The University of California Cooperative Extension office in Fresno County has moved from its long-time southeast Fresno location to the UC Center in north Fresno. The office is now open at 550 E. Shaw Ave., on the frontage road directly across from Fashion Fair Shopping Mall. The new telephone number is (559) 241-7515.
UCCE is a cooperative program involving the University of California, county government and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. A cut in the county portion of the budget prompted the move.
"Our new location costs less, but we are also losing our lab and storage space," said UCCE Fresno County director Shannon Mueller.
Although UCCE now has less space, the location offers myriad benefits. The building has on-site security for night meetings, something that was unavailable at the former location. UCCE has access to the UC Center's large, state-of-the-art meeting facilities and ample parking.
Along with the move, UC Cooperative Extension is forming a partnership with Madera County.
"Our goal is to reduce the administrative footprint and put more resources into our programs," Mueller said.
The Madera County UCCE administrative functions will be handled by Mueller in the new Fresno County office, but the Madera County 4-H and Master Gardener programs will remain in the Madera County office at 328 S. Madera Ave., Madera. Many advisor positions cover both counties.
The University of California continues to make an investment in Fresno and Madera county UC Cooperative Extension programs, Mueller said.
Nut crop advisor Gurreet Brarjoined the academic staff in February 2013. A new nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor will be on the job in August. Recruitment will begin in the fall for a new small farms advisor to replace Richard Molinar, who retired in June. Other academic positions are being considered for recruitment over the next two years.
"We're pleased that we are able to continue to build our academic staff," Mueller said.
Other academic advisors in Fresno County UC Cooperative Extension are Kurt Hembree, weed management; Dan Munk, cotton production, irrigation and soil quality; and Tom Turini, vegetable crops. In addition to serving as director, Mueller is the advisor for agronomy, alfalfa, honeybee management, dry beans and oil seed crop production.
The Fresno County UCCE office also houses the UC CalFresh and other nutrition education programs, comprised of 25 educators and coordinators; a Master Gardener program manager; a small farms and specialty crops Hmong agricultural assistant; plus laboratory and administrative staff. A newly hired 4-H program representative joins the team at the end of July.
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