THE LESLIE J. NICKELS ESTATE: CHALLENGING THE PARADIGM OF FUNDING PUBLIC RESEARCH AND EXTENSION
A unique public/private collaboration was initiated in 1968, when Mr. Leslie J. Nickels bequeathed an 80+ hectare property to support public research, by establishing a Trust. The University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) was named in the original land bequest and has been facilitating applied research projects, mostly focusing on almond production, through a formal agreement. The original bequest consisted of a non-irrigated almond orchard, with little equipment or financial resources. The early years were devoted to installing irrigation systems, planting new orchards and acquiring equipment. Today, the Nickels Soil Laboratory (NSL) commercially farms over 40 hectares of almonds, with minor plantings of walnuts and olives. The facility is supported through crop returns and no public monies support the facility. There are currently over 20 applied research projects being conducted at NSL, involving USDA and University faculty. NSL is widely recognized as the origin of California almond micro-irrigation technology, almond variety evaluations and walnut high density planting techniques. There is an annual hands-on field day attracting over 200 participants from around California and international locations. NSL is acknowledged as being the largest facility dedicated to almond research in the US and funding is augmented annually with grower research dollars. The structure, evolution and accomplishments of this unique partnership are the focus of this paper.
Murray, M. and Edstrom, J.P. (2009). THE LESLIE J. NICKELS ESTATE: CHALLENGING THE PARADIGM OF FUNDING PUBLIC RESEARCH AND EXTENSION. Acta Hortic. 832, 153-160
extension technology, almond applied research, public education programs