Posts Tagged: agriculture
An article by Ching Lee in today's Ag Alert focused on the effects of budget cuts on agricultural student programs at California universities. "Budget cuts have had a profound effect on all areas of the campus," Diane Ullman, associate dean for undergraduate academic programs at UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, told the reporter. She explained the college faces challenges keeping agricultural production facilities, instructional equipment and technologies updated to deliver hands-on education — even though the office has seen student applications increase by 70–80 percent.
Tom Baldwin, dean of UC Riverside College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, also commented on the challenges of serving students in the face of diminishing resources, saying the university is "moving heaven and earth" to do so.
The cuts are being felt at on-campus farms as well. Raoul Adamchak, of the UC Davis Student Farm, explained that the market garden generates its own income and provides a lesson to students on self-sustaining businesses. "Things cost money, and these are part of the expenses of farming, so it has to be factored in. They have to make decisions based on the cost of things and the returns," he said.
Peach association to major retailer: Buy U.S.-grown
Christine Souza, Ag Alert
The California Canning Peach Association has asked Target to consider California fruit for its Market Pantry-brand canned peaches, which are currently a product of China. Wal-Mart carries a comparable product made from California cling peaches, with a lower retail price.
Reporter Christine Souza sought expert commentary from Roberta Cook, UC Cooperative Extension marketing specialist at the Davis campus, on the current market for California cling peaches. "When you are talking about processed items, if another country can produce it a lot cheaper than you, then you will be vulnerable to competition. And consumer preferences have moved towards fresh. So [California cling-peach businesses] are hit by both factors," she told the reporter.
Related ANR News Blog post: Chinese farmers take a bite out of the California cling-peach market
Silicon Valley venture capitalists will focus on investment opportunities in Central Valley agriculture during a conference at UC Davis this summer, Grow-California.com announced yesterday. The California Agriculture Innovation Conference takes place in Freeborn Hall July 20 and 21.
Conference participants will meet with policymakers such as California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross and USDA Rural Development State Director Glenda Humiston. and “game changing” agriculture companies, the Grow-California news release said. LA Times reporter P.J. Huffstutter and Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters are also on the agenda. Other prominent speakers include the president of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and a deputy editor of Forbes magazine.
Conference organizers believe that by bringing the venture capital community together with the agricultural community, there will be potential to create an innovative technology hub for agriculture in the Central Valley as was done in the Silicon Valley for high tech.
Grow-California was formed in April 2011, a spin-off of Golden Capital Network, the website said. The new company aims to foster job and wealth creation by connecting innovative entrepreneurs, growth companies and market leaders with capital, talent, academia, customers and partners.
Grow-California plans two other conferences this year, a Clean Tech Innovation conference in Oakland Sept. 14 and 15 and a Web & IT Innovation conference in Pleasanton November 16 and 17.
Online registration for the Agriculture Innovation Conference is available on the GrowCalifornia website. Registration for the two-day conference is $245. One day registration is $125. There is a $75 charge for the VIP dinner on July 20.
News stories from around the state demonstrate the role of UC Cooperative Extension in helping define California's agricultural "sense of place."
Salinas research corridor
Officials are working together to create a "research corridor" in Salinas to work in concert with existing agricultural and construction technology centers, said Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue in his state-of-the-city address. "I want to acknowledge the very real and sustained efforts to make a Research Corridor a reality by Dr. Phoebe Helm at Hartnell, Sonya Varyea Hammond of the UC Extension and Congressman Sam Farr," Donahue said, according to a transcript of his speech on the Fox 35 news website. "The City will continue to stand with and actively support their efforts to help move the public sector's role in the future we envision. The marketplace will ultimately move the agenda forward but the public sector plays a crucial role."
California is the No. 1 place for organic agriculture in the nation, according to a survey analyzed by UC Cooperative Extension agricultural economist Karen Klonsky. UC Davis news service issued a news tip about the analysis that was picked up widely in the media. The survey found that California leads the United States in the number of organic farms, the amount of land in organic production and in organic sales. California is home to 19 percent of the nation’s organic farms and accounts for 36 percent of the country’s organic sales.
The U.S. census reports that population in Yolo County has grown, but the place maintains its "rural" designation, reported the Woodland Daily Democrat. Government agencies usually identify counties as rural if the population is under 200,000, the story said. Even though Yolo County, the home of UC Davis, topped that number by 849 individuals, it is still considered rural because of the important role of agriculture in the community, county administrator Patrick Blacklock told the paper.
A webinar series produced by an organization of agricultural economists at Western land-grant universities is adding Spanish programming this month, according to a news release distributed today by Washington State University. Webinars are seminars on the Web.
The webinar series in English, called "Ag in Uncertain Times," began broadcasting in June 2009. Past programs programs have included "Operating in risky environments" and "Operating in the face of uncertain markets." All programs are recorded and available on the Western Extension Committee Web site.
The first Spanish webinar, set for Wednesday, March 10, will address management of finances and credit in an agricultural setting. On March 17, participants will hear about business planning and market strategies and on March 24, strategies, tools and resources for selecting and diversifying crops. All sessions begin at 4 p.m. Pacific and can be accessed at http://www.msuextensionconnect.org/aginuncertaintimes/
The Spanish sessions will be presented by a bilingual team led by Ramiro Lobo, small farm program advisor for UC Cooperative Extension in San Diego County. Links to the recorded webinars will be posted on the Ag in Uncertain Times en español Web site after they are presented live.
Ag in Uncertain Times en español Web site.