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$1.5 million donated to hire UCCE specialist

Thanks to a gift from the California Pistachio Research Board, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will soon be hiring a new UC Cooperative Extension specialist.

Thanks to a gift from the California Pistachio Research Board, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources will soon be hiring a new UC Cooperative Extension specialist, announced Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

The Pistachio Research Board will donate $1.5 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct nut and fruit disease research for six years. This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Davis and housed at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve the pistachio industry's needs.

"On behalf of California's pistachio growers, the California Pistachio Research Board is pleased to invest in the research and extension activities of the University of California and particularly UC Cooperative Extension,” said Bob Klein, manager of the California Pistachio Research Board.

"California farmers, especially pistachio growers, know that research is needed to maintain and improve food production while using our resources wisely and sustainably,” he said. "This position will help address the ever-changing plant disease spectrum in the state, as well as respond to new regulations on both the state and federal levels.”

"The nut and fruit crop pathology specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Pistachio Research Board's generous gift and foresight enables us to begin recruiting immediately,” Allen-Diaz said. "The board's six-year commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”

This is the third UC Cooperative Extension academic position funded through a partnership between the agricultural community and UC ANR. The California Rice Research Board and the California Table Grape Commission were the first to partner with the university in this new public-private funding model to fund UC Cooperative Extension positions.

"Hiring outstanding academics to do research and deliver new knowledge is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to the future of California,” said Allen-Diaz. "This new funding model will enable us to act now to work on needed research and deliver science-based solutions.”

"We value our partnership with the UC and will continue to invest in additional research positions as well as support the ongoing research and extension activities of UC scientists,” Klein said.

To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at [email protected] or (510) 987-9139.

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