By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Canevari Retires From Extension
Placeholder Image
After a long career with the University of California Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County, Mick Canevari will officially retire as of Monday, June 29.

Born and raised on a rural San Joaquin County farm, his family produced a variety of fruits and vegetables that they harvested and trucked to grocery store buyers. Though he had a few odd jobs growing up, he always had a hand in planting, pruning and harvesting the crops. That background helped provide the framework for his 36-year career with Cooperative Extension.

"Growing up on the farm was an absolutely perfect environment for me," Canevari said.

Following high school, he attended San Joaquin Delta College and later transferred to California State University, Fresno, where he earned a bachelor's degree in agronomy and plant protection in June 1971. That same summer he was hired as a field and laboratory technician at UC Cooperative Extension in San Joaquin County.

"I saw the work that farm advisors were doing, the level of professionalism, the knowledge they were providing for farmers and knew that was something I wanted to be a part of," Canevari noted.

He accepted his first academic appointment with UCCE in 1973, as a 4-H youth development advisor. In 1979, he was named the county agronomy and weed science farm advisor and in 2002, also took on the role of county director.

Canevari worked on a variety of research and extension projects over the years in such crops as small grains, rice, beans, alfalfa and corn. His personal interest in pest management led to extensive research in weed control. His weed management research turned out many of the practices and techniques used by farmers today.

"My projects have been a team effort conduced in collaboration with other advisors, specialists affiliated with UC campuses and private industry," Canevari said. "It was our job to anticipate and solve problems farmers might have and do the research ahead of time so they wouldn't experience economic hardships when those issues arose."

Canevari also helped farmers by testing new crops, several of which are commercially grown now in the area and accepted in the marketplace, such as orchardgrass and ryegrass hay.

Rice is another crop that Canevari has evaluated for its potential in the Escalon area and, more recently, in the San Joaquin Delta. A multi-agency research project funded with a grant from the state of California' CALFED Bay-Delta Program is studying rice farming systems and the benefits for the Delta soils. His collaboration with the California Rice Experiment Station -a non-profit research facility owned by California rice growers - started a rice nursery in the Delta that now evaluates 25,000 new lines of rice a year.

"Rice is now a commercial crop that is doing very well here and growing in popularity," Canevari said. "Cultivating rice in the Delta has long-term potential for rebuilding our organic soils, improving water quality and enhancing the population of migratory birds. This is a perfect fit for agriculture and the environment."

Canevari realized a significant accomplishment when the UC Cooperative Extension staff moved last year from an outdated facility into a new $25 million agricultural complex near the Stockton Airport. The 45,000-square foot main building, which also houses the agricultural commissioner's office, includes meeting rooms, a demonstration kitchen and five model demonstration gardens.

"We worked closely with the County Board of Supervisors, the farm bureau and the local agricultural industry for eight years to make this full-service agricultural facility a reality," Canevari said. "Not only does it provide us with state-of-the-art resources to serve farmers and the community, it represents the county's continuing commitment to agriculture, youth and environmental conservation."

Last month, Canevari was awarded emeritus status by the vice president of UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, Dan Dooley. As emeritus farm advisor, Canevari will continue to oversee several projects for UC Cooperative Extension following his retirement.

His retirement plans also allow time for other pursuits. Canevari said he and his wife will continue to operate her specialty clothing store in Stockton and he will manage the family farm, along with taking time to enjoy some hunting and fishing trips.