighttime, and if you do that, it’s going to be really hard for you to have two and a half cups of vegetables at dinner … so I think that people just forget that we need to incorporate these throughout the day.”

Aside from vegetables, she stresses the importance of incorporating all five food groups throughout your day. “What we want to do is make sure that the diet is balanced,” Blake explained. “What you don’t want to do is just eat fruits and vegetables all day long, because then you don’t have a balanced diet. Ensuring that you receive protein or calcium from dairy products is key to maintaining a diet that is balanced and proportional.”

For more science-based, useful information about health and wellness, join the already 9,000 listeners of Blake’s podcast “Spot On!”

2019-05-31T16:34:45-07:00May 31st, 2019|
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