To the University of California community:
I write to share with you the statement of my outrage over the senseless and tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota, and the many Black lives lost before him.
Like many of you, I am incensed over the continued brutality against people of color in communities across the country and I condemn, in the strongest terms possible, abuses of power by those charged with enforcing the law. We also must condemn the acts of violence that have infected lawful, peaceful protests, and not let those actions distract us from confronting the fundamental issues that George Floyd's killing made so evident.
As we react with disbelief on the state of our country, we must also reflect on the brutal history that got us to this point – and where we go from here. We must examine our own biases and find a way to eliminate the systemic racial inequities that pervade our country in order to effect real and lasting change. We must ensure that every American life is valued and protected equally in the eyes of the law. Only then can we heal, together, as a nation.
Fundamentally, this is about upholding one of America's, and UC's, bedrock principles: that all people are equal, and deserve to be treated fairly and respectfully. We all deserve to live, work and go about our lives without fear.
Yours very truly,
Houston Wilson has been named the Presidential Director for the University of California's Organic Agriculture Institute, which was established in January 2020 with a $500,000 endowment by Clif Bar and a matching $500,000 endowment from UC President Janet Napolitano.
Wilson, a UC Riverside agricultural entomologist based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center, joined UC ANR as assistant Cooperative Extension specialist in 2017. He will launch the institute and chart a path for future growth while also focusing on immediate priorities such as a survey of organic production in California, multiple outreach and training opportunities for growers, publication of organic production guidelines, and developing research programs. Wilson's long-term goal is to continue to grow the endowment and position the organization to successfully support the state's growing organic farming economy.
“Organic growers in California face an array of interconnected agronomic, economic and regulatory challenges,” said Wilson. “Tackling these issues simultaneously requires a multidisciplinary approach to develop solutions that work in all scales of production. The economic opportunities are there, and we want to help position California growers to reap these benefits, and in doing so increase the supply of affordable organic food for consumers.”
Since 2007, Wilson has conducted research and extension in orchard and vineyard systems with a focus on integrated pest management strategies, many of which are readily applicable to organic agriculture. Key studies have included evaluating the use of mating disruption to control navel orangeworm in fig production, cover crops to increase biological control of vineyard leafhoppers, pheromone lures to improve monitoring of leaffooted bug in almonds, and more.
“We are excited about Houston's vision for establishing and growing California's first organic institute,” said Glenda Humiston, UC vice president for agriculture and natural resources (UC ANR). “Continued research advancements will be critical to the future of organic farming in our state as well as the health of our environment.”
“Clif Bar is thrilled to see Houston's appointment. We've heard from orchardists in our supply chain who have worked with him in the past and are excited that he'll have more resources to help serve the needs of organic producers,” said Matthew Dillon, senior director of agriculture for Clif Bar. “We look forward to working with Houston, UC ANR, and the organic agriculture community to continue to improve the sustainability and economic resiliency of California farmers.”
Wilson earned his doctoral degree in environmental science, policy and management and also holds a bachelor's degree in international area studies, both from UC Berkeley.
Safety standards for resuming in-person activity
Beginning in March, UC ANR implemented remote work protocols to protect the health and safety of our employees, volunteers, program participants and our communities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to your collective efforts, we've been able to continue most of our work while supporting community efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus by restricting in-person contacts.
As you know, some County Health authorities have begun to modify local shelter-at-home orders and relax restrictions on low risk activities. To ensure that we continue to protect the health and safety of our people and our communities, we have developed UC ANR Safety Standards for Resuming In-Person Activity, Stage 2 to outline protocols for our programs and work locations. The safety standards are informed by state, county, and UC best practices, and are intended to help UCCE county directors, REC directors and statewide program leaders plan for the eventual resumption of some in-person activities. For those counties that have authorized return to in-person activity under Stage 2, UC ANR directors are now required to document their plans for in-person work activity with the ANR Emergency Response team based on the Safety Standards. Local plans may vary from county to county, and may change over time to be more or less restrictive as the impact of reopening unfolds.
It is important to remember that the State is allowing for the resumption of limited onsite operations.UC ANR employees and volunteers who can still work/engage remotely, should continue to do so until the Governor completely lifts California's stay-at-home order and UC ANR advises it is appropriate to return to in-person operations.
ANR directors contributed to the development of the Safety Standards, and we've asked them to help address your questions and concerns and to reinforce the steps being taken to provide a safe working environment. In general, ANR will be taking a slow and deliberate approach to expanding in-person activities, and most of us will continue to work remotely for the immediate future.
Work approval letters
A number of ANR employees and volunteers have continued to perform essential in-person activities while the shelter-at-home orders have been in effect. We documented these approved activities via individual letters that were issued by my office in April. Those letters are effective through May 30, 2020. The approved essential activities may continue beyond May 30; we will not be issuing updated letters. Beginning June 1, all employees approved for in-person activity will be documented through the new protocols outlined in the Safety Standards.
I'd like to thank everyone for following safety protocols, modeling best practices and providing leadership in your communities. Continuing this commitment to health and safety will help us all eventually get back to “normal” operations sooner rather than later.
The Butte Cluster Nutrition Program created a new eNewsletter to keep in touch with clientele. Sent out biweekly to teachers and other extenders, it contains SNAP-Ed approved lesson plans, recipes and activities for teachers to incorporate into their virtual classrooms.
A virtual showcase is providing Glenn County 4-Hers an opportunity to display projects that would have otherwise been entered into the fair and to receive an evaluation to further their skills. See more at http://ceglenn.ucanr.edu/Glenn_County_4-H_Program_286/County_Events/Virtual_Showcase/.
ABC30 saluted Michael Yang, Fresno County UCCE small farms and specialty crops Hmong agricultural assistant, on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Congratulations!
UC ANR and the Citrus Research Board are co-funding a new citrus IPM advisor position to be headquartered at the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center. The CRB has pledged $750,000 to cover half the cost of the advisor's salary and benefits for 10 years.
The new IPM advisor will conduct a multicounty extension, education and applied research program and provide research-based technical and educational assistance to the citrus industry. The new advisor will report to the director of the Lindcove REC, with input from the Statewide IPM Program director.
"CRB's partnership with UC ANR for this position continues to strengthen the commitment towards citrus research and IPM best practices. This is a win-win for all Californians." said Greg Gibbs, UC ANR director of major gifts.
The citrus IPM advisor will help fill the role of retiring UCCE citrus entomology specialist Beth Grafton-Cardwell. The 30-year citrus IPM veteran has also served as the director of Lindcove REC since 2006.
Human Resources is finalizing the position vacancy announcement for the new IPM advisor and will open recruitment in the coming weeks.
Please join VP Glenda Humiston and other ANR leaders for a virtual ANR town hall on Thursday, May 28, at 3 p.m. to discuss the budget, plans for reopening as counties loosen COVID-19 restrictions and ANR activities.
The town hall will replace the monthly Third Thursday All-Hands meeting that would have occurred May 21, which has been canceled.
AGENDA for May 28 town hall
Glenda Humiston, Vice President
Tu Tran, Associate Vice President, Financial Operations
Innovation: Stories from the field
featuring UC ANR colleagues
Upcoming COVID-19 Safety Standards
Q&A and wrap up
Wendy Powers, Associate Vice President, Programs
Please enter your questions in the Zoom Chat box.
To join the UC ANR town hall, please click the Zoom link: https://ucanr.zoom.us/j/95920376670
- Or iPhone one-tap :
- US: +16699006833,,95920376670# or +12532158782,,95920376670#
- Or Telephone:
- Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location)
- US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 253 215 8782 or +1 346 248 7799 or +1 301 715 8592 or +1 312 626 6799 or +1 646 558 8656
- Webinar ID: 959 2037 6670
- International numbers available: https://ucanr.zoom.us/u/aep8C9Dy84
To view recordings or agendas of past meetings, visit https://ucanr.edu/sites/anrstaff/All_Hands/.