State SARE Coordinator:
Summary of 2014 State/Protectorate PDP Activities and Results:
The 2014 year was another period of little to no PDP activity in California due to expanded administrative duties, which included the orchestration and implementation of a new administrative model for Cooperative Extension programs in three counties, and an extended family medical leave. In 2014 I did establish an online application and review process for administering PDP mini-grants and travel scholarships. A call for proposals was released in October 2014 to fund events in 2015. Unspent PDP funds from prior years (2011-12, 2012-13, and 2013-14) are being used to support ten travel scholarships and three mini-grants. Topics addressed in the mini-grant events include evaluating soil health, agritourism, and the use of a NRCS rangeland evaluation tool. Specific topics covered by travel scholarships vary widely, but generally cover sustainability in viticulture and dairy management, non-chemical IPM practices, small farm programs, post-harvest technology, and strategies in reaching underserved clientele groups.
A goal for the PDP program in California in 2015 is to expend all unspent funds from prior years through the mini-grant and travel scholarship sub-awards. Unfortunately unspent funds from the 2010-11 program year were not completely expended in time and are being returned to Western SARE.
Context and Overview:
Sustainable agricultural/food systems is a core theme throughout the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR). The ANR Strategic Vision 2025 outlines a structure for ANR programs built around four strategic initiatives, two of which are titled Sustainable Food Systems and Sustainable Natural Ecosystems. The College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis is also host to the Ag Sustainability Institute (ASI), which has maintained a strong affiliation with the Western SARE PDP program.
The PDP program is intended to provide professional development opportunities to extension educators within the University of California, NRCS, other higher education institutions, NGOs, and agriculture supporting organizations. This is an a very diverse audience, which is the reason I have established mini-grant and travel scholarship awards to competitively fund projects that can have a broad reach throughout the state. In prior years the mini-grant and travel scholarship awards were successful in reaching a broad audience, even though applicants are restricted to UC ANR academics due to accounting restrictions. Applicants are strongly encouraged to include NRCS staff in their PDP funded programs.
Activities and Methods:
No activities to report for 2014 due to expanded administrative activities and an extended family medical leave. The 2015 report will include the events and activities funded by mini-grant and travel scholarship awards.
PDP-funded Publications/Educational Materials and Products:
No materials or products to report.
Changes in Ag Professionals’ Knowledge, Intention, and Action:
Nothing to report.
Nothing to report.
Involvement of Others in State PDP Planning and Implementation:
I am working on resurrecting the Western SARE PDP advisory committee for California. In prior years the advisory committee included three member; two representing UC ANR and one representing NRCS. I intend to maintain the UC ANR and NRCS representation and seek additional representatives from other institutions.
The role of the committee is to provide input and direction to the annual PDP plan and to participate in the selection criteria and review of mini-grant proposals.