Barbara Allen-Diaz, University of California vice president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, is pleased to announce that the California Rice Research Board has agreed to fund a UC Cooperative Extension specialist position for six years.

“This is a pioneering step in a new direction for funding public research,” said Allen-Diaz. “I want to thank the California Rice Research Board for being the first. This innovative partnership between the agricultural community and UC Agriculture and Natural Resources recognizes the immediate importance of rice research and the need for this new funding model.”

The $800 million rice industry makes California the nation’s second largest rice producer. UC conducts research on weed control, pest management and variety testing for rice crops to keep California growers competitive in the world marketplace.

“The rice specialist was identified as a priority position for UC ANR in our position planning process, and the Rice Research Board has taken a bold step to enable us to launch this position sooner rather than later,” Allen-Diaz said. “This generous gift by the Rice Research Board will enable UC ANR to begin recruitment immediately and the six-year commitment gives the position stability. After six years, UC ANR will assume financial responsibility for the position.”

The board will donate $212,000 each of the next six years for a total of $1.272 million to support a UC Cooperative Extension specialist to conduct rice-related research. The Rice Research Board is funded by grower assessments that are based on the amount of rice each grower produces. This specialist position, which will be based in the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, will help UC ANR fulfill its mission as well as serve the rice industry’s needs.

“The Rice Research Board recognized the value of having a rice specialist serving the industry,” said Dana Dickey, executive director of the California Rice Research Board. “This service includes acting as a bridge for the efforts of the rice ‘team’ at UC Davis and ANR, performing research on issues vital to the industry, being a resource for linking new research directions with researchers, and overseeing the variety trials for the industry.”

Dickey added, “The Rice Research Board chose this avenue to ensure the position will continue without interruption and be filled in coordination with the retirement of the present specialist.”

“Hiring outstanding academics to do research and deliver new knowledge is critical to the sustainability of farmers and to the future of California,” said Allen-Diaz. “This new funding model will enable us to act now to work on needed research and deliver science-based solutions.”

To discuss potential partnership opportunities to fund academic positions, contact Cindy Barber at Cynthia.Barber@ucop.edu or (510) 987-9139.