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The Web is great, but there are limits

Magazine article reading online is growing in popularity. According to Marketing Analytics, authoritative research firms (Nielsen and Mediamark Research Inc.) found that an average of 83 percent of visitors to the Web sites of 23 large-circulation monthly magazines access those magazines’ content solely online.

That may be true, but some things are lost in the online posting. One is a new gimic from the current issue of Newsweek magazine. Häagen-Dazs is running an ad embedded with flower seeds that can sprout as the linen-based paper decomposes, according to a brief in the Merced Sun-Star. The connection? The ad is part of a company effort to combat colony collaspe disorder of bees. As reported in this blog in February, the ice cream maker provided $250,000 for colony collaspe disorder research to UC Davis and Pennsylvania State University, and started a "Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees” Web site at

Now Newsweek readers can tear the Häagen-Dazs ad from the magazine and plant it in their backyards to grow wildflowers that make nectar for bees. But the online readers are out of luck.

Honey Bee ice cream
Honey Bee ice cream

Posted on Monday, June 9, 2008 at 8:41 PM
Tags: bees (82)

UC Davis couple fractures famous Shakespeare proverb

In his play, The Tempest, Shakespeare said, "Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows." If the Bard had met UC Davis plant pathology professor Pamela Ronald and her husband Raoul Adamchak, he might have written, "Love acquaints strange bedfellows." Ronald studies genetically altering plants and Adamchak is an organic farmer at the UC Davis certified organic farm.

Together the couple wrote a book, Tomorrow's Table, that today was featured in a Q&A style US News & World Report article. The authors believe the marriage of genetic engineering and organic farming is key to feeding the world's growing population, the article said.

Much more information on the book is in a UC Davis news service release, so I will close this short post with another proverb from Shakespeare: "Brevity is the soul of wit."

Posted on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 2:26 PM
Tags: GMOs (12)

UCCE advisor praised for ag tour

Calaveras County UC Cooperative Extension director and farm advisor, Ken Churches, was praised in a Union Democrat article published yesterday about the county's leadership program ag tour.

"Ken does a great job," the story quoted leadership program participant Bill Schmiett, the owner of Mountain Ranch Realty.

Churches took the new leaders to visit a variety of the county's agritourism destinations, reported staff writer Sean Janssen.

"Agriculture and agricultural tourism are a very significant part of the economic engine of Calaveras County," Churches was quoted. "Murphys, you can see, was built entirely around agricultural tourism. It's the diversity in agricultural tourism that makes Calaveras County a wonderful place to live."

The group visited California Cashmere, Al-Rafiq Farms, Rancho NC Alpacas, Calaveras Nursery, Trinitas Olive Oil and Golf Course and Twisted Oak Winery.

The photo with this post, which shows Churches in the early years of his tenure, is from the UCCE Calaveras Web site.

Ken Churches
Ken Churches

Posted on Friday, June 6, 2008 at 9:43 AM
Tags: agritourism (24)

UCCE touches the environment

A few news stories published recently typify UC Cooperative Extension's hand on a diversity of environmental issues in California.

Methyl bromide

The California Farm Bureau's newspaper AgAlert includes a story about research efforts aimed at helping strawberry farmers grow a successful crop in the wake of regulations that severely limit the use of the fumigant methyl bromide.

The story says UCCE soils and water specialist Husein Ajwa have had some success in reducing fumigant emissions either by applying the material through buried irrigation drip lines or by using a more effective tarp material to keep the fumigant in the soil. The research is being conducted at the Monterey Bay Academy test fields outside Watsonville.

Tree giveaway

The Tahoe Daily Tribune reported that the Tahoe Resource Conservation District and UC Cooperative Extension gave away Jeffrey pine tree seedlings to area residents effected by the Angora fire. The tree giveaway also allowed the agencies to provide the landowners home-landscaping guides and "Living With Fire" guides.

Range management help

UCCE and the Amador County Resource Conservation District are hosting a workshop designed to assist regional ranchers in the productive management of their rangeland, according to the Amador Ledger Dispatch. The story noted that open rangelands in the county are cared for in most cases by local ranchers, whose agricultural use of the land provides the rest of the county's residents with beautiful scenery. The June 16 workshop will also touch on direct marketing of meat.

Posted on Thursday, June 5, 2008 at 10:05 AM
Tags: environment (11)

Placerville blog runs obituary on retired UCCE county director

A mountain community blog titled ran a 950-word obituary recently about retired El Dorado County UC Cooperative Extension director Dick Bethell. The post also included a 1,400-word article authored by Mr. Bethell titled "A pest control program for your home orchard."

The story says Mr. Bethell passed away May 24 at the age of 80. According to the blog, he moved to Placerville several years before pear decline wiped out the area's top horticultural crop. He developed programs to fight the disease and published Pear Pest Management, the first pest management manual for an agricultural crop.

A major accomplishment of his 36-year career with UCCE was formation of Apple Hill, the first ranch marketing program in Northern California and a major tourist draw, the obituary said. Mr. Bethell also oversaw planting of wine grape test plots at various foothill elevations and in 1967 persuaded enologists from UC Davis to produce wine from the crop. Successful tasting events ignited an El Dorado County wine industry that grew from 6 acres to more than 2,000 acres of vines and 50 wineries during his tenure, the story said.

A memorial service was held this week at the Boeger Winery.

The black and white photo shown with this post is from the El Dorado County UC Cooperative Extension Web site viticulture page.

Dick Bethell and El Dorado County agricultural commissioner Ed Delfino.
Dick Bethell and El Dorado County agricultural commissioner Ed Delfino.

Posted on Wednesday, June 4, 2008 at 9:14 AM
Tags: obituary (5)

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