The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) has awarded $886,548 of Core Issue Grants for 29 research and Extension projects throughout California for fiscal year 2006-07, which begins July 1.

The program, now in its second year, gave grants in amounts ranging from $9,000 to $35,000 per project.

This grants program fosters collaborative efforts of UC's Agricultural Experiment Station, statewide programs, campus and county Cooperative Extension and other cooperators that are focused on high-priority issues affecting the state's agricultural, human and natural resources.

Core issues have been developed through extensive input of external stakeholders and planning by UC scientists to focus research and Extension programs on the highest priority areas facing California agricultural, natural and human resources.

This year's grant program includes efforts addressing the following core issues: youth development; water quality and air quality; sustainable use of natural resources; sustainability and viability of agriculture; pest management and invasive species; obesity; and food safety and biosecurity.

Following are the titles of the projects which may be of particular interest to farmers and ranchers that have been funded:

  • Effects of dairy liquid manure aeration on air quality and nutrient cycling.

  • Assessing the non-market values of California ranches.

  • Assessment of the role of hardwood in forming stream habitat for threatened south-central California coast steelhead trout.

  • Implementing the positive points system for California citrus.

  • Attitudes and actions: evaluating producer responses to watershed management systems on California's Central Coast.

  • Relationships between shrub understory management and maintenance of bird diversity and abundance on ranches in California oak woodland.

  • Development of a sustainable management program for the vine mealybug.

  • Development of a predictive model for pythium diseases of vegetables.

  • Detection of citrus greening in California.

  • Predicting spread of nascent invasions: making a case for rapid response.

  • Know thine enemy: development of an interactive key to rapidly identify native and invasive thrips in California.

  • Development and testing of an organic fungicide, biocontrol yeast, for the control of fungal pathogens of pistachio.

  • The re-emergence of tomato spotted wilt virus in California's San Joaquin Valley and sustainable approaches for mitigating disease on crop plants.

  • The “virtual” dairy demonstration farm: pre-purchase testing for biosecurity.

  • Cherry canker diseases.

  • Developing no-till low-input cropping systems for California's Central Valley.

  • Vines and ovines: using sheep with a trained aversion to grape leaves for spring vineyard floor management.

  • Developing California olive oil's unique identity.

  • Improving the efficacy of GA3 to increase fruit set and size (yield) of Clementine mandarins in California.

  • A school in every garden — a statewide Master Gardener conference.

  • Research and development of pitahaya as a new crop for California.

  • Mustard cover crops to optimize crop rotations for lettuce production.

For more information about the 21 core issues and the projects funded, visit http://ucanr.org/internal/miscshow.cfm?unit=5728&misctype=Main_page.