UCANR’s Deanne Meyer Honored

Meyer receives Bradford-Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award

By Pam Kan-Rice, UCANR Assistant Director, News and Information Outreach

Deanne Meyer, UC Cooperative Extension Livestock Waste Management Specialist, is this year’s recipient of the Eric Bradford & Charlie Rominger Agricultural Sustainability Leadership Award, given by the Agricultural Sustainability Institute (ASI) at UC Davis. 

Meyer is being honored for her leadership in substantially improving the sustainability of California’s dairy industry through her research and outreach.

The Bradford-Rominger award recognizes and honors individuals who exhibit the leadership, work ethic and integrity epitomized by the late Eric Bradford, a livestock geneticist who gave 50 years of service to UC Davis, and the late Charlie Rominger, a fifth-generation Yolo County farmer and land preservationist. 

Meyer has directed the environmental stewardship efforts of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP)—a voluntary partnership between the dairy industry, government and academia—since the program’s inception in 1996. 

Meyer’s dedication to build a bridge between industry and regulatory agencies has paid dividends for California’s air and water quality. With Meyer’s leadership, more than 700 dairy farms have completed an on-site, third-party evaluation of their facility’s manure management. The program has been so successful that it received California’s highest environmental honor, the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award, in 2007. 

Reflecting on Meyer’s work, Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources, said, “Serving as chair of California’s Water Quality Task Force in the mid-1990s, I had a front row seat to the challenges Deanne faced as she organized CDQAP and brought many unlikely allies to the table. The many successes of that program is a testament to her skills as both a scientist and a diplomat.”

Beyond Meyer’s work with CDQAP, her research in groundwater salinity has provided farmers, agency staff and other concerned stakeholders with unbiased information presented with an understanding of agricultural realities.

“Her efforts, leadership, and dedication are so valued by all the diverse sectors she works across,” said Anita Oberbauer, professor and dean for Agricultural Sciences at UC Davis. “By working closely with regulatory agencies and farmers, she ensures our state’s livestock and dairy producers have the tools that they need to meet the environmental challenges.” 

Learn more about the Bradford-Rominger award on the Agricultural Sustainability Institute website at https://asi.ucdavis.edu/about/awards-and-scholarships/bradford-rominger-award

Past winners of the Bradford-Rominger award include UC Cooperative Extension advisors Rachael Long, Rachel Surls and David Lewis, Sustainable Conservation’s Director of Resources Daniel Mountjoy, UCCE advisor Rose Hayden-Smith, UCCE specialist Ken Tate, UCCE advisor Mary Bianchi, natural resource conservation consultant Kelly Garbach and UC Davis lecturer emeritus Isao Fujimoto. 

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00June 15th, 2020|

Ranchers Face Slowdown in Moving Market Ready Food

Ranchers Need Processing Capacity as Pastures Dry


By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network of the West

Each week during the pandemic, we have been sharing a few updates on how the agriculture industry is being affected around the state.

This would typically be a prime marketing time for California cattle ranchers, but pandemic-related slowdowns at meat processing plants have created a bottleneck in the beef market. Ranchers say the situation is forcing them into tough decisions about their market-ready animals. One rancher describes the situation as a waiting game, as ranchers monitor cattle markets and the status of grass on drying pastures.

People who need food assistance during the pandemic have started receiving California-grown food through a new federal program. The Farmers to Families Food Box program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture buys fresh produce, meats, and dairy products to be delivered to food banks and other nonprofits. The program intends to help both people in need and some of the farmers, ranchers, and food distributors who lost business due to stay-at-home protocols.

Rural sections of the University of California, Davis, campus are attracting more visitors, as people look for new outdoor recreation spots during the pandemic. But the university says the additional foot and vehicle traffic threatens to harm habitat and agricultural research. Officials say increased dog walking or jogger activity could unknowingly disrupt sensitive research projects and harm farm animals housed on the Davis campus.

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00June 11th, 2020|

Bridging the Gap from Farm to Table


FFA Reporter Hopes to Bridge the Gap from Farm to Table


By Tim Hammerich, with the Ag Information Network of the West

Taylor Sollecito is California FFA’s State Reporter elected about a month ago. She’s from Salinas FFA, but her love of agriculture stems from her time at a family farm in Fresno County.

“My grandfather and my mom’s whole family has a family farming operation in Fresno County. So I really derived a lot of my passion for agriculture and my connection to it from my grandfather and that side of the family. Even just getting to see their hard work and dedication on the operation, just when I would go visit them in the winter and the summer. truly just inspired me and sparked that interest in my mind,” said Sollecito.

And then coming to high school, I really entered with the mindset of, I just want to raise and show livestock and that’s all I’m ever going to do at FFA. But now coming to my senior year, I’ve found that I really have an interest in bridging that gap between production agriculture and the general community around us. Because there is a general disconnect that I can see between my peers and the community that surrounds me. And those that are producing the livestock and the produce, and those products that are coming from farm to table,” Sollecito noted.

Taylor hopes to bridge that disconnect this year as she travels the state serving 10s of thousands of California FFA members. After her year she plans to move closer to that extended family to attend Fresno State University.

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00June 9th, 2020|

Livestock Carriers Get Some Flexibility in Service Rule

U.S. Transportation Dept. Updates Final Hours of Service Rule


By Russell Nemetz, with the Ag Information Network of The West

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its final rule updating the “Hours of Service” rules designed to increase safety on America’s roads. The department updated multiple existing regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers.

“America’s truckers are doing a heroic job of keeping our supply chains open during this unprecedented time,” says Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao (Chow). “These rules will help give them greater flexibility to keep America moving.”

The FMCSA says the changes were made based on thousands of comments they received from Americans across the country. There are four key changes to the existing hours of service rules, all of which do not increase driving time and will continue to prevent operators from driving for more than eight consecutive hours without at least a 30-minute break. The agency says the trucking industry is a “key component” of the national economy, employing more than seven million people and moving 70 percent of the nation’s domestic freight.

The new hours of service rule will be implemented 120 days after publication in the federal register.

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00June 1st, 2020|

Dairy Farmers Need More Help

Resources from SBA Not enough to Meet Dairy Demand

By Rich Worthington, with the AgInformation Network of the West

Current federal aid programs available to dairy farmers are considered good first steps in helping them navigate the ongoing pandemic and related demand issues, but more will be needed, according to the National Milk Producers Federation.

Chris Galen with the National Milk Producers Federation says the resources provided to the Small Business Administration are not enough to meet demand.

“It looks like that there’s been so much demand on lenders and the SBA that either the websites have crashed, or banks don’t have access to the money because it’s already gone. So, that’s certainly very frustration for a lot of groups like ours that worked very hard to get the money initially a few weeks ago, and then to get this second supplement of money here this past week. But, what I think it illustrates is that there’s a lot of government programs out there to help various entities in the business community, including agriculture, and right now the demands for that, whether it’s the PPP or USDA assistance, are much greater than what the supply of money is.”

“We’re looking at disastrously low prices here this spring for dairy farmers. And unfortunately, the payment formula that USDA has is more weighted towards the first few months of this year, not towards the spring and summer, when we know that farm level milk prices will be at their worst.”

Resources for dairy farmers to learn more about aid programs are available online at www.nmpf.org.

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00May 13th, 2020|

California Cattle Leaders Stay Strong During Pandemic

Cattle Leaders Launch Resilience 2020 Campaign

By Tim Hammerich with the Ag Information Network

In the face of a food system that is under tremendous pressure, the California Cattle Council, in conjunction with the California Cattlemen’s Association, launched a Resilience 2020 Campaign.

Dave Daley is a Northern California Cattle Rancher and Chair of the California Cattle Council. “We just need people to understand how committed we are to continue to do what we’ve done, forever. We’re pretty sustainable. We’re very resilient. We’re in this for the long haul, just like Californians are. And the key there is that we actually continue to produce the food in a safe and wholesome manner, nutritious and environmentally sound. So we’re really proud of what we do. It’s important for California to know that we aren’t going anywhere.”

The combined effort seeks to reassure consumers that California ranchers are well-positioned to produce an ample supply of the safest, most sustainable beef anywhere in the world.

“The challenge we have right now is the processing piece. It’s not raising the beef, it’s getting it processed into market. But it’s there; no need to hoard. There’s beef available and it’s going to continue to move through the system and the pipeline. It’s just a very unusual time. To try and re-tool that on the fly, we’re facing a lot of unknowns is the best way to put it. But the key to the campaign is to recognize we’re in this together, we respect what Californians are dealing with it. We’re going to work with it, we’ll come through it on the other end,” said Daley

Visit www.calcattlemen.org/resilience for more information.

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00May 8th, 2020|

Helping Dairy Operators Protect Groundwater

UCCE Advisor Helps Dairy Operators Strike a Delicate Balance to Protect Groundwater


By Jeannnette Warnert, Communications Specialist, UCANR

UC Cooperative Extension advisor Nick Clark is helping farmers in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties.

Over the last 20 years, UC research has shown that dairies in the San Joaquin and Sacramento valleys are potentially major contributors of nitrate and salts in groundwater. To maintain the quality of this irreplaceable natural resource, the California Water Resources Control Board has ramped up regulations to ensure that diary manure and wastewater application isn’t contaminating the aquifer.

UC Cooperative Extension advisor Nick Clark is helping farmers in Fresno, Kings and Tulare counties work through the process and continue producing crops sustainably now and in the future. He was hired in 2015 as the agronomy and nutrient management advisor, a title that reflects the importance of understanding the nutrient cycle and extending information to producers. Three other UCCE advisors are also focused on nutrient management.

Clark is working with dairy farmers who are producing crops to feed their herds, as well as farmers who are producing agronomic crops – such as silage corn, forage sorghum, wheat, triticale, alfalfa, rye and oats – to sell to dairies.

“These farmers operate under the microscope of several agencies for complying with environmental regulations and ordinances,” Clark said. Clark informs growers about the fate of nutrients in plants and soil and rules in place to protect water quality, helping them stay in compliance with government regulations. “Water quality regulations are becoming more strict, more complex and more specific.”

At the same time, some of the finer details about nutrient availability are not yet well understood.

Working closely with Luhdorff and Scalmanini Consulting Engineers, a groundwater engineering and consulting firm, Clark and colleagues have set up research trials on four commercial dairies in the San Joaquin Valley and one semi-research dairy farm to replicate a variety of treatments.

“The idea is to take a much closer look at nitrogen cycling in soil and plants to develop precise data about when plant development allows the crop to take up nitrogen,” Clark said. “The nitrogen application needs to be made so it is in the form plants need when the plants can use it. Otherwise, there is an increased chance it can percolate below the root zone and, eventually, into groundwater.”

Nutrient cycling involves advanced science. The majority of nitrogen content of manure is bound up in an organic molecule, which is not plant available. Plants only take up mineral forms of nitrogen – ammonium or nitrate. When the manure is in the soil, its chemistry changes. Timing by which this happens, Clark said, is extremely variable. Composition of manure, air and soil temperature, soil moisture, and soil microbiota all come into play.

“The research is trying to elicit information for Central Valley dairy farmers as to the best time, best rate and methods of application in order to fertilize crops without losing nitrogen to the groundwater,” Clark said.

Another factor that dairy farmers will have to consider is the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The law, passed by the California Legislature during the 2011-2016 drought, creates local agencies to monitor groundwater extraction and bring that into balance with groundwater replenishment.

Diary operators are facing these new groundwater quality and quantity regulations at the same time new pressures from climate change are impacting their operations. Clark and his colleagues are also addressing climate change mitigation, adaption and resilience.

“We are looking into alternative feed crops for dairies that might help reduce the amount of irrigation water required to grow crops without sacrificing animal nutrition and milk yield,” Clark said.

One promising option is sorghum. UC Cooperative Extension scientists Jennifer Heguy, Jeffery Dahlberg and Deanne Meyer have been collecting data for a number of years on the crop’s nutritional value and impact on milk yield. Another potential feed crop is climate-resilient sugar beets.

“Sugar beets have been used in other parts of the United States and the world as cattle feed, but not as much in the San Joaquin Valley,” Clark said.

He is working with UC Cooperative Extension agronomy specialist Steven Kaffka and UCCE animal science specialist Peter Robinson to refine knowledge about sugar beet production under Central California conditions.

“Sugar beets grow readily in the winter in California, so we can take advantage of winter rainfall and a low irrigation requirement. That may help mitigate climate change impacts,” Clark said.

Climate change mitigation may also be achieved on dairy farms by modifying manure application timing and procedure. Applications of manure to cropland has an impact on emission of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Reducing the amount of manure applications on cropland and incorporating manure solids into the soil may be ways for dairy farmers to reduce their facilities’ greenhouse gas emissions.

“We need to know a whole lot more to help farmers to stay in compliance and to deal with farming under new constraints,” Clark said. “Our research objectives are never static, because everything is shifting so quickly.”

2021-05-12T11:17:07-07:00April 14th, 2020|

Plant-Based–A New Consumer Buzzword

Animal Ag Wants to Share the Plant-Based Plate

By David Sparks, with AgInfo.net
The now-often used terms that you hear at such places as Whole Foods, Burger King and even McDonald’s “plant-based” seems to exclude meat, poultry, milk and eggs – but that’s not the whole story.
Registered dietitians Cara Harbstreet, Street Smart Nutrition; Nicole Rodriguez, Enjoy Food, Enjoy Life and Alison Webster, International Food Information Council, at the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s 2020 Stakeholders Summit for a candid conversation about the latest consumer buzzwords.

Connecting with consumers can start with conversations that are more inclusive and less divisive. This panel will highlight best practices from producers in the field and strategies to partner with registered dietitians and other influencers in the food space. Summit attendees will leave this panel empowered to share their story of positively impacting consumer health and invite those who are hungry to learn more into the conversation.

The Alliance’s annual Summit brings together thought leaders in the industry to discuss hot-button issues and out-of-the-box ideas to connect everyone along the food chain, engage influencers and protect the future of animal agriculture. The 2020 event, themed “Primed & Prepared,” is set for May 7-8 at the Renaissance Arlington Capital View Hotel in Arlington, Va.

Harbstreet, Rodriguez and Webster will each bring a unique perspective to this panel, titled “Conversations that Cultivate: Staking Your Claim on the Plant-Based Plate.” The panel will be moderated by National Chicken Council’s Tom Super.

With sessions covering sustainability, animal welfare, influencer engagement, preparing for animal rights activist campaigns and other hot topics, attendees will leave the 2020 Summit primed and prepared with the tools they need to take action and be part of any and all conversations that could impact the future of animal agriculture and their business. Early registration discounts are available through April 3. To register, visit summit.animalagalliance.org.

“The animal agriculture community already understands the importance of delivering facts that are true to the science and safety of food production – now it’s time to elevate our messages to effectively showcase our products as an integral part of a ‘plant-based’ diet,” said Kay Johnson Smith, Alliance president and CEO. “This panel of rock star dietitians will leave 2020 Summit attendees primed and prepared to have conversations that cultivate trust with consumers, customers and influencers.”

Be sure to check the Summit website for the most up-to-date Summit information and the full agenda. You can also follow the hashtags #AAA20 and #PrimedAndPrepared for periodic updates about the event. For general questions about the Summit please contact summit@animalagalliance.org or call (703) 562-5160.

PREVIOUS REPORTTaxes are coming
2021-05-12T11:17:08-07:00March 12th, 2020|

APHIS Bird Health Awareness Week Coming

Help APHIS Celebrate Bird Health Awareness Week by Joining a Free Webinar on February 27

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) invites you to join poultry health experts for a webinar on Thursday, February 27. We’ll be celebrating Bird Health Awareness Week by helping anyone who owns or handles poultry learn about the importance of biosecurity and ways to prevent the spread of infectious poultry diseases.

Whether you are just starting out raising poultry or have years of experience, practicing good biosecurity is the best way to keep flocks disease free. The “Defend Your Flock from Poultry Disease: Know the Signs and How to Respond” webinar will take place on Thursday, February 27 from 2:30-3:30 PM EST. Register for this FREE webinar today at bit.ly/APHISWebinar.

If you don’t already follow APHIS’ Defend the Flock campaign on social media, check out our Twitter and Facebook during Bird Health Awareness Week (February 24-28) to get daily tips and resources you can use to protect your flock’s health.

2021-05-12T11:17:08-07:00February 17th, 2020|

Act Now to Help Pass the USMCA

House to Take First Step Towards Full Ratification of USMCA

Provided by California Farm Bureau Federation

This Thursday, the House will take the first step towards full ratification of the renegotiated NAFTA known as the “US-Mexico-Canada Agreement” (USMCA). California agriculture exports $6.6 billion in goods to Canada and Mexico and supports more than 56,000 jobs.
Since NAFTA was implemented, U.S. agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico quadrupled from $8.9 billion in 1993 to $39 billion in 2017. After President Trump renegotiated NAFTA, the International Trade Commission determined that the USMCA would have a positive impact on the U.S. economy and a positive impact on U.S. agriculture. An additional $2.2 billion in exports is expected once this agreement is ratified.
Congress must pass USMCA to preserve the proven successes of NAFTA while enjoying greater access to dairy, chicken, and eggs. The agreement has positive updates for fruit exports, improvements in biotechnology, protected geographical indications, and strengthened sanitary/phytosanitary measures.
All in all, the USMCA is needed to bring more stability to the volatile trade market. Please reach out today to your U.S. Representative to urge their YES vote on this important agreement.

Click Here: ACT NOW for USMCA House Passage

2019-12-25T14:06:59-08:00December 18th, 2019|
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