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Posts Tagged: Michael Yang

Southeast Asian farmers devastated by cononavirus closures

With sales down dramatically at Asian markets and restaurants, crops on Southeast Asian farms have been left to wither away in the fields, reported Donald Promnitz in The Business Journal.

“I would say it's a 100% loss. I can't sell anything," said Chongyee Xiong, who used his earnings as a school groundskeeper to pay upfront expenses for his farm.

According to UC Cooperative Extension in Fresno, there were nearly 2,000 Asian farms in the San Joaquin Valley area in 2015. Roughly 70% of these were run by Hmong growers. The farmers typically produce crops they had previously cultivated in Laos — including Thai peppers, bok choy, snow peas and lemongrass. Some grow strawberries.

Farmer Chue Lee applied for loans through the federal Paycheck Protection Program, but found out he didn't have enough employees to qualify for aid. With a loss of about 70%, Lee may not be able to afford the lease for the two portions of land he has in Fresno County, which together amount to roughly 12 acres. Meanwhile, his own ability to access customers has been made more difficult by his wife's heart condition — which would make a Covid-19 infection devastating for her, the article said.

“Everything that we make, all that we're saving now is just like already out there and there's no help for us at all,” Lee said. “We tried to apply for all the releases, but there's nothing that fits into our category.”

UCCE ag assistant Michael Yang said there are also issues with technical literacy for the farmers. And without training with a computer, accessing aid online becomes nearly impossible. It increases the odds of losing everything.

“It's pretty tough when you come to a country where you have to relearn everything and the first thing you know is just farming,” Yang said. “And just bringing the clothes on your back is pretty much what you have.”

Michael Yang is a longtime agricultural assistant for UC Cooperative Extension.
Posted on Tuesday, June 23, 2020 at 10:38 AM
Focus Area Tags: Economic Development

ANR in the news May 16-31, 2020

ASEV's Invasive Pest Webinar Series Starts June 3

(Wine Business) May 30

… The invasive pest webinar series will include:

June 3: Impact of the New Invasive Pest, Spotted Lanternfly, in the Northeastern Vineyards by Heather Leach (The Pennsylvania State University, University Park) at noon – 1:00 p.m. (PDT)

July 2: Fruit Flies and Their Role in Causing Sour Rot by Megan Hall (University of Missouri, Columbia) at noon –1:00 p.m. (PDT)

October 22: Lifecycle Modeling and the Impacts of Climate Change by Gwen-Alyn Hoheisel (Washington State University, Prosser) at noon – 1 p.m. (PDT)

November 12: Invasive Species Response: Lessons from the European Grapevine Moth Collaboration Program by Monica Cooper (University of California, Cooperative Extension, Napa County) at noon – 1 p.m. (PDT)

https://www.winebusiness.com/news/?go=getArticle&dataId=231500

UC Davis sponsoring COVID-19 symposium

(Woodland Daily Democrat) May 30

… Statewide Extension apiculturist Elina Lastro Niño, based in the UCD Department of Entomology and Nematology, is scheduled to share her expertise on bee venom, one of the possible COVID-19 treatments suggested by researchers but not yet investigated.

… Among those asking questions will be Jennifer Cash, the newest faculty member of the UCD College of Biological Sciences; Fred Gould, a National Academy of Sciences member; UC Cooperative Extension adviser Surendra Dara; and University of Brasilia graduate student Raquel Silva.

https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2020/05/30/uc-davis-sponsoring-covid-19-symposium/

Gardens Have Pulled America Out of Some of Its Darkest Times. We Need Another Revival.

(Mother Jones) Tom Philpott, May 29

The first great national gardening mobilization came two decades later, scholar Rose Hayden-Smith writes in her 2014 book Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War 1. Building on a Progressive Era push to install gardens in public school yards as an educational tool, President Woodrow Wilson tapped the Bureau of Education, with funding from the War Department, to launch the US School Garden Army shortly after sending troops to intervene in the European conflict. “A Garden for Every Child,” its slogan promised. “Every Child in a Garden.”

The School Garden Army was just one of several national programs that “encouraged Americans to express their patriotism by producing and conserving food,” Hayden-Smith adds. Wilson also promoted a civic gardening boom through the Committee on Public Information, which hired writers, artists, scholars, and advertising professionals to create marketing campaigns to promote school, home, and community gardening.

https://www.motherjones.com/food/2020/05/gardens-have-pulled-america-out-of-some-of-its-darkest-times-we-need-another-revival

More scientists joining UC Cooperative Extension

(Daily Democrat) Jim Smith, May 29

Four staff research associates will join the ranks of UC Cooperative Extension scientists in the coming months to support nut crop advisors conducting critical research in walnut, almond and pistachio production.

The California Walnut Board, the Almond Board of California and the California Pistachio Research Board together have provided about $425,000 to cover annual salaries, benefits, travel and equipment for the new UC Cooperative Extension staff. Under the terms of the agreement, the new positions will be funded annually for up to three years, pending available funds and success of the program.

https://www.dailydemocrat.com/2020/05/29/more-scientists-joining-uc-cooperative-extension-just-business/

Tree Nut Industry Provides Funding for more UCCE Researchers

(Ag Net West) May 29

The California tree nut industry is helping to provide funding for four new research associates who will become part of the UC Cooperative Extension system.  The addition of the new personnel is being made possible by the California Walnut Board, the Almond Board of California, and the California Pistachio Research Board who have contributed a total of $425,000 in funding support. Collaborations like this are one of the many ways that the UC system is able to support important agricultural research through alternative funding methods.

http://agnetwest.com/tree-nut-industry-provides-funding-for-more-ucce-researchers/

Modoc County continues to see zero coronavirus cases

(Action NewsNow) Ana Marie Torrea, May 28, 2020

…Next month, the Modoc Junior Livestock Auction is planned for June 8 to June 12. Action News Now reached out to the U.C. Cooperative Extension which oversees the auction. A representative tells Action News Now that they've already made significant changes to the event.

The event's Facebook page says it is working to follow state guidelines by increasing seating and sanitation.

https://www.actionnewsnow.com/content/news/Modoc-County-continues-to-see-zero-coronavirus-cases-570855191.html 

Gardens Have Pulled America Out of Some of Its Darkest Times. We Need Another Revival.

(Mother Jones) Tom Philpott, May 29

…The first great national gardening mobilization came two decades later, scholar Rose Hayden-Smith writes in her 2014 book Sowing the Seeds of Victory: American Gardening Programs of World War 1. Building on a Progressive Era push to install gardens in public school yards as an educational tool, President Woodrow Wilson tapped the Bureau of Education, with funding from the War Department, to launch the US School Garden Army shortly after sending troops to intervene in the European conflict. “A Garden for Every Child,” its slogan promised. “Every Child in a Garden.”

https://www.motherjones.com/food/2020/05/gardens-have-pulled-america-out-of-some-of-its-darkest-times-we-need-another-revival/

 

Women Taking the Reins at Marin's Family Farms

(Marin Magazine) Christina Mueller, May 27

…The two sisters, who grew up on the family ranch but no longer live there (Melissa lives in Novato, Jessica lives in Bend, Oregon), were looking to re-establish their connection to the family's West Marin land. After attending a University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) and MALT agricultural summit 15 years ago that focused on helping the next generation of Marin ranchers figure out how to sustain small family farms, the sisters started researching, digging into their family history to learn what Angelo and subsequent generations of Poncias produced. Cattle, dairy and potatoes kept appearing at the top of the list. With the help of the Tomales Regional History Center, they found an old Petaluma Argus Courier newspaper advertisement where their grandfather posted about the potato varietals he was working with. One of those varietals was known as the Bodega Red.

https://www.marinmagazine.com/women-taking-the-reins-at-marins-family-farms/

 

San Joaquin County cherries withstand ‘spotty' rain losses

(Ag Alert) Kevin Hecteman, May 27

… Rain gauges around the area showed 0.19 to 0.52 inch fell during this year's May storms, according to Mohamed Nouri, a University of California Cooperative Extension orchard advisor in San Joaquin County, with cherries in the Escalon area being among the most affected

… Temperature plays an important role in the rate of cherry fruit cracking, Nouri said; more water is taken up when the temperature is warm following rain, causing the cherry to expand and split.

https://www.agalert.com/story/?id=14026

Table grape industry promotes viticulture research

(Farm Press) Lee Allen, May 27

…Another of the presented research subjects involved remote sensing for nutrient content detection. Ali Pourreza of the University of California Cooperative Extension was one of the presenters.

“Future agricultural and food production systems must make better use of limited resources to ensure farmers can economically produce more high-quality food while minimizing impact on the environment,” Pourreza said. “An effective nitrogen (N) management plan involves monitoring vine N status, currently accomplished by collecting plant tissue samples for lab analysis.

https://www.farmprogress.com/grapes/table-grape-industry-promotes-viticulture-research

 

Houston Wilson Named Presidential Director for the Clif Bar Endowed Organic Agriculture Institute

(Cal Ag Today) May 27

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.

https://californiaagtoday.com/californias-organic-agriculture-institute-names-new-director/

 

Nutritious Movement

(Move Your DNA) Katy Bowman, May 26

… First up, I am talking to Dr. Rose Hayden-Smith. She is an author, educator, and advocate for a sustainable food system. She  is University of California emeritus. Dr. Hayden-Smith leverages the power of social technologies in her research as a historian, to tell stories, share information, start conversations, and engage with a wide range of people interested in the food system. She believes in the power of gardens to transform the world. And I first interviewed Rose in 2018 and I'll be sharing parts of that interview, where we discuss gardening, how to get started, the history of Victory Gardens, as well as garden movement tips. But  I wanted first to get Rose's take on our current situation, and what she thinks about how things are changing. 

https://www.nutritiousmovement.com/gardening-movement-podcast-episode-123

California Nut Industry Funds 4 New Extension Researchers

(Growing Produce) David Eddy, May 26

Four staff research associates will join the ranks of University of California Cooperative Extension scientists in the coming months to support nut crop advisors conducting critical research in walnut, almond, and pistachio production.

https://www.growingproduce.com/nuts/california-nut-industry-funds-4-new-extension-researchers/

Specialty grant to examine impact of integrating animals in crop rotations

(Farm Forum) May 24

…“Fresh produce growers and their advisors will benefit from learning about the impacts of integrating livestock grazing with winter cover crop management on soil health including soil organic matter, nutrient cycling and reduced nitrate leaching, and potential food safety risks discovered in this project to make decisions on adoption, management, and environmental benefits of WCC in annual vegetable systems,” said Alda Pires, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist and lead principle investigator in the study.

https://www.farmforum.net/farm_forum/specialty-grant-to-examine-impact-of-integrating-animals-in-crop-rotations/article_36ebd056-58fb-5893-a1e4-4d9f8116fde3.html 

ABC30 salutes Michael Yang on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
(ABC30) Aurora Ortiz Diaz, May 22

ABC30 salutes Michael Yang on Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Yang is a former Hmong refugee who came to the United States when he was ten years old. He has worked for UC Cooperative Extension's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources for 26 years.
Yang says, "I'm a certified pesticide safety trainer, I speak Hmong, Lao, and English." Yang connects with local Southeast Asian farmers when he visits their farms in the central valley. "Fresno is a nice place to grow everything. We're the number one ag county in the nation."

https://abc30.com/community-events/abc30-salutes-michael-yang-on-asian-pacific-american-heritage-month/6204862/

Project explores livestock grazing impacts on organic crops

(Feedstuffs) May 22

…“Fresh produce growers and their advisors will benefit from learning about the impacts of integrating livestock grazing with winter cover crop management on soil health, including soil organic matter, nutrient cycling and reduced nitrate leaching and potential food safety risks discovered in this project to make decisions on adoption, management and environmental benefits of winter cover crop management in annual vegetable systems,” said Alda Pires, University of California Cooperative Extension specialist in the University of California-Davis (UC-Davis) School of Veterinary Medicine and principle investigator in the study.

https://www.feedstuffs.com/nutrition-health/project-explores-livestock-grazing-impacts-organic-crops

Leafy Green Growers Will Survive COVID-19

(Growing Produce) Carol Miller & Frank Giles, May 20, 2020

…“The lag in adjusting to the situation is mostly a two-month window for a crop like lettuce,” says Richard Smith. Smith is a University of California Vegetable Crop and Weed Science Farm Advisor at the Cooperative Extension in Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties.

…“Companies varied in their level of exposure to this market that just collapsed,” Smith says. “Some were more exposed than others. Given other issues with the food distribution system, in general, some growers think that they may be 30% overplanted.”

https://www.growingproduce.com/vegetables/leafy-green-growers-will-survive-covid-19/

 

The Underlying Importance of Improving Broadband Expansion

(AgNet West) Brian German, May 20

The University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) continues efforts to assist rural Californians in gaining access to high speed internet.  UC ANR has spearheaded multiple initiatives that have driven development in underserved areas of California to provide better coverage in rural communities.  Vice President of UC ANR, Glenda Humiston noted the importance of providing broadband internet to rural, agricultural communities will become even more critical moving forward.

http://agnetwest.com/the-underlying-importance-of-improving-broadband-expansion/

 

Hard-fought industry wins 'evaporating' under new budget reality

(Agri-Pulse) Brad Hooker, May 20

… Roschen was also disappointed by a 10% cut to the current budget for the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Division.

https://www.agri-pulse.com/articles/13725-hard-fought-industry-wins-evaporating-under-new-budget-reality 

Here's how to stay safe while buying groceries amid the coronavirus pandemic

Erin DiCaprio, UCCE specialist, answers questions about how to stay safe while shopping for food amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(Brooklyn Reader) Erin DiCaprio, May 19

Wear a mask, but skip the gloves. Don't sanitize the apples. And if you are older than 65, it's probably best to still order your groceries online.

As a food virologist, I hear a lot of questions from people about the coronavirus risks in grocery stores and how to stay safe while shopping for food amid the pandemic. Here are answers to some of the common questions.

https://www.bkreader.com/2020/05/20/heres-how-to-stay-safe-while-buying-groceries-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic/

https://bgr.com/2020/05/19/coronavirus-food-safety-tips-grocery-shopping-wear-a-mask/

https://www.indiatimes.com/technology/science-and-future/washing-vegetables-to-using-gloves-virologist-busts-covid-19-myths-on-food-shopping-513693.html

https://www.expressnews.com/news/article/Here-s-how-to-stay-safe-while-buying-groceries-15280166.php
The Conversation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TICHjPLwcIY https://theconversation.com/heres-how-to-stay-safe-while-buying-groceries-amid-the-coronavirus-pandemic-138683

New bioinsecticide promises help with tree nut pests

(Farm Press) Tim Hearden, May 19

….“Based on what I hear from some growers and the biopesticide industry data, there has been a steady increase in biopesticide use,” said Surendra Dara, a University of California Cooperative Extension entomologist.

https://www.farmprogress.com/crop-protection/new-bioinsecticide-promises-help-tree-nut-pests

These 5 foods show how coronavirus has disrupted supply chains

(Nat Geo) Sarah Gibbens, May 19

… “What we have is a low-cost and efficient system that allows for huge variety and attention to individual tastes,” says Daniel Sumner, an economist at the University of California, Davis.

“A dairy farm has milk coming out of the cow into a tank. That milk must be pasteurized and packaged, meeting lots of food safety standards,” says Sumner.

Individual farms generally can't afford the equipment necessary to process milk on site without raising prices significantly. “Nowhere is a dairy farm suited to send milk directly to a store,” Sumner says.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/05/covid-19-disrupts-complex-food-chains-beef-milk-eggs-produce/

Posted on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Strawberry farm stands are gearing up for the 2020 season

Road side stands selling fresh strawberries and vegetables are opening up around the San Joaquin Valley, and are a excellent option for safe shopping, reported Dale Yurong on ABC 30 News in Fresno. 

In keeping with social distancing guidelines, Yurong conducted remote interviews with UC Cooperative Extension advisor Ruth Dahlquist-Willard and agricultural assistant Michael Yang, who work closely with small-scale farmers in Fresno and Tulare counties.

San Joaquin Valley strawberry stands are expected to be open by April 10.

Dahlquist-Willard suggested customers maintain a six-foot space from other shoppers at farm stands and follow other common sense precautions when purchasing the healthful fresh food by, "not touching any produce that you're not planning to buy, leaving as soon as you've made a purchase and washing the produce when you get home . . . . Similar to what we're seeing at farmers markets right now."

UCCE advisor Ruth Dahlquist-Willard speaks remotely with ABC 30 News.

Some valley farmers have been selling their produce at farmers markets out of town and have noticed fewer people are out shopping, Yurong said. They hope more people will stop by the local farm stands, away from the crowded grocery stores, and pick up something straight out of the field.

"My farmers that go to farmers markets, even though the farmers market is still open, they only allow a few people at a time. You don't have a lot of customers walk by just like before," Yang said.

San Joaquin Valley strawberry stands were all expected to be open by April 10, Yurong said.

UCCE ag assistant Michael Yang on the Channel 30 News.
 
Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 8:53 AM
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Food

UCCE ag assistant Michael Yang is a lifeline for Hmong farmers

Long-time UC Cooperative Extension ag assistant Michael Yang broadcasts a weekly "Hmong Agriculture Radio Show," providing a crucial connection for immigrant farmers with ag information and services, reported Jessica Kutz in High Country News.

“His voice is really important,” said Ruth Dahlquist-Willard, UCCE advisor to small-scale farmers in Fresno and Tulare counties.

During his one-hour broadcast on KBIF radio, Yang plays traditional Hmong folk music, reads through market prices for Asian vegetables, provides timely farming advice, pesticide safety and labor information, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration updates. He started the program about 30 years ago.

“A lot of farmers said we need to be aware of what is going on,” he said. “So I talked to my boss and we were able to get some grants to help the radio announce agriculture (information) to the small farm community.” 

The article said Yang first tried to connect with the Hmong community by going door-to-door, but farmers were distrustful of government meddling. With their radios turned to programming in their native language, farmers listen openly.

UCCE agricultural assistant Michael Yang, left, and Van Thao snack on freshly picked melon during a field visit.
Posted on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at 9:25 AM
Tags: Michael Yang (12)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture

Rainy winter is good news for Central Valley strawberries

Abundant rainfall in January and February 2019 bodes well for the forthcoming Central Valley strawberry season, reported Reuben Contreras on ABC Channel 30 Action News in Fresno.

Contreras interviewed Michael Yang, small farms and specialty crops Hmong agricultural assistant with UC Cooperative Extension. 

"We need the water as much as we can right now," Yang said. He said the rain will add to the groundwater supply most farmers use to grow their crops, plus it will make the strawberries sweeter.

Cool weather is also welcome.

"Strawberries need cool weather but in the summer, the hot weather with the variety strawberries will not survive the heat," he said.

In the San Joaquin Valley, strawberries are picked from late March to early June. If the wet weather pattern established in January and February continues through the spring, that could spell trouble for strawberry farmers. Wet strawberries can rot in the field.

The rainy winter means sweet strawberries are on the way, says UC Cooperative Extension small farms and specialty crops Hmong ag assistant Michael Yang. The photo shows Yang with an Asian melon in summer 2018.
Posted on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 2:57 PM
Tags: Michael Yang (12), strawberries (26)
Focus Area Tags: Agriculture, Food

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