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Rebecca Gourevitch

Problem Solving in San Joaquin County: early twentieth century UC Cooperative Extension projects

Wed, July 27, 2022 10:25 AM

Previously, we have shared digitized items from the University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County collection that represent the significant scope of work conducted by farm advisors throughout the twentieth century in San Joaquin County. Over the last few months, over 300 additional items were uploaded to Calisphere, the online repository that provides access to our digitized archival materials. These new items further reveal the ways in which work carried out by UC Cooperative Extension, since 1914, reached residents and supported rural communities in San Joaquin County. Whether dealing with personal hardships or disruptions caused by political and economic activities— events like the World Wars and the Great Depression— archival materials now available online chart various projects and initiatives to improve the lives of county residents through health and safety projects, and to contribute to state and national campaigns. Tackling, for example, food and labor shortages.

Found in the collection is a report from a home demonstration agent that describes a home nursing project. Dated 1919, the document provides background information on the project’s origins, stating that “during the war [WW1], there was a scarcity of physicians and nurses available for the civilian population and this led to a general effort of the part of the Red Cross and teaching forces of schools and colleges to instruct the public in matters relating to hygiene, sanitation, and the care of the sick.” It goes on to state that “even in normal times the farm home is frequently so isolated that the services of physician and nurse are not easily available.”

Home nursing, circa 1920

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


The project required the appointment of a project leader from the community to work with the county agent, conducting home nursing classes, and coordinating with the Red Cross and the county’s department of public health to provide lessons and demonstrations. Objectives stated were to improve rural health and sanitation, teach the principles of preventative medicine, help prevent the spread of communicable disease, encourage personal hygiene, and teach home care of the sick.

A photograph from 1921 illustrates a group gathered for one of the home nursing classes conducted in the county:

Home nursing class, 1921

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Other projects related to sanitation and hygiene are documented in the collection. For example, the construction of septic tanks throughout San Joaquin County was of great importance to farm advisors and several digitized materials exemplify this effort. A project report from 1928 infers that not enough septic tanks existed to carry and process sewage safely and efficiently throughout San Joaquin County:

“Three septic tank construction demonstrations have been given by the Extension Service in this County, and as a result [of] all these demonstrations and all information supplied through letters, office calls and miscellaneous farm visits at least 100 septic tanks have been built. We roughly estimate that in addition to this number there are 200 more septic tanks in use at farm homes in the County. We do not feel that progress is sufficiently rapid and desire to further the work by additional demonstrations and publicity.”

Septic tank construction demonstration, circa 1928

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Another document from 1925 details outreach efforts for Cooperative Extension demonstrations on the construction of septic tanks:

Septic tank construction demonstration, circa 1928

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Two other archival documents portray the blueprints for construction as well as the actual demonstrations:

Septic tank construction demonstration, circa 1926

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Septic tank demonstration, Grant Farrar, Escalon, 1921

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Over the years, other difficulties emerged related to ongoing labor shortages, capable of interrupting agricultural production. Efforts to mitigate the lack of workers is evident in the collection. A project plan from 1918, confirms a need to “assist the College of Agriculture in carrying on its war emergency work so far as it concerns the farm labor needs and supplies during the 1918 crop season.”

Plans for handling county farm labor needs and supplies during 1918, 1918

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


The document stipulates that supplies and workers, located by the county’s labor agent, will be dispersed to farms experiencing shortages. High school boys and women, however, will not be given placements, as the document notes that UC Cooperative Extension agents expected their participation in civic duties elsewhere.

During World War II, labor shortages occurred again due to the draft. The Bracero Program began in 1942 after the United States and Mexico signed the Mexican Farm Labor Agreement which allowed agricultural workers from Mexico to temporarily live and work in United States. The first instances of this program occurred in San Joaquin County and in the collection are images of farm workers from Mexico, as well as this photograph depicting a mobile farm labor camp in 1943.

Mobile farm labor camp near Manteca, California, for housing Mexican national farm workers, 1943

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


A final example of a UC Cooperative Extension program designed to alleviate hardship is the effort to combat food shortages through WWII emergency food production initiatives. As the following document indicates, even children were encouraged to participate. In the 4-H youth development program, participants documented their contributions in their California Boys’ and Girls’ 4-H Clubs War-Time Records Books.

Emergency food production, 1943

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


Youth participants were encouraged to track by the pound food they produced for the Food for Freedom program. Additional information tallied included the number of scraps (rubber, metal, paper, burlap) collected and other accomplishments like the purchasing of war bonds, airplane spotting, clothing conservation and first aid training. A full list of activities is viewable in the document below.

Emergency food production, 1943

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive


To learn more about UC Cooperative Extension’s endeavors at solving local and national problems, please visit Calisphere to see the entire University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection online!




Cooperative Extension Firsts in Modoc County

Thu, April 7, 2022 3:15 PM

Additional material from the Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records, part of the UC Cooperative Extension Archive at UC Merced, have been digitized and made available on Calisphere. Found in the collection are copies of Modoc County Ranch Roundup, a newsletter dedicated to Cooperative Extension activities in the region, including this issue from 1957. 

Modoc County Ranch Roundup, 1957 

Two articles publicize some exciting “firsts” for the county. A piece called “The Green and White Score Another First” describes the establishment of a new demonstration program for 4-H participants in Modoc County and the Tulelake Basin region. In its capacity as a youth development program, 4-H delivers an assortment of activities from livestock management, home economic activities, dress revues, summer camps and much more. Participants are encouraged to perform demonstrations which, as the article states, is “the simple procedure of showing someone else how to do a job and explaining it as the work is done.”  

Examples of 4-H demonstrations are depicted in several photographs in the UC Cooperative Extension Archive collection from Merced County. 

Girl with sewing machine, ca. 1958


Two boys give a presentation on a rifle, ca. 1968

When describing the purpose and value of 4-H demonstrations, the article’s author states that, “demonstrations have a two-fold purpose in teaching recommended practices and helping boys and girls to think clearly, to work skillfully and to talk confidently when addressing an audience.” More activities of 4-H work in Modoc County are viewable in the digitized Annual Reports, in both statistical and narrative formats, available in our online collection. 

On the next page, an article entitled, “Modoc Milk Via 2,500 Gallon Tanker Brings New Agriculture Milestone to Modoc Co.” enthusiastically announces the introduction of a large, refrigerated truck to carry milk long distances. 

While the old method of transporting milk required back-bending labor, the new truck’s tank carries 2,500-gallons and “is so well insulated that at a 100 degree outside temperature, the milk will raise only four degrees in sixty hours.” This development was a major improvement to milk production and was much celebrated by Cooperative Extension staff working with dairy farmers during that the time. 

Check out other issues of Modoc County Ranch Roundup and the rest of the digitized Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records!

From the Mariposa County, UC Cooperative Extension Collection: The 1988 Beef Checkoff

Wed, March 2, 2022 4:35 PM

Last month, the California Agricultural Resources Archive (CARA) team digitized and placed online over one hundred items from the Mariposa County, UC Cooperative Extension collection found in the California Agricultural Resources Archive. The records come from the office of Dr. Fadzayi Elizabeth Mashiri, current County director and Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor for Mariposa and Merced Counties.

One series in this collection contains materials related to livestock activities both locally and statewide. A particular set of documents were created to organize and promote the 1988 Beef Checkoff Program. This program, an outcome of the Beef Promotion and Research Act of the 1985 Farm Bill, authorizes the charge of “$1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products… the Checkoff program was designed to stimulate restaurants and grocery stores to sell more beef and encourage consumers to buy more beef. This is accomplished through initiatives such as consumer advertising, marketing partnerships, public relations, education, research and new-product development.” (1) While the Checkoff Program was already active by 1988, the USDA, alongside statewide beef councils, organized a referendum to make this funding stream permanent. The California Beef Council created materials for beef producers (potential referendum voters), but also for UC Cooperative Extension offices around the state, as UCCE was delegated to handle logistics and to host voting sites.

A Beef Crisis Report, produced by the UC Cooperative Extension Beef Crisis Committee details the state of the industry in the eighties using information collected from interviews with fifty ranchers and other industry personnel. One issue detailed in the report concerns “consumer acceptance.” Ranchers reported that many consumers were turned off by the potential harmful effects of eating beef, like the presence of hormones and antibiotics. Another concern identified was that “production and financial records are often inadequate because of insufficient business management skills.” These are only just of a couple of challenges faced by the industry at this time.

Found in another document from the Beef Crisis Farm Advisors Group are succinct summaries of the various problems alongside potential solutions:

Registering to vote for the referendum and voting occurred on the same day (May 10th, 1988) but eligible voters could apply for an absentee ballot up to a month prior to the election. In this letter from the California Beef Referendum Information Committee, Cooperative Extension County Directors are reminded that they are “pushing very hard the use of absentee ballots to generate a large voter turnout in California.”

Using information shared by the California Beef Council, UC Cooperative Extension created materials for eligible voters to communicate key dates and requirements:

Brochures assured ranchers and beef producers that their money was going to good use:

Beef. Real Food for Real People.

The beef producer’s investment in beef producer profits

The 1988 Beef Checkoff passed with 78% of voters voting yes on the referendum, ensuring that money for research and marketing would be available on the statewide and national levels. Funds went to a range of advertising campaigns including the familiar “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner.” commercials that permeated TV screens across the country in the nineties.

To view all of the digitized materials in the Mariposa County, UC Cooperative Extension archive click here.

We continue to process records from Mariposa County, including a large collection of photographs depicting 4-H youth development program activities in Mariposa County and will soon make these digitized items available on Calisphere.


Processing of Modoc County’s UC Cooperative Extension archival collection underway

Wed, January 12, 2022 5:00 PM

In a previous post, we shared the California Agricultural Resources Archive (CARA) team’s effort to digitize annual reports found in the Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension records at the UC Merced Library. These reports contain information that offer insight into the day-to-day operations of UC Cooperative Extension work from the early 1900s. Now that those reports are available online and the collection has a finding aid in the Online Archive of California, we are processing the remaining documents from Modoc County’s collection. Most of these materials date from the mid-twentieth century through the early twenty-first century and are organized into three series: Administrative Files, Ranch and Range Management, and Watershed Projects. This arrangement reflects the original order in which the materials were received. Doing so assists researchers using the collection to understand how farm advisors and specialists conducted their work and organized their notes and records. The materials are then placed in new archival quality folders and boxes (acid and lignin free) to protect the materials from deterioration. The folders are then organized alphabetically and labeled with a title, date range, series and subseries, and the box and folder number.


Processing archival collections, however, requires archivists to make decisions when materials appear out of place with their surroundings. In this collection, dispersed throughout were documents related to administrative and directorial activities. For example, there are three folders of speeches written by former farm advisor and county director Cecil Pierce. His speeches reveal Cooperative Extension outreach events and relationships with associated organizations such as schools, Rotary Clubs, and the Cattlemen’s Association. These materials were placed in the Administrative Files series.

Also in this series are agriculture and crop reports produced by farm advisors during the 1940s-1980s.

Frequently, archivists find duplicates of documents and generally retain 2-3 copies of an individual item; extra copies are disposed or returned.

The core subjects found in the collection, however, relate to ranch and rangeland management and watershed projects. Modoc County comprises the northeastern-most area of California, sharing a border with both Oregon and Nevada, and much of the material reflects the extensive livestock operations present there, including livestock grazing on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and other governmental organizations. Predominant in the collection are documents pertaining to the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Program (ESP). Crafted by Congress as part of the Public Rangeland Improvement Act of 1978, ESP areas were established across the country to help ease conflicts amongst the various private and public land users and to strategize around restorative projects. The Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Program is still in operation today.

In the Watershed Projects series are documents created by the Goose Lake Fishes Working Group (GLFWG) which serves as another example of a public and private partnership to restore and conserve the environment in Modoc County. The GLFWG functions to protect the endangered fish in Goose Lake (located in both California and Oregon) and its surrounding tributaries. Information about Goose Lake redband trout, Goose Lake sucker, Goose Lake lamprey, and Goose Lake tui chubs are found in these documents as well as projects to reinforce riparian landscapes and to improve drainage and water flow.

Be on the lookout for many of these items to be digitized and place in the Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension’s online digital collection. Other topics found in the collection include beef production and costs, livestock diseases, newsletters, selenium and Vitamin E cattle trials, western juniper control and management, and 4-H youth development program materials. Stay tuned!

Over 1,000 photographs from San Joaquin County, UC Cooperative Extension digitized at UC Merced Library

Wed, December 8, 2021 9:25 AM

The California Agricultural Resources Archive (CARA) team has made great progress in recent months to digitize and make accessible the UC Cooperative Extension Archive. Working in collaboration with the San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum, we digitized 1,051 photographs as part of the University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection.

Included in this set of photographic material are sixty-eight nitrate negatives. A type of cellulose film in production from the late 1800s to the 1950s, nitrate is especially prone to deterioration and highly flammable when deterioration is underway. Nitrate is exceedingly rare in archival collections but when present, it is important that proper handling and storage techniques are followed so that it does not pose a danger to people and surrounding collections. Due to the unique conditions of nitrate film, we sent this material to Gawain Weaver Art Conservation in Marin County for digitization. The film was placed in a freezer located in the UC Merced Library upon return for long-term storage.


Storing nitrate negatives in frozen conditions ensures that the original documents remain accessible for years to come. The remaining photographic materials are prints and were digitized in-house at the library by UC Cooperative Extension Project Digitization Coordinator Jonathan Wilcox, as well as several student assistants.

Featured below is an assortment of photographs found in the University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County, Collection. Spanning the years 1917 through 1991 (though many are undated), the images found in this collection present events such as home and farm demonstrations and 4-H activities, summer camps and livestock competitions.

A photograph from 1920 shows a large Farm Bureau meeting to cultivate the organization. Another photograph from 1920 depicts a group of women posing in front of their clothing project, one of the home economic programs headed by UCCE.

Two prints from 1922 illustrate farm demonstrations and cooperative projects as farm advisors worked to deploy techniques generated at the agricultural experiment stations throughout rural communities. Other images show 4-H activities, including a summer camp scene in which young people enjoy time at Lake Strawberry.

The years during WWII experienced labor shortages across the country and some of the images convey the lack of field workers in the Central Valley in the mid-1940s. Both farm workers from Mexico and students from across the state were recruited to toil the fields during the war.

Development of Farm Bureau Organization annual meeting, 1920


Clothing project, 1920


Community silo filling, O. R. McGee Ranch, Ripon, 1922


Hog feeding demonstration, G. A. Grant, Ripon, 1922


[4-H meeting], undated


Campers swimming, Camp San Stanisquin, Lake Strawberry, 1929


Mobile farm labor camp near Manteca, California, for housing Mexican national farm workers, 1943


Student volunteer peach cutters from Stockton, 1944

To see the 1,051 images digitized in this collection, visit this link!


History of UC Cooperative Extension in Modoc County now online

Thu, October 14, 2021 2:55 PM
This summer, the California Agricultural Resources Archive (CARA) team published historic records from the UC Cooperative Extension office in Modoc County online. Modoc County is the northeastern-most area of California and shares a border with both Oregon and Nevada. The documents we recently digitized date from 1929 to 1953 and consist of annual reports created by farm advisors and home demonstration agents.  

Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records
UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive 
These annual reports offer an unparalleled look into the day-to-day operations of UC Cooperative Extension work. Readers will find information about the partnership between UCCE and the Farm Bureau to ensure that all county residents had access to Extension activities and assistance. Using standardized guidelines to fill out yearly statistics, county agents recorded data regarding the number of meetings and demonstrations held and the topics covered during these gatherings. For example, the 1929 report, the earliest available, documents the formation of six farm centers and initial demonstrations to improve feeding rations for livestock. Modoc County farm advisor John C. Hayes indicates that for the year 1935, there were 1,002 farm or home visits to conduct Extension work throughout the county. According to that year’s statistical report, forty-two days were dedicated to the 4-H summer camp. Youth development programs organized under the helm of 4-H are mentioned throughout the statistical and narrative annual reports and reveal the ways in which UC Cooperative Extension outreached to rural youth. Crop trials and livestock demonstrations are some of the many other subjects recorded in these statistical reports. 

Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records 
UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive 
The annual narrative reports provide information that is more descriptive. Instructions to county agents ask that “every statement should be clear-cut, concise, forceful and, where possible, reenforced [sic] with ample data from the statistical summary,” and that they “where practicable illustrate with photographs, maps, diagrams, blueprints, or copies of charts and other forms used.” The narrative summaries written by UCCE Modoc County personnel contain many of these features. The 1935 narrative report documents the organization of the South Fork Irrigation District for the purpose of storing flood water and supplemental irrigation to ranches in the area. One page of the 1935 report displays two photographs: one portrays a beef ranch, a primary agricultural activity in the region, and the other shows 4-H member Erma Ash with her livestock participating in a baby beef project. 

Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records 
UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive 
The 1938 narrative report details the results of demonstration planting of forage varieties as well as some of the diseases affecting rangeland livestock. In a 1944 annual narrative report, home demonstration agent Gladys E. Hedlund details various meetings organized that year on the usage of household kitchen equipment. In ten Modoc County communities, seventy-seven women attended these gatherings with the aim of improving rural home life. In one meeting, handling of electric refrigerators was discussed. Demonstrations included the “weekly defrosting and cleaning, covering food in a refrigerator, checking door seal, (and) correct placing in room”—all important reminders for families using these relatively new technologies.  

Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records 
UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive 
The annual statistical and narrative reports offer a clear account of Cooperative Extension work in Modoc County and a taste of life in the region during the first half of the twentieth century. To see the collection on Calisphere, visit this link.
Up next for the Modoc County, UC Cooperative Extension Records: we are processing, preserving, and digitizing audiovisual material found in the collection. Photographs, negatives, slide transparencies, reel-to-reel audio tapes and other formats that each require special attention and care, will become available online. Stay tuned for future updates. 

Radio Spots by UCANR Broadcast Services added to UC Cooperative Extension Archive

Mon, September 13, 2021 12:00 PM

Since our last post on the University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR) Archive, we have continued to process audiovisual objects found in the collection. Most recently, the library has made 154 audio clips accessible for listening through Calisphere. These recordings came into the archive stored on CD-Rs (compact disks), but since this format is obsolete and equipment to play CD-Rs is no longer prevalent, they were converted to digital audio files. In addition to making the clips accessible, the digital files are preserved for the long term in a sustainable format in the California Digital Library’s digital preservation repository.  

The CD-Rs are dated from 2003 and contain recordings of radio broadcasts produced and narrated by Robert Singleton, the UCANR radio broadcaster (who retired under the title Senior Public Information Officer) from 1985-2003. During his long tenure, Singleton interviewed UCCE farm and home advisors, researchers, and other employees about certain topics related to their work. Essentially, Singleton used radio communication to disseminate UCANR’s research and programs to communities around the state as each story he recorded was sent to local stations. (1) The addition of these audio clips to the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, UC Cooperative Extension Records enables a deeper understanding of the breadth of work undertaken by UCCE offices around California and demonstrates the ways information made its way to the public at the end of the twentieth century.  

An ANR Report article about the UC Cooperative Extension Radio Feed from February 2000 explains that “half are stories of consumer interest, covering such topics as home gardening, financial management, nutrition and environmental issues. The other half focuses on agricultural issues, primarily research developments and public policy.” While Singleton led the production of his own stories, ANR researchers were also encouraged to submit topic ideas related to their own research fields. (2) The range of UCANR extension work is evident in these audio clips, though they are only a fraction of the stories distributed by Singleton and ANR Broadcast Services, and of the work of ANR overall.  

On Calisphere, the audio files are arranged alphabetically by topic, revealing some general themes. Many of the radio spots cover financial programs and literacy and warn listeners of unwarranted issues such as predatory lending and homeownership scams, the risks of adjustable-rate mortgages, and information about online banking and earned income credit programs that educate listeners on their benefits and risks. There are also audio clips concerning environmental issues. One spot details fire prevention of homes and buildings and highlights actions that people can take to prevent the loss of their homes. Another set of clips deal with the various risks associated with farm labor. Heat stress among farmworkers, for example, is described by a University of California farm safety representative who explains how to identify and prevent the dangerous effects of excessive sun exposure. Harvest related injuries in older workers, night work injuries, and technology use by workers are also covered by Singleton in his news stories, along with a plethora of other topics such as pesticides, information about crops like rice and purple carrots, and diseases such as the West Nile virus

Transporting Rice, 1959 

University of California Agricultural Cooperative Extension, San Joaquin County Collection

UC Merced, UC Cooperative Extension Archive

San Joaquin County Historical Society and Museum 


Listen to all the ANR Broadcast Services radio feed clips on Calisphere here!




Historic records of UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County

Wed, July 14, 2021 12:00 PM

This past month, the UC Merced Library made 2,898 digitized items from the UC Cooperative Extension, Fresno County archive available online. It is our newest collection made publicly available as part of the UC Cooperative Extension Archive and CARA project. The collection represents extension work in Fresno County over the twentieth century and provides a fascinating angle on agriculture in the Valley. Many of the items are from the files of farm advisors and the historical records they inherited from their predecessors. Reports reveal the cumulative results of crop trials that, for example, examined the effects of fungicides and growth regulators. There are newsletters such as Forage Queen, Tree TopicsIn-a-Nutshell and other communication materials that imparted information to growers and families in the Valley. There is also a substantial amount of material related to the 4-H youth development program and CalFresh,a statewide program that provides food benefits to low-income families and individuals. These documents demonstrate Cooperative Extension’s reach throughout the community.

Visit Calisphere to see the entire digitized archive: Topics include growing and harvesting of almonds, pistachios, grapes, alfalfa, and cotton among other crops. Other sets of records are categorized by processes such as irrigation, fumigation, soil formation, and fertilization. Some interesting highlights are below and make sure to click on each item for more information:



The grapevine: gibberellin - 1967 results, 1968


Herbicide sprayer, 1971



Forage queen, 1965



Basic soil surveys, 1954



  Gibberellin in grapes, 1968


Correspondence regarding 4-H club work, 1943



  Wetting agent study, 1991



Progress report - field comparisons of several on farm tile drainage installations, 1970






UC Merced Library and Merced County 4-H Wrap-up Inaugural StoryMapping Project

Wed, June 23, 2021 5:30 PM

Last month, UC Merced Library and Merced County 4-H concluded an inaugural StoryMapping Project for students in grades 9-12. Designed to encourage participants to discover the value of historical archives, the project introduced young people to UC Merced’s University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) archive. Comprised of nearly 10,000 documents, booklets, letters, and photographs from the past 100+ years, the archive covers the range of research produced by UCCE and features documents about dairy, almonds, livestock, crop trials, youth development, nutrition, family consumer sciences, and much more. 

Over the course of twelve weeks, participants formed questions based on their findings in the archive and learned how to conduct research using primary and secondary source materials. Project meetings also focused on ways students would apply their research results in the form of presentations. To do this, ArcGIS and StoryMap experts trained students on how to use these digital tools for creating and visually presenting maps and historical narratives. This process encouragedparticipants to exhibit digitized archival materials alongside their observations and analysis.

On May 12th, 4-H Ambassador Melanie P. presented her StoryMap to local stakeholders, family, and community members. Titled DHIA Records: A Brief History and what DHIA Records Are, Melanie’s project traces the Dairy Herd Improvement Association’s (DHIA) use of records to improve efficiency and management by tracking milk production, herd size, and breeding and feed records. 

Her research uncovered information about early record keeping systems used by the Ferndale Cow Testing Association in Humboldt County and Melanie was able to compare them to contemporary DHIA records, including documents she used when purchasing her own heifers. The project serves as an excellent example of the ways in which archival materials not only represent the past, but inform our present. We thank Melanie and our other participants, teachers, and facilitators for their amazing work!

Check out Melanie’s StoryMap here!

CARA highlights agricultural history from across California

Wed, May 26, 2021 5:25 PM

Our digitized UC Cooperative Extension archival collections continue to grow and are accessible through our online repository, Calisphere. Recently, 500 images were added to the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties, UC Cooperative Extension Records. Spanning the 1920s through the 2010s, the total number of digitized items from those two counties is now 1,672. In May of this year, UC Merced Library staff met with farm advisors and staff members from the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo UCCE offices to review the Library's work on this collection and to show them how to access the material online. We provided tips on conducting searches, in order to locate items based on key terms, and highlighted themes present in the material. It was exciting to show Cooperative Extension staff material created by their predecessors and to provide them with historical documents related to their important work around the state. Check out the collection on Calisphere:

[Farm equipment truck with Farm Bureau logo], undated


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