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The Citrus Research Board and UC create a $1 million endowment for citrus research

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The Citrus Research Board and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources have established a $1 million endowment to fund the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. The endowed researcher will provide a UC Cooperative Extension scientist a dedicated source of funds to support scholarly activities focused on the long-term sustainability of the citrus industry.

“I wish to thank the Citrus Research Board for establishing the Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection at LREC endowment,” said UC ANR vice president Glenda Humiston. “This gift, coupled with the $500,000 match from the UC Office of the President, will help to ensure the long-term success of exemplary research focused on the California citrus industry.”

UC President Janet Napolitano provided half the funds for the endowed researcher; the CRB donated the other half.

“We are gratified that President Napolitano has selected the CRB for this prestigious match program,” said CRB Chairman Dan Dreyer. “It will be invaluable in helping us to pursue critical research that will yield beneficial findings to support the sustainability of the California citrus industry.”

CRB chairman Dave Dreyer presents a giant check to UC Agriculture and Natural Resources representatives, left to right, LREC director Beth Grafton-Cardwell, associate vice president Tu Tran, UC ANR director of major gifts Greg Gibbs, and UCCE plant pathology specialist Georgios Vidalakis.

The new endowment supports the UC Citrus Clonal Protection Program, which distributes pathogen-tested, true-to-type citrus budwood to nurseries, farmers and the public to propagate citrus trees for commercial and personal use. The CCPP maintains blocks of trees that serve as the primary source of budwood for all important fruit and rootstock varieties for California's citrus industry and researchers.

The CCPP is a cooperative program between UC ANR, CRB, the California Citrus Nursery Board and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. CCPP director Georgios Vidalakis, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in plant pathology at UC Riverside, shared his appreciation for the efforts that led to the creation of the new endowed researcher position.

“My thanks to the citrus growers for their decades-long support, especially the members of the CCPP committee of the CRB for their vision, and UC's Greg Gibbs for coordinating all of the efforts,” he said. Vidalakis also praised Lindcove director Elizabeth Grafton-Cardwell “for making the case to our growers about the importance of this endowment and for making plans to house the UC ANR endowment at the LREC.”

A selection committee will award the endowment to a distinguished UC ANR academic. An annual payout will be used to provide salary, graduate student and/or program support. The researcher will be named for a five-year term. At the end of that period, the appointment will be reviewed and either renewed or taken back to a selection committee to choose another UC ANR academic.

“I would like to thank the CRB for this generous gift and their continued support of our research for CCPP at the LREC,” said UC ANR Director of Major Gifts Greg Gibbs.

The CRB administers the California Citrus Research Program, the grower-funded and grower-directed program established in 1968 under the California Marketing Act as the mechanism enabling the state's citrus producers to sponsor and support needed research. More information about the Citrus Research Board may be found at www.citrusresearch.org.

The Presidential Researcher for Sustainable Citrus Clonal Protection is the fifth $1 million UC ANR endowment to support California agriculture. The other endowments are:

Posted on Monday, October 22, 2018 at 2:24 PM

Livestock owners asked to weigh in on fire impact

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UC researchers aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems.
Preparing a farm for wildfire is more complicated when it involves protecting live animals. To assess the impact of wildfire on livestock production, University of California researchers are asking livestock producers to participate in a survey. 
 
People raising cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, swine, horses, llamas, alpacas, aquaculture species or other production-oriented animals in California who have experienced at least one wildfire on their property within the last 10 years are asked to participate in the FIRE survey.

“We will aim to quantify the impact of wildfires in different livestock production systems,” said Beatriz Martínez López, director of the Center for Animal Disease Modeling and Surveillance in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “The idea is also to create a risk map showing areas more likely to experience wildfires with high economic impact in California. 

“This economic and risk assessment, to the best of our knowledge, has not been done and we hope to identify potential actions that ranchers can take to reduce or mitigate their losses if their property is hit by wildfire.”

Wildfire burns rangeland in Tehama County. “We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero. Photo by Josh Davy.

Martínez López, who is also an associate professor in the Department of Medicine & Epidemiology at UC Davis, is teaming up with UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisors and wildfire specialists around the state to conduct the study. 

“Right now, we have no good estimate of the real cost of wildfire to livestock producers in California,” said Rebecca Ozeran, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Fresno and Madera counties. “Existing UCCE forage loss worksheets cannot account for the many other ways that wildfire affects livestock farms and ranches. As such, we need producers' input to help us calculate the range of immediate and long-term costs of wildfire.” 

Stephanie Larson, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and range management advisor for Sonoma and Marin counties, agreed, saying, “The more producers who participate, the more accurate and useful our results will be.”

“We hope the survey results will be used by producers across the state to prepare for wildfire,” said Matthew Shapero, UC Cooperative Extension livestock and natural resources advisor for Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, “And by federal and private agencies to better allocate funds for postfire programs available to livestock producers.”

Sheep were moved to safety before the River Fire burned two-thirds of pasture land at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center.

The survey is online at http://bit.ly/FIREsurvey. It takes 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the number of properties the participant has that have been affected by wildfire.

“Survey answers are completely confidential and the results will be released only as summaries in which no individual's answers can be identified,” said Martínez López. “This survey will provide critical information to create the foundation for future fire economic assessments and management decisions.” 

Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2018 at 1:25 PM

Federal officials are reducing the wild horse herd in Modoc County

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Officials with the Modoc National Forest are rounding up 1,000 wild horses on federal lands and putting them up for sale and adoption, reported Christina Maxouris and Brandon Griggs on CNN.com

About 4,000 wild horses live on Devil's Garden Plateau, a protected territory inside Modoc National Forest near the Oregon border. It's home to the largest herd of wild horses in the country managed by the U.S. Forest Service.

"With a population growth rate of 20-25 percent, 800-1,000 wild horses will be born on the Devil's Garden this year, making these small removals negligible," said Laura Snell, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Modoc County.

Snell's research on wild horses at Devil's Garden was chronicled in California Agriculture journal by executive editor Jim Downing. The federal government has determined the ideal horse population on the 230,000 acres of wild horse territory is no more than 402, however, more than 4,000 wild horses are running on the land.

A herd of horses visits a spring at Devil's Garden wild horse territory. (Photo: Laura Snell)

The current federal horse gathering was prescribed by the 2013 Devil's Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan to help address impacts on aquatic resources, wildlife, grazing and traditional cultural practices. Reducing the population will allow range and riparian ecological conditions to recover, while also supporting wild horse herd health by reducing competition for limited food, water and habitat, according to a Modoc National Forest press release.

Most gathered horses are expected to be under 10 years old and will be available for adoption at the BLM Litchfield Corrals. Gathered horses 10 and older will be cared for at the new Double Devil Wild Horse Corrals on the Modoc National Forest and offered for adoption and sale. To adopt a young horse, see https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/ or wildhorse@blm.gov. To adopt or purchase an older horse go to https://go.usa.gov/xQ3r3.

Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2018 at 9:43 AM

UC agriculture experts offer a webinar series with continuing education credit

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Continuing education credits required by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation will now be available from UC Cooperative Extension by participating in live webinars.

“Everybody is busy,” said Beth Grafton-Cardwell, UCCE citrus entomology specialist. “It's hard for people to get to meetings. Now, they can get some of the hours they need for updating their professional licenses from home or work, or even on their smartphones.”

Live webinars allow experts to talk about timely issues, such as new pest outbreaks, and give participants the option to ask questions via chat and get immediate answers from presenters.

The first webinar is from 3 to 4 p.m. Oct. 17 and will focus on citrus thrips, a perennial pest in citrus production that can vary greatly from year to year. Grafton-Cardwell will discuss biology, biological control, temperature effects, damage, monitoring, chemical control and resistance.

Participants must register in advance on the UC Ag Experts Talk website and connect to the webinar from beginning to end in order to receive continuing education credit. The course will be held on Zoom, communications software that enables video conferencing. Attendees will link into the meeting with audio and video online via computer or smartphone. Details for connecting will be emailed following online registration.

The continuing education sessions will be offered each month by various UC Cooperative Extension experts. On Nov. 14, Ben Faber, UCCE advisor in Ventura County, will discuss avocado diseases. Future class dates and topics will be posted on the UC Ag Experts Talk website.

Citrus thrips feeding causes gray scars in a ring-pattern around the stem end of fruit. Citrus thrips will be the topic of the first live UC webinar Oct. 17.

Professional pest control advisers must complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years; qualified applicator certification and qualified applicators license renewal requires 20 hours every two years, according to the California Department of Pesticide Regulation.

All the webinars will be recorded and the sessions posted on the web, however, watching the recording will be for informational purposes only and not eligible for continuing education credit.

Posted on Friday, October 5, 2018 at 9:23 AM

Google features Santa Clara County 4-H member in new computer science video

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A teen leader involved in the UC Cooperative Extension 4-H program in Santa Clara County was featured in a Google blog and video in honor of National Youth Science Day.

In an interview with the author, Curtis Ullerich, a Google employee and 4-H alum, Reyes said she joined 4-H at five years old, and worked on 4-H baking, flower arranging, poultry, sewing and guinea pig projects. She said she learned important life skills, like public speaking and organization. Last year, she took on a computer science project and now leads a computer science project for Santa Clara County youth.

"CS is a part of so many things," Reyes said. "... CS is part of fashion, agriculture, art, music and more."

Reyes became the first non-Googler to be featured in one of its CS First videos. "You're basically a celebrity now," Ullerich said.

Fiona Reyes, a 4-H member in Santa Clara County. (Photo: Curtis Ullerich)

In the video, Reyes and Olga, a CS First program manager at Google, introduce a free online activity called Animate a Name. Using an online tool, kids can choose any name - their own name, a school name, a club name, etc. - and make the letters change colors, spin or dance to a favorite tune.

"That was my first experience being professionally filmed and using a teleprompter, but it was very fun," Reyes said. "The final project turned out amazing. It's weird to think that kids all over the nation will be watching it as they do the Animate a Name activity."

 

Posted on Thursday, October 4, 2018 at 4:25 PM

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