Latest Event Updates

Expanding California’s Water Supply

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View of Folsom Lake and Mormon Island during a drought from Beal's Point in Granite Bay, California in February 2014.
View of Folsom Lake and Mormon Island during a drought from Beal’s Point in Granite Bay, California in February 2014.
Nov. 20, 2014
By Kat Kerlin
University of California, Davis

California’s approval of a $7.5 billion water bond has bolstered prospects for expanding reservoirs and groundwater storage, but the drought-prone state can effectively use no more than a 15 percent increase in surface water storage capacity because of lack of water to fill it, according to a new analysis released Nov. 20.

The report by water engineers and scientists with the University of California, Davis, The Nature Conservancy and three prominent water consultants, said California could potentially use up to 6 million acre-feet in combined additional surface and groundwater storage — about a third more capacity than Shasta Reservoir. Exceeding this expansion runs into limits of available precipitation and the ability to transport water.

“Reservoir storage does not equate to water supply,” said Jay Lund, lead author of the report and director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. “Reservoirs cannot supply water without a water supply to fill them first.”

The report, “Integrating Storage in California’s Changing Water System,” evaluates the possibilities of Read the rest of this entry »

Student Farm Still Growing Strong

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Environmental science and management student Alexis Fujii harvests basil in a greenhouse at the Student Farm. (Photo: John Stumbos)
Environmental science and management student Alexis Fujii harvests basil in a greenhouse at the Student Farm. (Photo: John Stumbos)
Nov. 18, 2014
By CA&ES Outlook Magazine
University of California, Davis

Since 1977, the 20-acre Student Farm has given thousands of students with an interest in sustainable agriculture plenty of hands-on opportunities through internships, courses, and part-time jobs.

The heart of the operation is the Market Garden, managed by organic farmer Raoul Adamchak, and the Ecological Garden, managed by horticulturist and educator Carol Hillhouse. The Market Garden grows and sells about $100,000 of produce each year to community subscribers, campus dining services, and the student-run Coffee House. The Ecological Garden is filled with fruit trees, flowers, herbs, and small vegetable plots, and also hosts a Kids in the Garden program for area schoolchildren.

“We’re trying to teach students about the entire food system by involving them in it directly,” said Student Farm director Mark Van Horn. “We help them learn not only ‘what,’ but also ‘how’ and ‘why.’”

Study: Antimicrobial May Damage Liver, Raise Cancer Risk

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The study found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity and compromised liver function in mice. (Photo: Arlington County | http://bit.ly/1yPZOTt )
The study found that triclosan disrupted liver integrity and compromised liver function in mice. (Photo: Arlington County | http://bit.ly/1yPZOTt )

 A common antimicrobial found in common soaps may cause liver damage and raise cancer risk.

Nov. 18, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

Long-term exposure to triclosan, an antimicrobial agent commonly found in a broad array of soaps, shampoos, toothpastes and other consumer products, may have potentially serious health consequences, reports a research team including a UC Davis scientist.

Data from a new study shows that triclosan causes liver fibrosis and cancer in laboratory mice through molecular mechanisms that are also relevant for humans. The study, led by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, appears Nov. 17 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Triclosan’s increasing detection in environmental samples and its increasingly broad use in consumer products may overcome its moderate benefit and present a very real risk of liver toxicity for people, as it does in mice, particularly when combined with other compounds with similar action,” said Robert H. Tukey, a professor in UC San Diego’s departments of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Pharmacology.

Tukey led the study with Professor Bruce D. Hammock, who has a joint appointment in the Department of Entomology and Nematology, and Comprehensive Cancer Center at UC Davis Read the rest of this entry »

UC Davis Students Earn Awards For Work In Agricultural, Resource Economics

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UC Davis ARE Graduate students earn awards at conference in China. Left to Right: Gabriel Lade (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Candidate), Zhu Jing (Dean of the College of Economics and Management at Nanjing Agricultural University), Aleks Schaefer (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student), Firas Abu-Sneneh (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student).
UC Davis ARE Graduate students earn awards at conference in China. Left to Right: Gabriel Lade (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Candidate), Zhu Jing (Dean of the College of Economics and Management at Nanjing Agricultural University), Aleks Schaefer (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student), Firas Abu-Sneneh (UC Davis ARE Ph.D. Student).
Nov. 14, 2014
By Julie McNamara
UC Davis Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Three UC Davis doctoral students in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) have received awards for research papers presented by graduate students at the 2014 International Conference on Food Security and Rural Development. The conference was held in October at Nanjing Agricultural University in China.

Aleks Schaefer received first prize in the rural finance category for the paper he presented, “Bilateral Trade Agreements, Climate Change, and Access to Fresh Produce: An Application to Thompson Seedless Table Grapes.”  The paper presents a conceptual framework to investigate the extent to which free trade agreements (FTAs) can improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Schaefer estimates the effects of the U.S.-Chile FTA on out-of-season access to fruits and vegetables and the degree to which FTAs can smooth in-season price spikes caused by extreme weather-related yield losses.

Firas Abu-Sneneh received second prize in the agricultural economics and rural resources category. He presented a paper co-authored with ARE professors Colin Carter and Aaron Smith, “Retail Gasoline Overcharge with Mandatory Ethanol Blending.”  The paper measures the economic effects of the U.S. EPA ethanol mandate on the pricing of ethanol in relation to gasoline blendstock and the associated impact on the retail price of blended gasoline. The authors find that refiners and blenders bid the price of ethanol above its energy content value to capture some of the blending profit ensured by the blending mandate. Read the rest of this entry »

Fresh Idea Brings Campus Produce to UC Davis Pantry

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UC Davis student Kiko Barr helps select and deliver fresh produce to the UC Davis pantry. (UC Davis)
UC Davis student Kiko Barr helps select and deliver fresh produce to the UC Davis pantry. (UC Davis)

Fresh Focus brings campus-grown produce to students using a food pantry at UC Davis.

Nov. 12, 2014
By Julia Ann Easley
University of California, Davis

Fresh Focus brings campus-grown produce to students using a food pantry at UC Davis. The student-initiated program delivers blemished or surplus produce from the Student Farm for free distribution at The Pantry, a program of the Associated Students at UC Davis.

Campus-grown produce, delivered by bicycle and offered at a UC Davis food pantry, is warming not only the stomachs of students, but also their hearts.

“The fresh produce is very helpful to the pantry experience,” said Sebastian Cano, a fourth-year student from Oakland, California, who recently took home two melons with some canned soup and pineapple.

“We’re receiving help from our student government,” the political science major said. “We’re also receiving the freshest, most organic ingredients — just as if we’re at the farmers market, just as if we’re at the grocery store.”

Students learn to grow produce sustainably at the iconic Student Farm and sell it for use in campus dining halls or through subscription market baskets in the community.

A Fresh Focus, a new campus program now in its first full quarter, collects some of what’s left — surplus, blemished or odd-shaped produce — and makes it available at The Pantry, a unit of the Associated Students at UC Davis. Read the rest of this entry »

UC Davis Honored For International Leadership

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Jim Hill, right, associate dean for International Programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, discusses crop health with two Afghan agriculturists. (Courtesy UC Davis/International Programs)
Jim Hill, right, associate dean for International Programs in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis, discusses crop health with two Afghan agriculturists. (Courtesy UC Davis/International Programs)

University receives honors for agricultural leadership in Afghanistan.

Nov. 5, 2014
By Pat Bailey
University of California, Davis

The Afghanistan Agricultural Extension Project, coordinated by the University of California, Davis, since 2011 to help rebuild Afghanistan’s agricultural industry, has been selected to receive a 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary’s Honor Award in the global food security category, the highest award given by USDA.

The award recognizes exceptional leadership contributions or public service in support of USDA’s missions and goals. It will be presented today, Nov. 5, in Washington D.C. to Jim Hill, associate dean for International Programs, UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; and Michael McGirr, national program leader, USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture’s Center for International Programs.

“This award acknowledges the creativity of our partner universities and the dedication of many Afghan nationals who have worked hard to rebuild the Afghanistan agricultural extension system,” said Hill, who is also a UC Cooperative Extension plant science specialist at UC Davis.

“We have tried to instill a farmer-first, demand-driven extension system and we have been very pleasantly surprised at the ownership taken by the Afghan extension staff even under the most difficult of conditions,” Hill said. Read the rest of this entry »