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Triticale to rise in the world of baked deliciousness

Craft bakers love adding a little triticale to breads for its subtle blend of nutty and earthy flavors and its moist, slightly chewy texture. Farmers love the grain mainly for forage: It produces bigger yields with less water and fertilizer compared to wheat. Now, Joshua Hegarty and colleagues across the country will work on combining those qualities to create new varieties of triticale that are good for bread-baking at commercial scale, and still offer good value for growers.

Taylor to help write roadmap for a sustainable planet

How can nations avert planetary catastrophe? Gail Taylor, chair of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, has been asked to help write a United Nations report offering practical ways to put Earth on a path to sustainability by 2050.

The U.N. Environmental Program has brought together hundreds of scientists from around the world to examine current national policies and offer action plans for tackling climate change, biodiversity loss, energy, pollution, waste and land degradation. The report, Global Environment Outlook, will be released in 2026.

DEI scholar: Catelyn Bridges

In 2017, Catelyn Bridges was 23, from Omaha, Neb., and starting graduate school at Texas A&M University. It was the first time in her life she saw someone like herself in a faculty position: a Black woman in the sciences.

“She really gave me the insight into what a faculty member could be on a research-teaching appointment,” Bridges recalled. “You can have a family and also do what you love and teach and mentor. That was the first insight I had that I wanted to be a professor.”

DEI scholar: Anca Barcu

The Communists seized the family farm 70 miles outside Bucharest, Romania, and left Anca Barcu’s grandmother with her house and a half-acre of land. Then, they trucked off the family’s two white oxen – their tractor and transport. Barcu’s parents worked in the capital, but couldn’t afford to keep her with them, so from the age of 10 months, she grew up with her widowed grandmother in the country. At 3, the little girl pestered to have her own tiny flower garden until, finally, the family gave in.

Almonds and pistachios face international challenges

Tree nut experts from around the world are gathering at the UC Davis Convention Center this week to discuss the challenges faced by the people growing and processing almonds and pistachios. Researchers are outlining possible solutions and exchanging ideas for how to combat problems of water scarcity, increasingly saline water and soils, rising wintertime temperatures and new pests that come with the changing conditions.

Ferguson named ASHS Fellow

Louise Ferguson has been named a fellow of the American Society for Horticultural Science and will be inducted into the organization’s 60th class of fellows at a ceremony Aug. 1. The award recognizes decades of leadership and, more recently, Ferguson’s efforts to build a leadership training program for younger members.

The recognition is “more than well-deserved and should have happened YEARS ago!” wrote ASHS Executive Director Michael Neff. ASHS fellows are elected “in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science, profession, or industry of horticulture,” he added.

Retiring faculty honored for 2023

Five retired faculty from the Department of Plant Sciences will be honored for their outstanding scholarship, the global impact of their contributions to their fields, their service, their expansive teaching and their generous mentoring. A dinner will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, April 28, in the UC Davis Conference Center.

Department Chair Gail Taylor will host the festivities. Current faculty will introduce the honorees.

John Yoder