Jeanette Sutherlin, a 28-year veteran of University of California Cooperative Extension, has been named director of its Fresno County program.

The academic staff of Fresno County UCCE includes 13 farm advisors, a 4-H youth development advisor, and a nutrition, family and consumer sciences advisor. In addition, the office has 11 program and eight support staff.

A major component of UC Cooperative Extension is the research and education program focused on commercial agricultural production. Fresno County is California's No. 1 agricultural production county. The total gross production value of its 250 agricultural commodities in 2000 was $3.4 billion, making agriculture the driving force in the county's economy.

County farm advisors' work is aimed at enhancing California agricultural productivity and competitiveness. Together with farmers, pest control advisers, and industry representatives, they identify current and emerging agricultural opportunities and problems. The advisors collaborate with campus-based scientists to research, adapt, and field-test agricultural improvements or solutions and promote the use of research findings.

As director, Sutherlin serves as a department head in the county's government structure and reports to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors as well as the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Central Valley Region office.

Sutherlin may be reached at (559) 456-7563, or jmsutherlin@ucdavis.edu.