Meet UCCE Director Shannon Mueller
Shannon Mueller serves as the University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) director for Fresno and Madera counties.
Mueller brings more than 25 years of experience with UCCE to the position. When she was hired in 1988, she began as the agronomy farm advisor. In her early years, she focused on alfalfa hay and seed production and later expanded her focus to dry beans, apiary and, for a short time, vegetable crops.
Mueller grew up in Visalia, where her dad owned an agricultural chemical and supply company. She came from an agricultural family and was always surrounded by it. She later decided she wanted a career in the industry, but wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
Mueller attended the University of California, Riverside, where she received her bachelor’s degree. She went on to attend Cornell University, where she received her Ph.D.
It was during the time she was in graduate school that she met with Carol Frate, a farm advisor in Tulare County. Frate helped Shannon narrow her agricultural focus and career goals. After their meeting, Shannon knew she wanted to work for the UCCE.
“Carol has mentored me through my entire career,” said Mueller.
Mueller attributed much of her education from the early years to farmers and industry representatives like Phil Larson, Darrell Silverira, Bob Motte, Rick Yribarren and John Hansen.
“They were the ones who taught me so much about seed production, which has become my specialty,” said Mueller. “I often think about how much time they put in and how valuable that early training was to my career.”
The future of UCCE in Fresno County
“I’m excited to take on the role of director during this time,” said Mueller. “The UCCE is quickly approaching its centennial year, as well as making the big move to a multi-county partnership.”
By July 1, 2013, the UCCE offices in Fresno and Madera counties will have created a multi-county partnership, according to Mueller. “The goal is to reduce the administrative footprint and focus on delivery of programs. There will be a headquarters office in Fresno and a satellite office in Madera.”
The UCCE will continue to provide programs in each county. “It’s very positive to be able to deliver programs with the support of county government,” said Mueller, who will be leading the local counties into the partnership.
Every day for Mueller is different. UCCE offers the freedom to direct programs to where there’s the greatest need.
“We work with our stakeholders to decide what the priorities are for the program,” said Mueller. “They change over time, but it keeps the job fresh.”
In addition, Mueller is involved with the South Valley Bee Club and the Central Valley Beekeepers Association. Years ago, she began coordinating classes on backyard beekeeping for the local organizations.
“I hope to retire doing it,” said Mueller of her UCCE position.
UCCE and FCFB
UCCE has been a partner with Farm Bureau since the beginning. In 2014, the organization celebrated its 100th anniversary. However, the Fresno County Cooperative Extension office did not open until 1917. The cooperative extension was started to help growers improve production by conducting applied research that was focused on plant physiology, pests, diseases, irrigation, soils, etc. Additionally, UCCE has a food nutrition group that provides consumers with information in food and nutrition, food safety, food preservation and money management.
Some opportunities offered through the cooperative extension include the 4-H organization, which is an educational program that allows youth to learn by doing. Also, the UC Master Gardener volunteers provide the public with University of California research-based information, verified by UC experts, about home horticulture, pest identification, landscape management, environmental and other natural resource issues.
For more information about the UCCE and its services, visit the website at http://cefresno.ucanr.edu/.
Meet Your Board Members Profile: Ag Today, May 2013
By: Katie Rodgers