retired UC vice president for the
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR):
In little more than a decade, the Agricultural Issues Center has become one of DANR's most highly regarded statewide special programs. Created by the Regents in 1985 on the basis of action by the California Assembly, the AIC has attained state and national recognition as a source of timely, objective information on public policy issues affecting California agriculture and natural resources.
Many within and outside the University have contributed to the successful development of the Center. However, Hal Carter has been its principal architect and intellectual mover. His leadership and vision are deeply imprinted on the current character of the Center.
Foremost was Carter's insistence that the Center adhere to the purposes and strengths of the University-science, education and service in the public interest. By drawing broadly from the scientific resources and the disciplines of the Division, the Center achieved credibility inside and outside the University in addressing inherently complex and multidisciplinary issues.
Equally important was his insistence that the Center adhere to a public institution's principles of education-examination of plausible options to help resolve public issues as well as information and analysis to inform the policy-making process, while steadfastly avoiding positions of advocacy.
Throughout his tenure as director, Carter emphasized the public service role of the Center. It was not sufficient to simply generate academic reports on important issues affecting agriculture and natural resources-although the Center did that, too. Results must be aired among those in the "real world" who are interested in or affected by a particular policy or issue, and their responses must make a difference in the final reports.
The major study projects culminating in conferences which constituted the core of the Center's activities during its first 10 years came to be regarded as major educational events by the Division as well as external interest groups. These conferences featured speakers, panelists and participants from a panoply of academic, agricultural, business and public service groups. In the best tradition of land-grant universities, the Center's activities were not only open to all interested parties, but involvement of those groups was actively solicited-thus avoiding dominance by one or a few special interests.
Anticipating policy issues, rather than dwelling on the past and traditional issues of agriculture, has been a hallmark of the Center. With counsel from the Center's advisory board and colleagues within the University, Carter selectively and perceptively focused the Center's resources on the cutting edge of emerging issues with broad significance of agriculture and natural resources-impacts of technological change, chemicals in the human food chain, California's changing Central Valley, water transfers, and impacts of animal agriculture on water quality, for example. Other projects included reports on the competitiveness of major agricultural industries in California and two popular and useful reports on the economic contributions of agriculture to the California economy and on the value of UC agricultural research and extension. Although the specific focus of these projects, as envisioned in the Center's charter, was California and its unique agricultural and natural resource environments, many of the reports achieved regional and national attention and continue to be cited as references well past their publication dates.
The Center's permanent fiscal resources ($140,000 annually) have always been meager relative to demand for its services. Hal Carter, however, through ingenuity, persistence and a low-key administrative approach, was successful in leveraging those permanent resources into a much larger sum. If the time spent by UC researchers and educators and the many external leaders who have participated in the Center's programs was included, the total resources brought to bear exceeded the Center's permanent resources by an order of magnitude. Few in UC have achieved more with so little!
Finally, as a colleague of Hal's dating back to graduate school days, I close on a very personal note. He has always been a consummate professional, dedicated to science and education, and a believer in applying them to the practical interests of individuals and organizations. His warmth and fair-mindedness have inspired loyalty and appreciation on the part of peers and staff—the sort of person you enjoy being around.
Public institutions are, of course, larger than any single individual. But the Agricultural Issues Center will not be the same without Hal Carter.
Henry J. Vaux, Jr.
Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR):
While on sabbatical leave at Davis in 1983-84, I served with Hal Carter on a committee appointed by Vice President Jim Kendrick to develop a proposal for an Agricultural Issues Center. Originally, it was to be supported with funds from the Kellogg Foundation. When the Kellogg funds failed to materialize, Kendrick decided to proceed with the Center anyway and persuaded Hal Carter to become its first director. He was the perfect choice.
During his long tenure as director, Hal built the Center into one of the preeminent units in the Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. There were a number of reasons for his success, but three in particular stand out. First, Hal was unafraid to tackle important topics no matter how controversial. This was exemplified by an early study on chemicals in the food chain and by later projects focused on land use in the Central Valley and the effects of animal agriculture on water quality.
Second, he proved to be a master at utilizing multiple media to disseminate the results of Center projects. His conferences, in which audio and video technology were skillfully employed, were among the best offered by the Division during the last 10 years. The written summaries, brochures and longer publications were all skillfully produced and helped to ensure that the results of Center projects were distributed as widely as possible.
Third, and perhaps most impressive, Hal had the capacity to draw large numbers of distinguished faculty into the work of the Center in spite of the fact that there were rarely sufficient funds to support the work. His ability to persuade faculty of the importance of Center projects, and of the importance of their contributions to this work, is already legendary.
Despite his enviable scholarly record and his accomplishments at the Agricultural Issues Center, Hal always found time to offer support and sage advice to friends and colleagues, including three generations of DANR leadership. I remain particularly appreciative of his support, help and friendship over the years.
William F. Allewelt
president emeritus of Tri-Valley Growers
Chairman of the Center's Advisory Board since its inception:
A humorist once said that "Retirement is the home of indispensable people." Having personally enjoyed a senior's status for some years, I have learned to appreciate both the irony and humor of that observation. Also its wisdom. It is in the nature of the human condition that none of us is truly indispensable.
Except perhaps for one: Hal Carter in his service as director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center during its formative years. To demonstrate that, it is necessary to recall briefly how the Center came into being. It was the brainchild of James Kendrick, a respected UC vice-president for Agriculture and Natural Resources, whose long tenure spanned tumultuous times for UC and its agricultural programs. For much of that time, he was hounded by many of us on the firing lines of California's food systems to develop an academic resource to fill the void created when the Giannini Foundation turned away from its historic mission of applied studies of food system issues.
Finally he hit upon the idea of forming a new UC research center for scholarly studies of critical farm-based issues that also involve broader public interests. Following years of dogged lobbying, Jim was finally rewarded with a legislative enactment that chartered the Center and provided a funding grant of $140,000 annually.
His appointment of Hal Carter as the Center's first director was inspired. Hal brought both extensive public policy and gifts as a scholar of agricultural economics. He quickly established the Center's enduring commitment to integrity and quality of performance.
Hal recognized from the beginning that the complexities of the issues to be investigated would need multidisciplinary expertise—and he proved to have a talent for attracting and inspiring diverse participants. He showed equal skill in organizing a gifted and motivated staff. Though many changes have occurred within this group because of career advancement and family obligations, the quality of staff performance has never ebbed.
His low-key manner belies a perfectionist's intensity and energy. As one example, those qualities enabled him at one time to somehow balance his director's obligations with the added duties of a department head.
To me, Hal Carter comes as close to deserving the accolade of "indispensable" as anyone I have ever known or observed.