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Posts Tagged: economy

Eight (of many) ways UC ANR benefits the California economy

UC ANR works to benefit the California economy by improving agricultural efficiencies, mitigating risk, providing trusted information to inform policy, combating pests and diseases, advancing agriculture technologies and training the next generation of leaders. Additionally, UC ANR improves community health and well-being through nutrition education, saving millions in healthcare costs and reducing monthly grocery bills. UC ANR's work is supported by more than 26,000 volunteers who provide donated service worth $71 million annually.

UC ANR's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) helps limited-resource participants develop food buying and budgeting skills. Graduates save an average of $58.10 in monthly food costs, which collectively saved EFNEP families $1,532,445 last year.

Small farms
UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) research supports small farmers through evaluation of crops and providing business training, among other activities. For example, UCCE is evaluating techniques to optimize coffee production in San Diego County. Specialty coffees could be valued at $50,000 per acre compared to $10,000 to $20,000 per acre for citrus or avocadoes. Small-scale prospective coffee growers learned it is possible to grow their own nursery plants, reducing startup costs, and are trialing coffee using plant starts provided by UCCE. Another example is in California's Sierra Foothills, home to a diversity of small farms with a wide variety of crops. UC ANR provides on-farm workshops focused on building producers' skills in economic and market analysis, risk management and business planning. UCCE advisors and specialists have also provided COVID-19-related information in Chinese and Spanish for immigrant farmers, and helped Asian and Latino small farmers complete English-language disaster aid applications.

Crop protection
A plant pathology laboratory at the UC West Side Research and Extension Center rapidly diagnosed late blight in tomatoes in Fresno County, and UCCE provided outreach and education on an effective treatment. The late blight was treated and did not become an issue; if it had gone untreated, 155 acres of tomatoes worth $700,000 could have been ruined.

We work with California's grape industry to meet sustainable production goals and improve adaptability to a changing climate, through research and extension in plant material selection, pest and disease management, irrigation and natural resource stewardship. Our scientists are active in invasive species response and played a pivotal role in the eradication of the European grapevine moth from our state.

Crop safety
During the devastating 2018 fire season, growers were unsure if forage crops covered in ash were safe for animals to eat. A collaborative effort with a veterinary toxicologist to collect and analyze samples determined there was no contamination due to the fires. It was important to verify the safety and quality of the crops as toxic impacts could have been financially devastating to the $6.37 billion forage crop industry.

Analysts estimate wildfire damage to California winegrapes amounts to as much as $3.7 billion annually. Growers and wine buyers rely on UC ANR research on the effects of smoke and ash on grapes to make informed decisions and protect their livelihoods.

Pest management
Adoption of UC Integrated Pest Management practices in California provides an estimated annual benefit of $323 million to $500.5 million for agriculture alone. For example, pest control advisers in the San Joaquin Valley participated in a UCCE project using mating disruption to reduce navel orangeworm infestations. This “green” technology increased the almond crop value by more than $250 per acre, which is more than twice the cost of applying the technique. Mating disruption technology is available to use in all nut crops, which is about 2.2 million acres. If just 25% of farmers from California's $6 billion almond industry adopted these green technologies to fend off the navel orangeworm, it could save growers up to $10 million per year.

UC ANR Cooperative Extension research and outreach have been instrumental in the development of drip irrigation, which is now used on approximately 40% of irrigated cropland in California. A recent study valued the additional revenue attributable to this research at between $78 million and $283 million per year.

Crop varieties
Approximately 95% of California's rice acreage is planted with varieties that have been evaluated in UCCE variety trials, indicating very high levels of adoption of improved varieties. These varieties have allowed growers to maintain high productivity.

UC ANR works to bring new pathogen-tested citrus varieties to California growers. In 2019, nine varieties that completed therapy and testing were introduced by large citrus producers in the state. Thousands of farm and agricultural industry supporting jobs could be maintained or created in the next few years as these and additional new varieties are propagated, grown in the field, commercially grown, and moved to market for consumers.

California's wildfires have consumed increasing resources every year due to climate change and more people moving to fire-prone areas. UC Fire Advisors routinely host prescribed fire workshops throughout California, helping private landowners understand the benefits and techniques for using prescribed burns. UC Cooperative Extension Advisors in Humboldt County spurred creation of the first prescribed burn association in the West, which proliferated to six other counties across the state.

UC advisors have developed new technologies to help prevent wildfires. These include Evalutree, an app-based assessment tool designed to expedite and simplify tree surveys by PG&E, and Match.Graze, a web-based platform that connects private landowners with livestock owners that offer grazing services to reduce fire fuels.

Additionally, UCCE researchers released a free 20-page publication, “How to Harden Homes against Wildfire” (

2017 prescribed burn training in Humboldt County
2017 prescribed burn training in Humboldt County

2017 prescribed burn training in Humboldt County

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 4:25 PM
Tags: economy impact (0)
Focus Area Tags: Economic Development

Solve economy, wildfires woes at same time

Forest restoration would be one way to improve our economy, writes researcher Tong Wu of the Center for Forestry and UC Berkeley on CNN's Global Public Square news website. He states that human interference has "made many ecosystems unnaturally susceptible to catastrophic wildfires" and that global warming will exacerbate the problem.

Wildfire damage in Yosemite National Park. Photo by Mike Poe.

"In economic analyses of environmental management projects across the western United States, ecological restoration produced multiplier effects (the economic 'bang for the buck' of every dollar spent) that were higher than the estimated impacts of the 2009 government stimulus," he wrote.

Posted on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:30 AM
Tags: economy (21), forest (19), forestry (5), jobs (5), wildfire (163), Wong Tu (1)

E-Verify is 'divisive,' says Monterey Herald columnist

Pending federal legislation that would require employers to check worker eligibility using an system called E-Verify is divisive and unrealistic, writes attorney Dirk Stemermen in his Monterey Herald column "On the Job."

"Nothing turns conservative 'growers' into immigrant-rights advocates quicker than obligatory E-Verify use," Stemermen said.

E-Verify, which checks information from an employee's I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form against government records to determine U.S. employment eligibility, is already in use in Arizona, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama.

Stemermen said that economists at UC Davis and the USDA released a study last month concluding that such crackdowns on undocumented farmworkers raise labor costs as documented workers demand better wages and working conditions.

The columnist seems to be referring to research covered in a recent UC Davis news story that said immigration reform and stricter enforcement of current immigration laws could significantly boost labor costs for California’s $20 billion fresh fruit, nut and vegetable crops.

“California’s produce industry depends on a constant influx of new, foreign-born laborers, and more than half of those are unauthorized laborers, primarily from Mexico,” the news release quoted Phillip Martin, a professor of agricultural and resource economics and one of the nation’s leading authorities on agricultural labor.

“The cost of hiring these laborers will likely rise as the U.S. government ramps up enforcement of immigration laws by installing more physical barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border and requiring more audits of workers’ I-9 employment verification forms,” Martin says.

Stemermen also raised the issue of farmworker overtime pay in his column. California farmworkers don't receive overtime pay unless they work more than 10 hours in a day or 60 hours in a week.

"Verifying employment eligibility through E-Verify or paying California farmworkers more overtime would lead to higher farmworker wages and create jobs for documented workers. But because farmworkers are so poorly paid for the unwanted, arduous work they perform, perhaps a bit of realism needs to be injected into the immigration debate," Stemermen wrote.

Farmworkers harvest vegetables in the Salinas Valley.
Farmworkers harvest vegetables in the Salinas Valley.

Posted on Monday, July 11, 2011 at 9:24 AM
Tags: economy (21), farm labor (1), farm workers (1), immigration (4)

Trade conflict with Mexico impending

California farmers will have to pay millions of dollars to Mexican authorities to export their products to the neighboring country if a trucking dispute is not resolved before summer, according to an article in La Opinión. Mexico plans to impose the new tariff in retaliation for the cancellation of a U.S. pilot program that permitted Mexican trucks to transport goods on U.S. highways.

The Border Trade Alliance reported this week that California agriculture will be the second most impacted economic sector if the two countries do not reach an agreement in relation to the free passage of Mexican trucks in U.S. territory, the article said.

"The retaliatory tariffs that Mexico has imposed on U.S. goods in response to the trucking impasse are hurting the U.S. economy and are a drag on President Obama's goal to double exports," BTA president Nelson Balido said in a statement released by the organization. "As Texas A&M University's Center for North American Studies recently reported, the U.S. agriculture sector alone has been negatively affected by the tariffs to the tune of $153 billion."

La Opinión reporter Claudia Nuñez spoke to the director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, Dan Sumner, about the potential economic impact of the trade dispute.

"California exports about 20 percent if its agricultural production, principally to Mexico," he was quoted in the article.

U.S. and Mexican governments are involved in a a cross-border trucking dispute that could hurt both countries.
U.S. and Mexican governments are involved in a a cross-border trucking dispute that could hurt both countries.

Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2011 at 8:45 AM
Tags: Dan Sumner (32), economy (21), Mexico (1), trade (11)

It's boon time for beef producers

Cattle ranchers are enjoying an economic boon, reported Reed Fujii of the Stockton Record. In March, beef cattle were being sold at an all-time high of $1.16 a pound, a jump of more than 40 percent in less than two years.

"Prices are good. They've never been this good before," the story quoted Galt rancher Duane Martin Jr.

Dan Sumner, director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center, told Fujii the primary driver of the price hike is short beef supply.

"One of the things that happened a few years ago: We had these incredibly high grain prices, and beef prices didn't go up, so that meant guys were selling," Sumner was quoted.

In addition, it takes time to beef up production.

"Cattle make cattle; the only way you make marketable animals is to have breeding stock," Sumner said.

To do so, however, will further reduce beef supplies in the short run.

A steak house owner told Fujii that so far he has not increased the prices of beef on the menu.

"I've absorbed everything for the last year or so on beef," he said.

High beef prices make for happy cowboys.
High beef prices make for happy cowboys.

Posted on Monday, April 25, 2011 at 9:34 AM
Tags: beef (7), Dan Sumner (32), economy (21)

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