People under a tent
During the annual UC Davis Picnic Day festivities, Department of Plant Sciences Professor Steve Fennimore, far right, is among the faculty that staff “The Weed Doctor” tent, a popular attraction each year. The Weed Research and Information Center at UC Davis contributes to outreach about weeds to both the general public and to agricultural and natural resource land managers and regulatory agencies. (UC Davis)

Department faculty support UC ANR conference with expertise, commitment

Gathering includes long-term vision for California ag

Eight faculty from the Department of Plant Sciences are heading to a statewide convention next week, with the aim of helping to improve the statewide outreach that brings the latest university research and best practices to farmers, ranchers and others in the field of agriculture.

People in a classroom
Department of Plant Sciences Professor of Teaching Amanda Crump gives a workshop on how to communicate with adults about scientific topics.

The University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is hosting the 2023 Statewide Conference next week in Fresno. ANR’s vision is for a thriving California full of healthy people and communities, supported by healthy food systems and environments.

The faculty members are Mark Lundy, Astrid Volder, Amanda Crump, Brad Hanson, Bruce Linquist, Leslie Roche, Steven Fennimore and Lorence Oki. Agriculturalists know them for their years of committed research and outreach, sharing their expertise and experience in their respective fields through the UC Cooperative Extension program. UC Extension specialists work in every county in California.

“The power of Cooperative Extension is the cumulative effort of our network of campus and county-based academics,” said Hanson, a professor of Cooperative Extension and weed management expert. “Together, we are conducting research that addresses real-world issues, combined with the two-way communication and trust we have with our stakeholder groups. The UC ANR Statewide Conference is a great way to maintain and build relationships with our UCCE colleagues around the state who are working on similar issues.”

Workshops offered, working groups planned

Crump will co-teach workshops on how adults learn and, related, how to communicate about tough scientific topics with a lay audience.

“We’ll be talking about research on brain science and learning, and how to communicate when communication can be challenging,” said Crump, an associate professor of teaching and an expert in international agricultural development. “We already have 150 people are registered for each session!”

Steve Fennimore, also a weed management expert and a professor of UC Extension, said he looks forward “to attending the weed workgroup and vegetable program team meetings, as well as to interact with colleagues from around the state.”

Women in foreground, sheep in background in pasture
Department of Plant Sciences Associate Professor Leslie Roche brings her expertise in sustainable pastureland management to the UC ANR statewide conference. (Leslie Roche/UC Davis)

Leslie Roche, an associate professor of Cooperative Extension who specializes in rangelands and pasturelands, will show work her group has been doing to harness big data to build climate resilience on the state’s working rangelands. “We are combining remote sensing and on-ranch monitoring data to inform adaptive management within the context of climate change and weather extremes,” Roche explained. “This is a statewide, collaborative research project that includes AES faculty, CE specialists and advisors, and ranchers.”

Strategic visioning

During the conference, attendees will hear about the state’s current and future challenges, share best practices and think about how UC ANR can best serve state residents through the next 15 years. That strategic vision is expected to include challenges in the areas of water, sustainability, natural ecosystems, food security and safety, invasive pests, energy security and the health of both California’s people and economy.

They’ll also discuss key agricultural areas including range and livestock, agronomic crops, environmental horticulture and pest managements. In addition, groups will meet on wildfire resilience, youth programs, diversity, Native American partnerships, career readiness, safety and climate change.

Media Resources

Learn more about the UC ANR Statewide Conference 2023.

  • Trina Kleist,, (530) 601-6846

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