by Jeannette Warnert
Kent Daane, Cooperative Extension specialist at UC Berkeley, has been appointed the University’s research liaison with the California Raisin Marketing Board and the California Table Grape Commission effective July 1.
In this role, Daane consults with the commodities’ research advisory boards, which provide guidance on grant requests that have been submitted by researchers. The California Raisin Marketing Board disburses about $200,000 annually and the California Table Grape Commission disburses about $550,000 annually to fund research in the crops grown by their members. Daane’s work as research liaison will be in addition to his current duties.
Daane has studied pest control strategies for California crops since 1990 at the UC Kearney Research and Extension Center in Fresno County. He and his research staff focus on the development of ecologically based pest management systems. Programs are developed to help farmers achieve economic success while farming using environmentally and socially sustainable practices.
In recent years, Daane has focused on vineyard pests, studying natural enemies of vine mealybug and leafhoppers; and he has worked to enhance the vineyard environment to support pest enemies such as spiders. While Daane’s research centers on biological control, it has included studies with the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis and pheromones, which help conserve natural enemies in the farm ecosystem. Daane also investigates insect-plant interactions that influence pest or natural enemy densities, the economic impact of pest populations and the biology and ecology of pests and natural enemies. Daane’s other projects focus on insect pests in orchard crops (pistachio, olive, almond and stone fruit), and glassy-winged sharpshooter biology in the San Joaquin Valley.
“Good, solid research, which combines basic and applied science, will always be the foundation of improved pest management systems,” Daane said. “Having a good line of communication with the agricultural community has particularly helped direct my research program toward relevant issues and pest problems.”
In 2000, Daane was appointed Cooperative Extension specialist in the Division of Insect Biology at the Berkeley campus. He maintains laboratories and staff at both locations — with the Berkeley lab allowing opportunities for close collaboration with campus-based faculty and the Fresno County location ensuring a strong working relationship with farmers, Cooperative Extension farm advisors and researchers at the Kearney Research and Extension Center.
“Because Dr. Daane has significant research activities both at UC Berkeley and at the Kearney Ag Center he is especially qualified to facilitate the research-to-farm continuum,” said Maxwell Norton, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources program leader for agricultural productivity. “He has an intimate knowledge of the many problems facing raisin and table grape farmers and packers and they will greatly benefit from him participating in this role.”
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