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Posts Tagged: Jim Sullins

UC ANR rebuilds its academic staff

Barbara Allen-Diaz, left, and Chris Greer spoke with AgAlert about their efforts to rebuild the ranks of UC Cooperative Extension academics.
By hiring 68 new UC Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists since 2010 - and with 23 positions being actively recruited plus more planned - UC leaders are reversing a downward trend in the number of UCCE academic staff, reported Ching Lee in AgAlert.

Barbara Allen-Diaz, vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, noted in the story that 2013 was the first time in recent years that UC hired more Cooperative Extension faculty than had retired. In December, she approved hiring of another 29 advisors and 16 specialists for the 2015-16 cycle.

"So we turned the corner for the first time in this long downward spiral," she said. "My goal is to continue to rebuild the footprint of Cooperative Extension."

Lee also interviewed UCCE vice provost Chris Greer, who said he expects ANR to end 2015 with a net gain of academics.

"It's not huge leaps and bounds; it's a small gain, but we're hoping as we continue this process of filling these positions, that we'll start gaining some ground," he said.

Rather than automatically refilling vacant positions, Greer said much thought is put into revamping job descriptions or creating new positions to better fit the evolving needs of agricultural business. To help prioritize which positions should be hired first, UC sought public input, receiving more than 900 individual comments last year, including from agricultural organizations.

Jim Sullins, the UCCE director for Tulare County who is planning to retire in mid-2015, said more advisors are covering multiple counties and must travel longer distances to make farm visits, so they are turning to new communications strategies in their work, such as email, social media, and other web technology. But traditional farm calls are still a mainstay service.

Katherine Pope, the new UC Cooperative Extension orchard systems advisor in Yolo County, was also featured in the AgAlert story. She talked about the importance of having enough staff to enable advisors to call on farmers personally. Pope said going out to the farm gives her a fuller picture of what she's dealing with that she can't get over the phone or with photos via email. Sometimes she may notice other issues unrelated to the original problem, or the visit may prompt other questions from the farmer.

"My job is to spread information and knowledge, and doing that in person is absolutely the best way to do that," she said.

Posted on Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at 9:28 AM

New advisors build on the scientific work of predecessors

Carol Frate, left, and Michelle Le Strange.
When new UC Cooperative Extension advisors come on the job, they aren't starting their programs from scratch. "We are a science-based organization," said Jim Sullins, county director for Tulare UCCE. Academic advisors document their work in reports and papers. "The next advisor can build on their (predecessors') experience, their results and observations."

Sullins was quoted in an article by Luiz Hernandez in the Visalia Time-Delta that focused on the retirements of two long-time Tulare County farm advisors, Michelle Le Strange and Carol Frate, who together represent nearly 70 years of service to farmers, landscape professionals and the public.

"Both Carol and Michelle have been very dedicated advisors, committed to their clientele, and driven to help resolve grower's problems, and helping the general public make informed decisions, based on science," Sullins said. "It will take a lot of adjustment with them not on staff.

Hernandez contacted Frate by phone from vacation in Olympia, Wash. A 36-year UCCE veteran, she commented on a research trial conducted in the 1980s in which she sought to determine how much damage an alfalfa crop sustained if irrigation stopped in the summertime.

"It has come in handy in drought" Frate said. "We showed alfalfa could withstand, survive" a water stoppage.

Le Strange, who completed 31 years with UCCE, said she became interested in food production following a trip to Mexico and Guatemala. She went to college at UC Davis and accepted her position in the San Joaquin Valley.

"We are here to help find solutions for local agriculture problems," she said. "I am proud of all the research I have done."

Posted on Thursday, July 24, 2014 at 1:50 PM
Tags: Jim Sullins (6)

Tulare County supervisors support commercial pack animals in national parks

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted to support a bill introduced by Congressman Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, allowing businesses that rent pack mules and horses to operate in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks while a new wilderness plan is implemented, according to the Visalia Times-Delta.

In 2009 a High Sierra Hikers Association sued the National Park Service for failing to conduct an adequate environmental impact analysis of its wilderness plan. As a result of the suit, a judge ruled that the service no longer has the authority to issue permits to the companies that rent pack animals.

Before the supervisors' vote, Jim Sullins, director of UC Cooperation Extension in Tulare and Kings counties, said years of research done by UC Davis and UC Cooperative Extension wasn't included in the U.S. Park Service's response to the lawsuit.

National Park Service photo.
National Park Service photo.

Posted on Friday, May 11, 2012 at 1:32 PM
Tags: Jim Sullins (6)

Media seek comment from UC experts about cow disease

The case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy discovered in Fresno County is an atypcial varient that happens in cattle similar to sporadic Cruetzfeldt-Jakob, accoring to a report in the Fresno Bee.

Jim Sullins, University of California Cooperative Extension advisor and county director in Tulare and Kings counties, told the Bee classical mad cow disease such as the kind found in England in the 1990s causes cattle to stagger and act erratically. By contrast, cattle affected with the atypical form show no outward signs of being affected but their brain tissues shows deterioration, he said.

The Fresno Bee said the dairy cow was slated to be rendered at a Fresno County plant. Other media reports said the rendering plant is in Hanford. The cow originated at a dairy in Central California.

A story on Fox 40 said the discovery is likely to erode consumer confidence in beef, even though the form detected is technically of no threat to humans.

"It's a three-dimensional protein and it folds and in certain configurations it causes problems in the brain and nervous tissue," said UC Davis veterinary professor and food supply expert Jim Cullor.

Christina Sigurdson, assistant professor of pathology at the University of California at San Diego, said atypical mad cow disease usually occurs in older cattle. The origin is not known. Scientists speculate that atypical mad cow disease happens in cattle similar to sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in people -- a degenerative brain disorder thought to arise without any exposure to prions, or abnormal proteins.

Other UC comments were on:

dairy cattle
dairy cattle

Posted on Wednesday, April 25, 2012 at 8:28 AM

Colorado cantaloupe listeria outbreak affects California growers

A listeria outbreak in Colorado last fall resulted in 30 deaths and more than 146 illnesses.
The Colorado farm linked to a deadly listeria outbreak last fall is 1,300 miles away, but the tragedy changed a way of life in Mendota, Calif., the Central Valley farm town that proudly calls itself the Cantaloupe Center of the World, said an article in the Los Angeles Times by Diana Marcum.

This would normally be the season when farmers plan the summer crop that in good years is valued at nearly $200 million, according to the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board. Instead, they are cutting acreage and scrambling for ways to reassure a nervous public that cantaloupes are safe to eat.

This month the UC Center for Produce Safety will host a closed-door symposium in San Diego for cantaloupe growers, shippers, agricultural researchers, government regulators and others to create guidelines for best growing practices.

"The main question will be, 'What are the gaps in our knowledge?'" said Bonnie Fernandez-Fenaroli, executive director of the UC Davis-based center. "Do we need to do research or is it a matter of the cantaloupe industry implementing and enforcing best practices?"

UCCE director in Tulare County takes Kings County reins
Lewis Griswald, Fresno Bee News Blog

Tulare County UC Cooperative Extension Director Jim Sullins will also be director of the Kings County UCCE office. Longtime Kings County UCCE director and 4-H youth advisor Peggy Gregory retired at the end of the year. She served 37 years with the University, including 20 in Kings County.

Grape growers fend off thieves, pests
Fresno Business Journal

Pests and thieves can cost grape growers a great deal of money and headaches. That’s why the two issues were addressed along with other important topics at the UC Cooperative Extension San Joaquin Valley Grape Symposium held Wednesday in Easton.

UCCE viticulture farm advisor Stephen Vasquez gave an update on glassy-winged sharpshooters and Pierce's disease. He said that recent catches of sharpshooters are concerning since they have been found near a major riparian corridor that has had a historically low level of Pierce’s disease.

Posted on Friday, January 6, 2012 at 10:14 AM

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