Pumpkin Social a smashing success

Children and elders alike enjoyed the Department of Plant Sciences' 2023 Pumpkin Social, the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic the annual even has returned in-person. At least 400 people attended, said organizer Vincent Vasquez, the department's new administrative assistant. Special thanks go to the helpers including co-organizer Susan Hendrickson, the department's administrative assistant for purchasing.

Grant expands the SCOPE of organic ag education

UC Davis’ student-led program in organic farming will expand to include new crops and new partners, with the aim of exporting its educational the model to other institutions. The expansion is being funded with a $2-million grant from the Organic Research and Extension Initiative, part of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Profile: Leslie Roche – Associate professor of Cooperative Extension

Leslie Roche is an associate professor of Cooperative Extension with the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences, with a focus on management of rangelands and pasture. Roche's early work as a Graduate Student Research award recipient helped lay the foundation for the later establishment of the UC Rangelands Research and Information Center, where she is now director. Her related work includes irrigated pasture management, ecology of grazing lands, grazing systems, drought and climate change adaptation.

Profile: Betsy Karle – UCCE director in Glenn & Tehama counties

Betsy Karle is the dairy advisor and county director for UC Cooperative Extension. She’s based in Glenn County, but provides support to producers from the Oregon border on down throughout the Sacramento Valley. She has been recognized by UC ANR for her outstanding service and teamwork. Dairy creates California’s No. 1 agricultural product, worth $7.6 billion in 2022, according to the state Department of Food and Agriculture.

Hanson named fellow of Western Society of Weed Science

Folks in Davis know Brad Hanson as the Weed Doctor, always available during the annual UC Davis Picnic Day festivities to answer questions about what’s that growing in the yard. He's equally knowledgeable about solving farmers’ issues, and that commitment was recognized recently when he was named a fellow of the Western Society of Weed Science. The distinction is the society’s highest honor and recognizes people who have made significant contributions to the society and to the discipline of weed science.

African scientists embark on pioneering CRISPR course

Top plant scientists from across Africa have just completed the first phase of a ground-breaking course in gene editing for crops: It aims to harness a cutting-edge breeding tool to adapt African agriculture to growing populations and the threat of climate change.

“The talent’s there. We just need to enable it,” said Allen Van Deynze, of the UC Davis Department of Plant Sciences. “We’re enabling it with training, with tools and with support for their labs. That’s part of our program.”

Dubcovsky recognized with Meyer medal for advancing wheat breeding

Jorge Dubcovsky and researchers in his lab have been recognized for providing basic genetic information about wheat and improved germplasm that is being used by scientists around the world to improve “the staff of life.” Those efforts are bringing new varieties of wheat to farmers adapting to new conditions. For his leadership in those efforts, Dubcovsky was awarded the Frank N. Meyer Medal for Plant Genetic Resources, and a $2,000 prize, at the recent annual meeting of the Crop Science Society of America.