Sunday, January 25, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Secretary: Students needed for ag careers

By
From page A1 | November 14, 2012 |

Karen Ross, California agriculture secretary. Courtesy photo

California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross made her pitch to UC Davis students on Tuesday about the need for fresh ideas in farming and ranching — and how vital communication skills are for the industry.

“To grow enough food to feed 9 billion people by the year 2050, we need every one of you to bring your creativity, your smarts, your problem-solving skills that you’re learning on this campus to agriculture,” she said. “This whole food system needs you and needs your dedication.”

Ross spoke at the Memorial Union before members of the Aggie Ambassadors, students who promote majors within the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to potential students.

Needed, Ross said, are experts in water use, plant science, water quality, air quality, labor. Needed are entomologists and veterinarians. Needed are men and women interested in careers in public policy or in promoting U.S. agriculture abroad.

And needed are researchers who can build the sensors and robotics and other tools needed to meet the challenge of producing more on less arable land, with less water, while meeting stricter environmental rules.

In the 1950s, a farmer might be responsible for feeding fewer than 20 people. Now, a farmer feeds more than 155. At the same time, the percentage of Americans who operate a farm or ranch has shrunk to 2 percent, Ross said.

“They’re feeding everyone else with the lowest cost per capita that’s ever been in this country, which is less than 12 percent of disposable income,” she said. “It’s really important that we’re good communicators so that people understand how agriculture is relevant to their daily life.

“We could spend all day talking about the disconnect between eaters and farmers, but what’s more important is that each one of us is involved in helping people connect to how their food got there, how it was produced and who produced it.”

One example of a gap in understanding: genetically modified crops, or GMOs. Californians recently voted down a ballot measure that would have labeled food products containing them.

Ross said it’s a discussion that needs to go beyond “30-second sound bites.”

“Right now, many people perceive GMO as something that’s only helping some large corporations make a big profit,” she said. “When people can see that there’s something in it for them and they can understand the environmental benefits that can happen, you can have a better, informed discussion.

“At the end of the day, everyone is an environmentalist. Everyone wants food safety. But really what people are yearning for is transparency in the food system because they feel disconnected from it. I think we’ve gotten ourself into this quandary with science getting so far ahead of where the population is. … We don’t have a population that can easily understand it.”

Ross said she supported the contention of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, whom she formerly served as chief of staff, that “a continuum of business and farming practices” is good for farmers and consumers.

“It’s critically important that we don’t try to drive this one way or the other but allow for that diversity which will give us resiliency in our food system,” she said.

More understanding is also needed on the part of people “embedded in government’s lower levels … who are locked into a 1960s, ’70s mind-set that farmers are just out to destroy the Earth.”

In fact, environmentalists and farmers began coming together more often in the late 1980s, when environmentalists saw the gains that could be made by working with private landowners, she said.

In Sacramento, she said, Gov. Jerry Brown has encouraged members of his cabinet to “smash the silos” and think about how a change in policy might affect, say, farmers, endangered species, water quality, air quality and labor, rather than just one of those areas.

Ross said California should remain of central importance in solving the world’s pressing food needs, in part because of its geographic location, with ports serving Asia, its cutting-edge technology and farming practices, and its 400 crops.

“We grow what everyone understand they need more of,” she said. “When you think about the USDA dinner plate and the revised nutritional guidelines, it has California written all over it in great big letters: more fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, lean dairy proteins, whole grains.”

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net or 530-747-8046. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Bridges of Yolo County: Wear, tear … repair?

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Four days of unusual, adventuresome music

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Spanish police arrest 4 suspected members of a jihadi cell

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Rockets kill 30 in Ukrainian city as rebels launch offensive

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abe ‘speechless’ after video claims IS hostage dead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    GOP presses state bills limiting gay rights before ruling

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Abortion opponents express renewed hope at California rally

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Share your love (story) with us

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Fake schools draw federal scrutiny

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Winter produce available at Sutter market

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    Vote for your favorites in Readers’ Choice poll

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Donations to be distributed during homeless count

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

     
    Speaker will share computer security tips

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

    Logos Books celebrates 5 years, offers language groups

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Australian olive oil company opens U.S. headquarters in Woodland

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Explore at the YOLO Outdoor Expo

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Pedal around Davis on weekly bike ride

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    Yolo animal shelter seeking rawhide donations

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5

    Woodland Healthcare employees take Great Kindness Challenge

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

     
    At the Pond: Nest boxes give birds new homes

    By Jean Jackman | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    California ranks worst in nation for guidance counselors

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

     
    Davis, Woodland are saving water

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A12

    Words and Music Festival events

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A12

     
    .

    Forum

    Family isn’t keen on relationship

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: A8

     
     
    Caring for the aging mouth

    By Samer Alassaad | From Page: A8

    Big utilities’ nightmare begins to play out

    By Tom Elias | From Page: A10

     
    Mayor’s Corner: Let’s renew Davis together

    By Dan Wolk | From Page: A10

    We have the right to choose

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    We don’t have to suffer

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    City helped immensely

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Rick McKee cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    When measles spreads from Disneyland, it’s a small world after all

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: A11

     
    From innovation parks to innovative buildings and planning

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A11

    .

    Sports

    Wildcats’ inaugural kids development league exceeds expectations

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Aggies get top 2015 gymnastics score, but fall short

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Loud crowd sees DHS boys win

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Lady Devils hold off Pacers, stay perfect in league

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

    UCD men take two tennis matches

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Watney in ninth at Humana Challenge

    By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B8

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    .

    Business

    Davis man focusing on cannabidiol business

    By Will Bellamy | From Page: A9

     
    Marrone Bio’s Regalia approved for new uses in Canada

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9

     
    UCD grad makes insurance ‘hot 100′ list

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

    Yolo County real estate sales

    By Zoe Juanitas | From Page: A9

     
    .

    Obituaries

    .

    Comics

    Comics: Sunday, January 25, 2015

    By Creator | From Page: B8