Friday, July 25, 2014
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

    Tech Trekkers boldly go into STEM fields

    By Amy Jiang | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Decoding breast milk secrets reveals clues to lasting health

    By Pat Bailey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    California climate change policies to hit our pocketbooks

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

     
    Davis braces for six days of scorching heat

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Appeals court upholds high-speed rail route

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

    Carwash raises funds for funeral expenses

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Unitarians will host summer camp

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Artists, photographers invited to support Yolo Basin Foundation

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Sudwerk’s sales grow, floating on a sea of dry hop lager

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A4 | Gallery

     
    Wetlands visitors will see migrating shorebirds

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6 | Gallery

    ‘Bak2Sac’ free train ride program launched

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Explorit: Wonderful wetlands right at home

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Recycle old paint cans for free

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    Where your gas money goes

    By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A12

    Americans, internationals make connections

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16

     
    Can you give them a home?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16 | Gallery

    STEAC needs donations of personal care items

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A16, 1 Comment

     
    .

    Forum

    Trio disagrees on best option

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Commenting system to change

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10, 32 Comments

     
    Support these local restaurants

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

    Let’s get the bench repaired

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A10

    Predicting climate changes

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 1 Comment

     
    Clinton’s book is worth a read

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10, 3 Comments

    Thanks for emergency help

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A10

     
    .

    Sports

    Hudson solid, Hamels better in Giants’ loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Petrovic, Putnam share Canadian Open lead

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Moss powers A’s past Astros

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Enriquez brilliant, but Post 77 season ends with Area 1 loss

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    The un-Armstrong? Tour ‘boss’ Nibali wins Stage 18

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    Clyde Elmore: Art in the Wild

    By Evan Arnold-Gordon | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    ‘A Most Wanted Man’: Superb espionage drama

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    Musicians perform at Sunday service

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A17 | Gallery

     
    .

    Business

    Accord’s latest model is most fuel efficient

    By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

     
     
    .

    Obituaries

    Mary Lita Bowen

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    James Thomas Feather

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    Richard ‘Dick’ Robenalt

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Friday, July 25, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: A13

     
    .

    Real Estate Review

    Featured Listing

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

    Professional Services Directory

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

    Remax

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

    Tracy Harris

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Vaughan Brookshaw

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Lyon Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Sherman Home

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

    Julie Leonard

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

    Ciana Wallace

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

    Melrina A Maggiora

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Joe Kaplan

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

    Jo Vallejo

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

    Karen Waggoner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Jamie Madison

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

    Malek Baroody

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

    Diane Lardelli

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Jason Sull

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Carol Coder

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

    Coldwell Banker

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER13

    Julie Partain

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Lisa Haass

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Leslie Blevins

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

    Yolo FCU

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

    David Campos

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Heather Barnes

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Willowbank Park

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

    Kim Eichorn

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Dana Hawkins & Caitlin McCalla

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

    Susan von Geldern

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Open House Map

    By jboydston | From Page: RER19

    Chris Snow

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

    Travis Credit Union

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

    Lynne Wegner

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Kim Merrel Lamb

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Martha Bernauer

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Patricia Echevarria

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

    Open House Map

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: RER23

    F1rst Street Real Estate

    By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24