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UC Extension head updates supervisors on programs and leaders

The face of the Farm Advisor’s office is changing.

Plumas and Sierra county Farm Advisor Director David Lile was before the Plumas County Board of Supervisors April 9, explaining just how much his staff has changed.

Lile also had members of the team introduce themselves and say something about their particular programs.

Presentation

Holding up a copy of the local University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources annual report for last year, Lile said, It’s “easy to look at with plenty of pictures.”

The program is also known as the U.C. Cooperate Extension.

“We are pleased to share this report highlighting programs from the past year,” Lile explained.

Lile then introduced Ryan Tompkins as the new forestry advisor. He replaces longtime representative Mike DeLasaux who retired in 2018.

Lile said his department had a strong list of candidates for the forestry advisor position. By selecting Tompkins, Lile said he “brings energy and new fresh perspective” to the program.

And Lile hasn’t been disappointed in the choice of Tompkins. He “hit the ground running,” Lile told supervisors.

Tompkins comes from the area having worked with the Plumas National Forest for 15 years, he said. “His heart was first drawn to the northern Sierra Nevada after spending a summer at the UC Berkeley Forestry Camp in Meadow Valley nearly 25 years ago,” according to the report.

Tompkins has a bachelor’s in forestry and a master’s in forestry from UC Berkeley. He completed post-graduate extension courses at Utah State University in 2005 through 2007 as part of his silvicultural certification with the Forest Service.

“Most recently he’s worked for the Plumas National Forest as the forest silviculturist and vegetation management program manager, though he’s also worked with the National Park Service and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection,” according to the report.

Among his new responsibilities is working with the county and local partners on wildfire resilience, forest health and forest restoration challenges.

Natural resources and livestock liaison with local ranchers was introduced next. That’s Tracy Scholr.

Although Scholr handles many responsibilities, one of her major tasks has been working with livestock producers that lost forage ground for their cattle during the Camp Fire in November, December 2018.

Scholr said she was also involved with inspecting open water sources affected by ash from the Camp Fire. Fortunately, water sources were determined safe for the cattle, she explained.

“Tracy Scholr continues as our livestock and natural resources advisor where she has initiated new research, rancher workshop, and has been the communication liaison for wolf issue,” according to Lile.

Most 4-H members and their parents already know 4-H Program Representative Kari O’Reilly.

“O’Reilly provides effective leadership to our 4-H program that exposes youth to agricultural production, science and technology, and local youth educational gardening support.

O’Reilly also hosts the annual 4-H Summer Camp for youth in both Plumas and Sierra counties.

O’Reilly, among other things, said she’s interested in promoting leadership skills among her program members. It’s a skill she sees as useful as they move forward into adulthood.

O’Reilly has been involved with the local 4-H programs for more than four years.

Tom Getts was also introduced as the technical assistance for Plumas and Sierra farmers and Susanville area land managers.

He is currently conducting research in irrigation technology that would help local farmers stay productive and viable during changing times.

Getts has been working with local agricultural producers for more than two years.

His research and extension programs focus on agronomic challenges and helping solve invasive weed programs.

And Barbara Goulet, as administrative assistant, provides support to the staff, but also works with local Master Gardener volunteers and 4-H volunteers, according to Lile.

Supervisors

“I really want to thank you for this report,” said Supervisor Lori Simpson. “I’m excited with our excellent, excellent staff,” she added. “This is excellent.”

“It’s so exciting to come over and work with this team now,” Lile told supervisors. “It’s a great team,” but one of the things they can do is leverage dollars into Plumas County for various programs and purposes.

Supervisor Michael Sanchez asked Lile if his program could find funding for the Sierra Valley Groundwater program.

Lile seemed to think that was possible. He also pointed out that Scholr is in the process of getting a weather station set up at one of the Sierra Valley ranches.

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