Capitol Corridor
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University of California
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Posts Tagged: small farm

Small-scale lamb producer featured in Sac Bee

Dan Macon, a Placerville lamb rancher who last year received UC's Pedro Ilic Award for outstanding farmer, was the subject of a human interest feature in today's Sacramento Bee.

The article said Macon is among Placer County's most successful and sustainable meat purveyors. He sells his product to local restaurants and as part of the Sierra Foothills Meat Buyers Club.

In addition to producing meat, Macon contracts with other farmers to "mow" their cover crops.

Director of UC Cooperative Extension in Placer and Nevada counties, Roger Ingram, told reporter Niesha Lofing that such sustainable farming efforts are what set Macon apart.

"He thinks of the community even before himself," Ingram was quoted. "I think that Dan symbolizes that there is potential out there (for small farm operations)."

Dan Macon, with Shermain Hardesty of the Small Farm Program, receives the Pedro Ilic Award.
Dan Macon, with Shermain Hardesty of the Small Farm Program, receives the Pedro Ilic Award.

Posted on Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 9:36 AM
Tags: lamb (1), Roger Ingram (5), small farm (2), sustainable (13)

Small farming is a lifestyle worth preserving

Farming is a life of sacrifice, but a part of Americana that should be protected, according to speakers at the California Small Farm Conference, held earlier this month in San Diego.

“You need to know the odds are against you," Michael O’Gorman, executive director of the UC Davis Farmer Veteran Coalition, told young farmers, according to an account published yesterday by the San Diego News Network. FVC helps returning veterans find employment, training and places to heal on America’s farms.

O’Gorman said farmers too often under estimate the value of their services and their contribution to the economy. He encouraged young farmers to be competitive and ethical in developing their businesses.

The article quoted Penny Leff of the UC Small Farm Agricultural Tourism Program in Davis as saying that agritourism “is putting a value on the [farming] experience.”  She told farmers that the public wants to experience farm life and they’re willing to pay for it.

Leff sees tourism as a means for farmers to increase profits as well as to educate the community about farming. Creating relationships between farmers and community members is critical for farmers’ success, according to the Network article, authored by Susan Russo.

The three-day conference included speeches by Rayne Pegg, administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and A.G. Kawamura, Secretary of California Department of Food and Agriculture.

The California Small Farm Conference featured many UC speakers.
The California Small Farm Conference featured many UC speakers.

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 10:54 AM

An A-Plus for "The B Guy"

Eric Mussen is used to fielding questions about honey bees--how and why they gather nectar, honey, propolis and water; how many eggs a queen bee can...

Eric Mussen
Eric Mussen

APICULTURIST ERIC MUSSEN stands amid the almond blossoms at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis. He is the 2010 winner of the statewide Pedro Ilic Outstanding Agriculture Educator. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)


THIS IS THE INSECT that Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen knows from head to thorax to abdomen: the honey bee. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 5:59 PM

Writer retracts criticism of Small Farm Program move

Harry Cline, a longtime ag reporter who writes a weekly column for Western Farm Press, devoted space this week to counter a commentary he published last fall lamenting the ANR decision to close the Small Farm Program. In the column that ran yesterday, Cline noted that the program is not dead; rather its administrative services have been merged into another office.

Cline wrote that UC ANR vice president Dan Dooley and others pointed out the mistake. Dooley told Cline that the goal is to limit administrative costs and provide more support for farm advisors and specialists.

"ANR has taken some disproportionate cuts since the mid 1990s, and Dooley stopped that bleeding," Cline wrote. "Not one farm advisor or specialist position has been eliminated under his watch."

However, the article also said ANR and Cooperative Extension won't return to their old staffing levels because the ag industry has changed in the past 25 years. Today, business professionals - like pest control advisers and private dairy nutritionists - do some of the work that used to be part of farm advisors' jobs.

“The university is being asked to work on bigger issues such as water and water quality, and this is changing the roles of advisors and specialists," Dooley was quoted.

Dan Dooley, center, with Beth Grafton-Cardwell, left, and Barbara Allen Diaz.
Dan Dooley, center, with Beth Grafton-Cardwell, left, and Barbara Allen Diaz.

Posted on Wednesday, February 17, 2010 at 9:15 AM

The California NPR affiliate reports on Small Farm Program closure

The fate of UC's Small Farm Program was the center of a nearly five-minute story on this morning's California Report radio news program. Central Valley bureau chief Sasha Khokha opened her story on the east Fresno farm of strawberry grower Chang Fong. He and his family have for years worked with Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension farm advisor Richard Molinar and his assistant Michael Yang, cooperating on research and gleaning information on farm safety, plant diseases, pests and other ag production and marketing issues.

"Many of our farmers are classified as limited resource farmers," Molinar said. "Many farmers don’t have the resources or personnel to find this information out."

Khokha also interviewed Desmond Jolly, the former director of the Small Farm Program. If you love heirloom tomatoes, Asian greens and organic lettuce mixes, he said, you can thank the UC Small Farm Program.

"Immature tomatoes and iceburg lettuce, that was more or less representative of the kind of past we had in the produce department," Jolly said.

With a budget of less than $250,000, the Small Farm Program helped launch organic agriculture in California, Khokha reported.

"If you look at the returns on the small investments, it’s a huge benefit-cost ratio," Jolly said.

Khokha also spoke to UC ANR vice president Dan Dooley. He said closure of the Small Farm Program is part of a restructuring effort to trim administrative fat, Khokha reported. Small farm advisors won't lose their jobs.

"We’re committed to small farm programs, but it needs to be in the context of a broader agenda to support healthy food systems," Dooley said.

Michael Yang, left, and Richard Molinar talk to a Southeast Asian farmer.
Michael Yang, left, and Richard Molinar talk to a Southeast Asian farmer.

Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 at 10:03 AM
Tags: dooley (0), molinar (0), organic (0), small farm program (0), yang (0)

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