October 2017 Volume 1, Number 4
The Vantage Point
Help in the face of catastrophic wildfires

Our thoughts and hearts go out to all of the people, farms and businesses affected by the recent catastrophic wildfires throughout the state. As we recover and rebuild, UC ANR is a useful source of information. We’ve compiled a list of fire recovery and mitigation resources that you may find helpful, as well as a list of San Francisco Bay Area-specific fire recovery resources. UC ANR is in every county and offers programs to all Californians; please reach out to your local UC Cooperative Extension office if we can assist you in any way. 

One new resource, resulting from a new partnership with CropMobster, provides an online platform for anyone in the Bay Area to post needs or offers of help of any kind. This type of online tool for connecting needs with resources is one we are very excited to help grow. The CropMobster team is currently visiting every county in the state to lay groundwork for expansion of this service.

Before the spread of these devastating wildfires, I met with county supervisors during a Rural County Representatives of California meeting. I was pleased that so many county supervisors had great things to say about working with UC ANR’s county directors and want to partner with ANR. We are currently working closely together to scale up economic opportunities for wood-based products, among other activities.

I also recently attended a meeting ANR hosted with CA Fwd for land use, water and flood management officials. The meeting featured great conversations among 77 diverse experts to define and push implementation of solutions for California's water systems. These recommendations will be featured at the State Economic Summit in San Diego in early November.

The projects, along with lessons learned from our response to the recent disaster, help us discover new opportunities for collaboration and economic development as we work to rebuild. I am quite optimistic that we will find opportunities that will make California even more strong and resilient.

As always, we invite you to read more about the important work that UC ANR does, and to collaborate with us. Please share  Connected  with colleagues who would be interested in receiving it, and please encourage them to subscribe.
Glenda Humiston 
Vice President
UC Agriculture and Natural Resources
Notes From the Field
UCCE Presidential Chair for Agricultural Education Formed in Orange County
UC President Janet Napolitano has approved the formation of a $1 million endowment to create the UC Cooperative Extension Presidential Chair for Agricultural Education in Orange County . Half the endowment was donated by the Orange County Farm Bureau; Napolitano matched the contribution through the presidential endowment fund. “[This] will fund agricultural education activities in Orange County and the surrounding region for decades to come,” said UC ANR vice president  Glenda Humiston .
UCCE-logo-stack
UC ANR in the Media
KVPR
Using drones to make two dimensional maps of orchards isn’t anything new. Now UCCE agricultural engineering advisor  Ali Pourreza is taking existing drone technology to the next level. “I thought, okay, two-dimensional imaging has been around a long time and it's helped a lot, but right now we have the capability to make 3D models,” says Pourreza.
 
San Francisco Chronicle
With UC Davis a top agricultural research center, the Central Valley’s excellent growing conditions and new farm technology constantly emerging from Silicon Valley, a lot of seed development is happening quietly in the Bay Area’s backyard. “The seed industry is essential to agriculture — we have to have seeds to start — but it’s sort of a hidden part,” says  Kent Bradford , professor at UC Davis’ Seed Biotechnology Center. “It’s where the new technology comes in.”
 
Half Moon Bay Review
Natalie Sare of Santa’s Tree Farm east of Half Moon Bay remembers when it was possible to make a living just by farming. That’s less common now. “It’s changed a lot in terms of the fact that in order to survive, you need to be able to offer something a little bit more,” Sare said. Many farmers are turning to agritourism, said UC agritourism coordinator  Penny Leff .  “They do (agritourism) to connect with their communities and educate. They’re genuinely really interested in doing what they do,” Leff said.
 
Desert Sun
Less than 6 percent of the alfalfa grown across the U.S. is exported, said UCCE specialist  Daniel Putnam . Domestic dairies continue to buy the most hay, and California alone has about 1.5 million dairy cows, many of them in the Central Valley. In a report last year, Putnam and his colleagues said exporting hay is likely to be a permanent phenomenon in western states as foreign demand continues to grow and as “scarce land and water limit production” of hay in Asia and the Middle East.
 
ABC Channel 30 News
San Joaquin Valley farmers are always looking for new crops to grow their profits. UC Cooperative Extension small farm advisor  Ruth Dahlquist-Willard  believes local farmers can find a niche with Moringa. “It has very high nutritional content, especially in the leaves, so a lot of development projects overseas will use it as a powder to add to food to give more vitamins and nutrients to people. And it’s actually grown here in Fresno by some Hmong and Filipino farmers,” she said. The valley’s extreme summer heat poses a challenge, however.
 
The Daily Californian
UC Cooperative Extension specialist  Jennifer Sowerwine   was part of the contingent that spoke with CDFA secretary Karen Ross when she visited the Berkeley campus at the behest of the Student Organic Garden Association. They discussed the campus’s plans for a housing development on the Oxford Tract, where the students currently cultivate an organic farm. Sowerwine talked about her work in urban farming and sustainability.
 
Lodi News-Sentinel
UC Cooperative Extension advisor emeritus  Joseph Grant  was one of five local agriculturalists to be inducted into the Ag Hall of Fame. “It’s kind of awesome. I mean when you look at the other people that have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, I don’t consider myself in that class of people so it’s humbling,” Grant said. For most of his career Grant focused his research on walnuts, cherries, apples, olives and other tree crops. He retired in 2016.
 
Wall Street Journal
A small crop in California coincided with a tough season in Mexico to drive wholesale prices to around $80 a case, which is threatening the bottom line at restaurants as they try to meet rising demand for the fruit. “The market is growing faster than the supply,” said  Mary Lu Arpaia , UC Cooperative Extension subtropical horticulture specialist.
 
Growing Produce
Director of the UC Kearney REC,  Jeff Dahlberg , has one word for those who scoff at the notion of growing tea in California: blueberries. About 20 years ago, when a UCCE advisor suggested blueberries, “Everyone laughed at him,” Dahlberg says. Now California producers have yields that double those of blueberry farms in a traditional location like Michigan. Craft California tea may be the next big thing.

New York Times
Michael Yang , a Hmong immigrant who works for a University of California agricultural program in Fresno, has helped organize small-scale Hmong farmers to sell Asian vegetables and herbs to restaurants, grocery stores and farmers’ markets in the Bay Area. “We took a full busload of farmers to meet with restaurant owners,” Mr. Yang said, describing a trip three years ago. “We wanted them to make connections.”

Lake County News
Lake County’s public health officer said a second bat in Lake County has tested positive for rabies. The danger is the potential for a dog or cat to be infected, and then expose people. The level of rabies in bats “is really a numbers game,” said UC Cooperative Extension advisor  Rachael Long . More bats with rabies are being seen because more bats are migrating. Bats that have rabies are easy to distinguish, she said, as they usually are so sick they’re paralyzed. If you come across such an animal, it should be tested.

News Deeply
“We don’t know what triggered the ignition, but once a fire ignited the real story is that there was receptive vegetation everywhere that could carry that fire,” said Yana Valachovic , a county director and forest advisor for the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources....“Landscapes in California are designed to burn and we just happen to be in the way of that,” she said. “And we are heavily building out the wildland-urban interface and that is putting us into more conflict. There is a lot more we need to do in terms of community preparedness, fuels management and managed wildfire – all of it will have to come into play.”

WVEC-TV
According to census data, 95% of California’s population lived in urban areas, the highest density of any state. As the state’s population has expanded, those urban areas have had to expand as well to accommodate the millions that have flocked to the Golden State over the last decade. That puts more people in the wildland-urban interface area. "Just having more homes in fire-prone areas increases the potential for loss," said Dr. Max Moritz at the UC Extension Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

CityLab
People need to start thinking of wildfires the way they do tornadoes and earthquakes, says Max Moritz : as inevitable natural disasters. That means spending more time and money on getting governments to build with more foresight on fire-prone land, and on convincing homeowners to retrofit their houses to be more fire-proof.
 
Sacramento Bee
Labor shortages, a result of high rents and concern over federal immigration policies, could slow the recovery from wild fires in Sonoma, Napa and other counties. “It was hard to get workers before the fires, because the living costs in Sonoma and Napa are so much higher than elsewhere,” said Philip M artin , a labor economist at University of California, Davis. “Most people would say it is even going to get even harder to find workers after the fires.”

New Food Economy
As we  reported  last month, grapes that have come too close to a wildfire can be affected with “smoke taint,” a condition that makes them unpalatable and not viable for sale. “The fruit gets tainted with various phenolic compounds and creosotes [that] give these smoke flavors that aren’t pleasant,” says Glenn McGourty , a Mendocino-based farm advisor for the University of California Extension. “If they tasted like bacon, it would be great, but they don’t taste like bacon. They taste like ash trays.”

Time
“By the time you get to this season, right when you’re starting to anticipate some rain, it’s actually the most fire prone part of the year,” said Max Moritz , a wildfire specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension. With the combination of dry fuel and fast winds this late in the season, “there’s a very big chance you’re going to get big, terrible fires,” Moritz said. “All you need is ignition and you have the perfect storm, really,” Moritz said.

Napa Valley Register
[ William Stewart , co-director of the UC Center for Fire Research and Outreach at UC Berkeley] said that there simply were not enough resources to go around. Fires started in eight different places and were fast-moving, he said. A plethora of dry fuels combined with a lot of wind pushing the fire in different directions every few hours contributed to the swirling nature of these fires. “I’ve seen these fires turn around in a two-hour period and just roll ‘er back the other way,” he said, noting how the direction of these fires keeps changing. “For everybody working on this, this is the biggest, most complicated fire we’ve had in Northern California,” Stewart said....“I’ve never seen anything like this.”

KQED Science
“By October California has dried out,” said University of California, Berkeley fire expert William Stewart . “So every hillside is basically fuel waiting to burn.”

Australian Broadcasting Corporation
The wildfires have caused significant loss to those directly involved but Jim Lapsley , a researcher with the Agricultural Issues Centres at the University of California, said the industry as a whole would not suffer big production losses. Mr Lapsley said about 30 wineries were directly damaged by the flames, which was less than 2 per cent of wineries in California. He said the biggest impact for the Californian wine industry would be on the high-value wine, for which the region is most renowned. Mr Lapsley said most of the grapes had already been picked. "Probably most of those grapes that were still hanging were the later varieties like cabernet sauvignon, which is high value," he said.

San Jose Mercury News
A highly contagious disease that has already killed millions of rural California trees is spreading into urban areas in the East Bay and on the Peninsula, according to a major new University of California survey. The trend is worrisome, forcing once-untouched areas “to face disease impacts and management decisions,” said forest pathologist Matteo Garbelotto , who heads the Forest Pathology and Mycology Laboratory at UC Berkeley. While it does not mean that all oaks in those areas will die, it indicates that they are at elevated risk.

California Economic Summit
This October, a gathering of 77 innovative land use decision makers, water districts, flood management districts, university researchers and state officials developed a series of joint recommendations to further groundwater recharge by breaking down individual agency silos.
Engage with Us!
Honey Sensory Experience
November 10 - 11, 2017
Robert Mondavi Institute Sensory Building
Davis, CA
The Honey Sensory Experience is an opportunity for consumers to learn how honey is developed—from the moment the honey bee collects the nectar until the honey is on the supermarket shelf.
The two-day program brings together a group of knowledgeable presenters to explain nuances about nutrition, flavor and cooking.
Advances in Pistachio Production
November 14 - 16, 2017
Visalia, CA
The Advances in Pistachio Production Short Course   is designed for orchard decision makers and covers the latest scientific research that supports current and developing production practices, including regional differences. Research from UC experts on pistachio orchard production, field preparation, planting, pruning, economics, diseases, integrated pest management and harvesting is featured.
Spotlight on Practical Resources
The Fruit & Nut Research and Information Center was created in 1995 to make University of California research-based information publicly available and to coordinate Extension activities in planting, growing and harvesting fruits and nuts. The Center provides practical advice on fruit and nut production, information on best management practices developed by UC Cooperative Extension, and connections to current research and new technologies. The Center also provides classes, such as the upcoming Principles of Fruit and Nut Tree Growth, Cropping and Management, as well as educational resources for individual crops.
Calendar of Events
The UC ANR Calendar lists events hosted by our programs throughout California. Find an event in a community near you! 

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Website:  ucanr.edu
Email:  connected@ucanr.edu