Jul 28, 2021
Five academics join University of California Cooperative Extension

Cristina Murillo-Barrick joined University of California Cooperative Extension as an agricultural land acquisitions academic coordinator II on July 15, 2021. She will serve Fresno, Merced and Tulare counties.

In her new role with UCCE, Murillo-Barrick will support the mission of California’s Sustainable Agricultural Land Conservation Program (SALC) to fight climate change by protecting productive farmland. Collaborating with the Strategic Growth Council and the Department of Conservation, she will provide local and regional planning agencies, land trusts, nonprofits, landowners and other stakeholders with input on critical land use issues, strategies and opportunities. This work will involve actively engaging partners, providing technical expertise and enhancing capacity of underserved communities.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Murillo-Barrick has been an environmental science educator at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Yosemite National Park and Shenandoah National Park, trained ecotourism guides, and volunteered for programs in Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Last year she and Clare Gupta, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, teamed up with California Institute for Rural Studies and the Community Water Center to produce the podcast Water is Gold: How Central Valley Communities are Still Fighting the Drought, this work was part of a National Science Foundation-funded multidisciplinary research project that examined the effects of groundwater, drought and climate change.

Clockwise from upper left: Matt Baur, Sandipa Gautam, Moneim Mohamed, Christina Murillo-Barrick and Chandra Richards.

She earned an M.A. in geography, M.S. in community development, B.A. in international relations, and B.A. in Spanish, all from UC Davis. She is fluent in Spanish and trained in both translation and interpretation. Within this position, Murillo-Barrick said she hopes to “support, amplify and expand efforts to achieve agricultural sustainability and address climate change within California’s most impacted communities. A fundamental piece of this work will involve providing sound technical assistance while centering on equity, antiracism and language justice.”

Murillo-Barrick is headquartered in Fresno and can be reached at (559) 458-6193 and [email protected].

Gautam named area citrus IPM advisor

Sandipa Gautam joined UC Cooperative Extension as an area citrus integrated pest management (IPM) advisor on July 12, 2021.

Prior to accepting the UCCE advisor position, Gautam was an assistant research entomologist in the UC Riverside Department of Entomology. Since 2016 she had worked with UCCE specialist Beth Grafton-Cardwell at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center leading a research group that works on IPM in citrus. She has studied fungal feeding mites Lorryia formosa and Tarsonemus bakeri, California red scale, Asian citrus psyllid and the efficacy of treatments against arthropod pests of export concern.

She earned a Ph.D. and M.S. both in entomology from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, and a B.S. in agriculture from Tribhuvan University in Nepal.

Gautam is headquartered at Lindcove Research and Extension Center and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @gautamsandipa.

Baur named Western IPM Center director

After leading the Western Integrated Pest Management Center through the global COVID crisis as acting director, Matt Baur has been named permanent director effective July 1 to lead the center into the post-pandemic future.

Baur, an IPM practitioner and entomologist by training, had been the Western IPM Center’s associate director since 2014.

“Like everyone, the center had to change the way we worked during the pandemic and some of those changes are likely to continue into our future,” Baur predicted. “The region we serve in the West is huge – Guam to Colorado, Alaska to New Mexico – and the remote technologies and virtual platforms we all became familiar with in 2020 can help us connect across those miles.”

Baur’s goals for the center are to build on its successes and expand its outreach to serve new areas and audiences, promoting smart, safe and sustainable pest management across the region to protect the people, environment and economy of the American West.

Before joining the Western IPM Center, Baur worked as a research scientist at DuPont/Pioneer and was a research assistant professor at Louisiana State University. He received his doctorate in entomology at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and his bachelor’s degree in biology from UC San Diego. He is a licensed pest control adviser in the state of California.

Baur is based at the ANR building in Davis and can be reached at [email protected].

Richards named ag land coordinator in SoCal

Chandra Mercedes Richards joined UC Cooperative Extension as agricultural land acquisitions academic coordinator II for San Diego, San Bernardino and Riverside counties on May 10.

As an agricultural lands acquisition academic coordinator II, Richards aims to better support San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego counties through the Sustainable Agricultural Lands Conservation (SALC) grant program.

“More specifically, I will be identifying and addressing regional barriers to land use planning, connecting producers with ANR services and climate-smart technical assistance providers, supporting grant applications and agricultural assessments, and ultimately protecting agricultural systems in perpetuity,” she said.

The East Coast native has lived in California for 11 years and is rooted in San Diego. Prior to joining UC ANR, Richards was a conservation ecologist at the greater San Diego Resource Conservation District, where she led the agriculture, forest health, and habitat restoration programs and supported climate-smart agriculture through planning, education, and technical assistance. She also was a key grant writer and project implementation leader.

She earned a Ph.D. in soil biogeochemistry from UC Berkeley and double B.S. degrees in chemistry and mathematics from Pennsylvania State University.

Richards is based in San Diego and can be reached at [email protected].

Mohamed joins Kearney to study alfalfa irrigation

Abdelmoneim “Moneim” Mohamed joined UC ANR Feb. 1 as a project scientist focusing on alfalfa irrigation management.

Mohamed will be working with Khaled Bali, conducting research to identify the best irrigation management practices on alfalfa to enhance water use productivity while minimizing environmental impacts. The project focuses on crop growth and agronomic performance as affected by irrigation management, salinity and other factors.

Prior to joining UC ANR, Mohamed was an agricultural scientist for the Tropical Research and Education Center at the University of Florida. His previous work focused on modeling and optimizing the performance of moving sprinkler irrigation. He has also studied precision and automated irrigation.

After receiving his Ph.D. at Washington State University, Mohamed was an irrigation engineer for WSU Skagit County Extension Center working with extension agents and growers on improved irrigation practices, irrigation systems efficiency evaluation, and crop water use efficiency.

Mohamed earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering from Zagazig University, Egypt, a master’s degree in land and water resources management: irrigated agriculture from IAMB, Italy, and a doctorate in biological and agricultural engineering from Washington State University.

Mohamed is based at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @moneim_z.

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