Debora Bacon, a native of Brazil and veterinarian who holds a master's degree in dairy science, has been named the UC Cooperative Extension dairy farm advisor for Tulare County, the No. 1 dairy county in the United States. Bacon began her new job Feb. 1.
Bacon earned her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Botucatu, Brazil. She earned her dairy science master's degree at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 2003. Bacon moved to the Tulare area two years ago and held positions with the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare and the UC Cooperative Extension office in Kings County. Her experience in California has included troubleshooting mastitis outbreaks, evaluating milking machines, conducting research work and statistical analyses.
Bacon said she is looking forward to the challenge of advising farmers in a county that milks more than 400,000 cows on a daily basis.
"Tulare County is a reference point for dairy production in the U.S.," Bacon said. "At farm shows out of the area, it's not uncommon to hear references to what's happening in Tulare County."
The economic importance of the Tulare County dairy industry goes beyond its $1 billion farm gate value. It supports a local, vital cheese processing industry and, by purchasing commodity feeds and agricultural by-products for the cows to eat, supports many other agricultural sectors. The dairy industry is also a critical part of the development of a new ethanol industry in Tulare County. Dairy cows eat brewers grains, an ethanol production by-product. Without this outlet, the new industry would not be feasible.
"The dairy industry has vast economic importance in Tulare County because of the value of dairy products produced here and the many jobs both on and off the farm that support it. Dairies also figure prominently in regulatory planning for air and water quality in Tulare and the San Joaquin Valley," said Jim Sullins, the director of UC Cooperative Extension in Tulare County. "The need for good science has become apparent to industry and regulatory agencies as solutions to the environmental concerns are developed."
In her new position, Bacon will start by consulting with Tulare dairy producers, other Cooperative Extension dairy advisors and campus-based specialists and professors to determine what needs her primary research and education program should address.
Bacon said she intends to spend time becoming familiar with regulations related to air and water quality.
"Regulations are changing quickly," she said. "Understanding the impact of these regulations can be challenging and one of my priorities will be ensuring that local farmers have the necessary information to comply with these regulations."