Location! Location! Location!

UC ANR Research and Extension Centers Strategically Located

By Charmayne Hefly, Assistant Editor, California Ag Today

Bill Frost is the director of the University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ Research and Extension Center System that has nine different research and extension centers located throughout the state.

UC ANR Research and Extension Center System
UC ANR Research and Extension Center System

Describing the strategy in their geographic placement, Frost said, “We have located them in different growing zones, climates and environments. We have chosen everything from the desert region in El Centro, to cropland here in Kearney, to livestock grazing in both our Hopland and Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Centers, all the way up to Intermountain in Tulelake, where we research potatoes, garlic and crops that can be grown in that fairly short growing season.”

The goal, according to Frost, is to solve local issues from a local or regional perspective. “Each one of our centers has different environments, crops and pest issues to address,” he explained. “These diverse locations are critically important to us because we can do localized, applied research and get useful information out to people, whether they are homeowners in their gardens or growers managing a thousand acres of a crop.”

Frost noted the UCANR Research and Extension Center System has been actively seeking new personnel to better meet the needs of growers. “Just in the last four years,” he said, “we’ve hired almost one hundred new cooperative extension advisors and specialists around the state—many of whom are housed here at the Kearney Research and Extension Center. They are also housed on UC campuses and in our county Cooperative Extension offices.”

Frost commented, “We continue to be relevant. We continue to do cutting-edge applied research. Our programs provide information to everyone; from our youth development program in 4-H and our nutrition education, to master gardener programs that help homeowners with pest problems and water management.”

“And of course, we serve the agricultural community. We have a lot of good research going on and we’re generating lot of good information in commodity production, pest management and water management,” Frost said.

The nine UC ANR Research and Extension Stations are:

Featured Photo: UC ANR

Imperial County Breaks Ag Production Record in 2013

The big Imperial County Region had a record year of Ag production value in 2013 of more than 2 billion dollars.

“It’s the first time that we ever hit the 2 billion dollar mark. We hit 2.158 billion dollars this year in production value,” said Linsey Dale, Executive Director of the Imperial County Farm Bureau.  Dale is based in El Centro—the county seat of Imperial County.

“We had a bump in price of cattle last year, we had a bump in the price of some of our forage crops last year, and our onion market went up a bit, broccoli market went up a bit, so there were several different crops that had an increase in price in 2013 over 2012,” said Dale.

Dale says that agriculture drives the economy in Imperial County. “We are the single biggest private employer in Imperial County, agriculture is. It has been since day one and will continue to be. If we lose agriculture here in Imperial county we lost Imperial Valley. We have thousands and thousands of jobs in farm services providers and right in production agriculture, its a tremendous impact,” said Dale.

Dale noted that Imperial County, through the Imperial Irrigation District, has some of the strongest water rights in the state. “We do have a very strong water rights. Water is a key issue for us here, we have very little rainfall, less than 2 inches per year. All of our water comes from the Colorado river, so with drought conditions here in California currently, areas are looking at us to produce that the fruits and vegetables need for the nation, especially for the winter months,” Dale said.

“We produce crops 365 days a year, some of our fields actually have 3 crop rotations. We get cuttings on alfalfa year-round, and again we have that strong water right that is necessary to be able to grow these crops,” said Dale.