American agriculture would not be the driving force it is today without the commitment to education of visionaries more than a century ago.
Numerous celebrations of the nation’s Cooperative Extension service were celebrated in America’s most productive agricultural state – California – on May 8 (the anniversary of the passage of the Smith-Lever Act), including one at a community garden in Fresno. The event included local farm advisors sharing the important role agricultural research plays in helping commercial growers and homeowners alike.
Local schools and dignitaries visited Fresno’s Garden of the Sun for a day of scientific education, discovery and a chance to talk with farm advisors, master gardeners, nutrition staff and others about the importance of agricultural education and research.
Exhibits showcased local programs, including University of California Research and Experiment Stations such as the ones at Kearney and the West Side RES, 4-H programs, master gardener activities and nutrition education.
1. Citrus Experiment Station
The Citrus Experiment Station at UC Riverside was one of the first Ag experiment stations established in California after passage of the Hatch Act 25 years after President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law. The other experiment station was located in Davis, Calif.
The marker here reads: “The University of California established the Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside in 1906 and moved it into the central and south buildings of this mission revival style group in 1918, initiating the present campus. Here Herbert John Webber, Leon D. Batchelor, Alfred M. Boyce, E.T. Bartholomew, Homer Champan, Howard S. Fawcett, Howard B. Frost, Walter P, Kelley, Leo J. Klotz, James W. Lesley, H.J. Quayle, Harry Smith and other researchers made discoveries advancing agriculture in California and the world.”
2. 4-H youth
Local 4-H programs are one of several activities the Cooperative Extension service promotes throughout the United States.
3. Local Ag leaders
Shannon Mueller, left, is the county director of the Fresno County office of the University of California Cooperative Extension. She was joined at a celebration in Fresno by Fresno County Supervisor Phil Larson, who is also a farmer and retired crop consultant.
4. Soil scientist
University of California Farm Advisor and soils expert Jeff Mitchell, center, demonstrates soil erosion for those attending a centennial celebration of the Cooperative Extension program. The event was held at a community garden in Fresno, Calif.
5. Microscopic view
Microscopes reveal view of nematodes at the UC Cooperative Extension's centennial celebration in Fresno, Calif.
6. University researcher
Jeff Dahlberg, left, is the director of the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Parlier, Calif. Here he educates students about microscopic organisms found in soil.
7. Fresno Farm Advisor
One of the newer farm advisors in California, Gurreet Brar is the tree nut crop specialist in Fresno and Madera counties. Brar speaks about his life as a farm advisor to Valley walnut, almond and pistachio growers.
8. Busy Bees Honey Farm
Lynette Ballis, owner of Busy Bees Honey Farm in Sanger, Calif., helps students understand the importance of pollinators to agriculture.
9. Queen bee
A queen bee laying eggs in an observation hive, at the center of the photo, captured some curious looks from students during an event celebrating the centennial of the Cooperative Extension service at a community garden in Fresno, Calif.
10. Future farm advisors?
Could these boys be future farm advisors? Who knows, but they did get a glimpse at some of what farm advisors do during a field trip to Garden of the Sun, a Fresno garden built with help of the UC Cooperative Extension.
11. Garden of the Sun
Fresno's Garden of the Sun played host to the centennial celebration of the UC Cooperative Extension program, providing children and adults a glimpse into agricultural research programs provided by America's land grant institutions.