The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has announced it will fill 11 academic positions in 2005 to meet the most critical needs and opportunities in the state. Its workforce has been badly depleted in recent years by state budget cuts and retirements.

"We are down about 50 county-based positions from where we were two years ago as a result of the state budget downturn," said Richard Standiford, ANR associate vice president. "These new positions show our commitment to rebuilding our programs and serving the people of California."

"They are funded using dollars freed by recent retirements of Division employees," Standiford continued "and careful consideration was given to research and Extension priorities expressed by UC Cooperative Extension stakeholders in defining the positions." For example, the air quality advisor, to be housed at the Fresno County UCCE office, will be a new position, funded with reallocated dollars, and serving a four-county area experiencing real challenges in attaining air quality standards.

"It is unique for us to have an issues-based academic position," Standiford said. "We have strong air quality research programs at UC Davis, UC Berkeley and UC Riverside. We need an advisor to link the research with issues that are affecting agriculture and human health in the southern San Joaquin Valley."

The eleven county-based academic Cooperative Extension advisor positions are spread over the Division's three regions:

Central Coast and South Region:

Strawberry and vegetable crops farm advisor -- Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor and county director -- Contra Costa County. Nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor -- Santa Clara County. Vegetable crops advisor and director for the Desert Research and Extension Center -- Imperial County.

Central Valley Region:

Dairy farm advisor -- Tulare County. Area air quality advisor (five-year term) -- Fresno, Kings, Tulare and Kern counties. 4-H youth development advisor -- Yolo County. Nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor -- Fresno County. Vegetable crops advisor -- San Joaquin County.

North Coast and Mountain Region:

Natural resources advisor and county director -- Inyo and Mono counties. 4-H youth development advisor -- Lake and Mendocino counties.

Among the 11 jobs are two with partial county director responsibilities and one with partial responsibility to direct a research and Extension center.

"This ties in with what we heard at listening sessions we held throughout the state last year," Standiford said. "Our clientele believe we need to have a strong leadership presence in every county."

Job descriptions, salary ranges and qualifications will be posted on the division's employment opportunities Web page (http://ucanr.org/jobs.shtml) in the coming weeks.