A Handful of Almonds…

(MADERA, CA) On Wednesday, September 26th, Students from the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership Program stepped out of the classroom to learn about the steps to harvesting almonds at Creekside Farming Company Inc. and learning about The Almond Company’s business.  Meeting for the first time were 30 sophomore and juniors students from Clovis East High School, Kerman High School, Liberty High School, and Madera South High Schools.

FARMS stands for Farming, Agriculture and Resource Management for Sustainability, which is a premier Leadership Program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning.  This statewide youth program connects high school students to California’s food system and teaches them leadership skills through a year of field days on farms, ranches and agribusinesses.  They get to explore college and career opportunities in agriculture, food and environmental science while helping them develop critical thinking skills through hands-on experiences. “It is so important for students to learn about the agriculture that surrounds them.”, said Katie Wortman, the FARMS Leadership Coordinator for the Central Valley.

The Madera County Farm Bureau provided the meeting space for the Leadership portion of the Field Day.  The day started out with the designation of leadership teams and students practicing the proper handshake.  Students got to know each other by interviewing each other and introduced each other as a preparation for introducing our individual speakers.  Each predetermined student interviewed each speaker of the day and introduced them to the group as a whole. Next, the group traveled to The Almond Company and were welcomed by Anthony Sagariballa, Director of Plant Operations and Jerry Magdaleno, Grower Relations.

Our students were treated to a company presentation, almond tasting, facility tour, and lunch. Finally, we ended our day with Creekside Farming. Jay Mahil, Owner and Eli Gallegos, Ranch Manager met us for an in-depth tour of harvesting Almonds. Students were able to watch how Almond trees are harvested including the shaking, sweeping and picking up of Almonds.  Almonds were then transferred to the truck and delivered to the processor. Our FARMS students did an excellent job asking questions and being engaged in the day.

All about Cotton!!

FARMS Leadership| Central Valley | October 9, 2018

Participating Schools
El Diamante High School, Visalia; Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia; Lindsay High School, Lindsay; and Hanford High School, Hanford.

Location
Tulare & Visalia, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors
Farm Credit West, Tulare; Cardoza Farming Company; Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc. and USDA Cotton Program Classing Office, Visalia

Summary of the Day
On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program students enjoyed a fun-filled,  field day learning about the Cotton Industry. The students who consist of Lindsay High School, Hanford High School, El Diamante High School, and Mt. Whitney High School, started off at 9am meeting at Farm Credit West in Tulare. We were welcomed by Jonathan Kennedy, Senior Vice President.  Here students covered a few leadership activities such as practicing, how to properly introduce a host and thanking them for their time and sharing their knowledge with our students.

Next, the group caravanned to our field located south-west of Tulare where Cardoza Company was harvesting a cotton field.  Here, Curtis Lafler, a student from Hanford High School introduced Mr. David Cardoza, President of Cardoza Company. Mr. Cardoza talked with the group about the growing, maintenance and harvesting of cotton. Next, the group headed to Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc., in Tulare, where we were welcomed by Stan Creelman.  Stan showed us the entire process from unloading the truck to accepting the cotton. It takes approximately 2 minutes of travel time to where the seed is removed and the cotton is put into bales ready to be shipped overseas where it is typically made into clothing.

One student said they learned how cotton farming is a sustainable practice, “I learned about how everything is recycled and reused, so nothing goes to waste”. Another student learned, “the fiber on the cotton seeds helps the cows digestion.” This fact refers to the nutrition component that we cover in the program. Finally, we traveled to the USDA Classing Office in Visalia, CA where we enjoyed a quick lunch provided by FARMS. Finally, we spoke to Greg Townsend, the Area Director of the USDA Classing Office. The students learned the process of how the machines now classify and grade the cotton.  We learned that this process used to be done completely by people and the last part of grading still is. We definitely enjoyed our day and thanks to all of our partners for the day; Farm Credit West, Cardoza Company, Mid-Valley Cotton Growers Association Inc., and the USDA Cotton Program Classing Office in Visalia, CA.

Citrus!

FARMS Leadership Program | Central Valley South | September 25, 2018

Location of Field Day:
McKellar Farms, Visalia CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Rosalinda Verde

Theme:
Citrus Farming and Leadership

Summary of the Day:
(IVANHOE, CA)—On Tuesday, September 25th, “Farmer Bob” McKellar, 2016 Agriculturalist of the Year, turned his farm into a classroom for the day for students from the new class of the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program. Meeting for the first time, the class of 30 Sophomores and Juniors from El Diamante, Hanford, Lindsay, and Mt. Whitney High Schools got a new perspective about Agriculture and the citrus industry.

FARMS stands for Farming, Agriculture and Resource Management for Sustainability, which is a premier Leadership Program run by the Center for Land-Based Learning. This statewide youth program connects high school students to California’s food system and teaches them leadership skills through a year of field days on farms, ranches and agribusinesses. They get to explore college and career opportunities in agriculture, food and environmental science while helping them develop critical thinking skills through hands-on experiences. “It is so important for students to learn about the agriculture that surrounds them,” said Katie Wortman, the FARMS Leadership Coordinator for the Central Valley.

The day started out with the designation of leadership teams and students practicing the proper handshake. Students got to know each other by interviewing each other and prepared to introduce our individual speakers. Students participated in a wagon ride tour of McKellar farms which allowed the students to experience the diversity of crops and see different varieties of citrus grown in the Valley. The tour wrapped up with a short video showing what happens at the packing plant once the crop leaves the farm.

Fresno State University

Central Valley FARMS Leadership | California State University, FRESNO | 03/06/2018

Location(s) of Field Day:
California State University, Fresno

Field Day Host(s):
Michelle Perez – Counselor, Admissions and Recruitment
Dr. Avery Culbertson – Professor of Agricultural Leadership
Dr. Thompson – Professor of Dairy Curriculum & Unit/Enterprise Manager
Dr. Steven Pao – Professor and Department Chair in Food Science
Dr. Athanasios “Alex” Alexandrou – Professor of Agriculture Mechanics & Technology

Theme:
Variety of Career and College Options

Summary of the Day:
Session 1 – “True Colors in the program” Student introduced Dr. Avery Culbertson, Professor of Agriculture Leadership Student will present Thank You Dr. Culbertson will also share information about the USDA Discovery program as time permits.

Session 2 – Dairy Unit Student will introduce Dr. Kyle Thompson, Dairy Curriculum & Unit/Enterprise Manager Student will present Thank You JARC Building College and Career Questions to Professors and Students as well as Ag Ambassadors that join us for lunch. Travel to different location for next sessions

Session 3 – IT Unit – Bee Sweet Citrus Facility Student will introduce Dr. Athanasios “Alex” Alexandrou, Professor Mechanized Agriculture Student will present Thank You

Session 4 – Food Science 3 subgroups will rotate through three stations for 15 minutes each Class FFS 105, Class FFS 112, Class FFS 118; Student will introduce Dr. Steven Pao, Professor and Department Chair of Food Science and Nutrition Student will present Thank You Students will share what they learned on the different rotations and what they experienced throughout the day.

Participating Partners/Mentors:
Fresno State – Ag Leadership, Dairy Unit, Industrial Technology and Food Science