Leadership at Cargill

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley Central | Friday, March 6, 2020

Location of Field Day: Cargill, 3115 S Fig Ave, Fresno, CA 93706

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: 
Pedro Lopez-Ramos, Human Resources
Jahnessa Anderson Lopez, Operations Supervisor
Katrina Robertson, General Manager
Christopher Vazquez, Cattle Buyer

Theme:  Labor in Animal Agriculture

Upon our arrival at Cargill, we met with Pedro Lopez-Ramos in human resources and Jahnessa Anderson Lopez.  They talked about how their education led them to the position they work for at Cargill now.  

We were then joined by Katrina Robertson, General Manager of the Fresno plant and she talked to us about how she came up with the company. Her original major was not in Agriculture.  She talked about how she grew with the company and became the general manager.  The three of them talked about how to be an asset for where your work is being flexible and willing to be a team player.  Following her talk, we took some much-needed pictures for a great day and thank her for joining us.  Following the talk, Pedro showed us a PowerPoint about the company.  He also showed us a video of the plant and what the line looks like when they break down carcasses.  Finally, during lunch, we had some other conversations and Pedro and Jahnessa were very gracious in letting us ask many questions that were left over from the video and PowerPoint.  

We left with some great Cargill swag and many memories.

Student Alondra Ortiz from Kerman High School said, “Cargill helped us see the reality of what is portrayed by non-Ag groups and the meatpacking industry. How the meat is processed and how it is being expanded to more than just meat but by using plant-based supplements.”

Merging Businesses

Gar Bennett – Labor in the Agriculture Industry

FARMS Advanced Leadership Program | Central Valley | Friday, February 21, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Gar Bennett 8246 Crawford Ave, Reedley, CA 93654

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Ralph Rendon, Chief Personnel Officer of Gar Bennett

Summary of the Day:

Before students even set foot onto the GAR Bennett Property in Reedley they completed a Pro-Scan Survey. The ProScan Survey is an instrument designed by Professional DynaMetric Programs, Inc. (PDP) to measure the major aspects of self-perception, including an individual’s basic behavior, reaction to environment, and predictable behavior. GAR uses this survey on every employee that is hired so when they are hired they are aware of their behavior and if they would be a good fit for the company and other employees to work with.

Each student was able to go through their completed results with Ralph explaining each and every aspect of the survey. The students were blown away by how it accurately predicted their behavior.

After all of the students studied their test results we broke for a quick Lunch break. After lunch we had a roundtable question and answer session with Mr. Rendon. He talked about his job as it relates to GAR and about the Business Merging with Bennett Irrigation. He went on to say they now are a one-stop-shop for the farmers they work with and it has expanded to the irrigation side of things. Congratulations GAR Bennett and Thank You for being such a great supporter of the FARMS Leadership Program.

Fruits of our Labor

FARMS Advanced Program | Central Valley | Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Lindcove Extension Research Center
22963 Carson Ave, Exeter, CA 93221

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D. – Director of Lindcove REC & Research Entomologist UC Riverside
Kurt R. Schmidt – Principal Superintendent of Agriculture
Don Cleek – Agricultural Supervisor
Stephanie Doria – Staff Research Associate I
Adam Kagy – Agricultural Technician

Summary of the Day:
On Wednesday, January 15, 2020, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Program visited with the folks at the Lindcove Extension Research Center (LREC). We were greeted by Kurt Schmidt. Mr. Schmidt explained that the Lindcove Extension Research Center (LREC) greenhouses, orchards and packline are used by researchers for a variety of studies including developing new citrus rootstocks and scions, evaluating the effects of the local environment on rootstock and scion combinations, screening seedless varieties of mandarins, detecting freeze damage of fruit, and analyzing chemical treatments for pests and post harvest diseases. After learning about what LREC does we went into the citrus grove with their picking crew to learn more about labor in the citrus industry. We learned that there were no mechanical ways of picking and that the labor into the picking was very time consuming and dependent on how quickly they worked and how accurately they picked the best pieces of fruit. We then took what the students picked on their own to the packline to see the automated machines and new technology at work. The California citrus industry, through the California Citrus Quality Council, donated a complete citrus packing line to the LREC in 1995. This 5,000 square foot facility has available for research an FMC high-pressure scale washer, Brogdex waxing and drying equipment, and a Compac fruit-grading unit that can measure number, size, weight, shape, color, texture, density, ºBrix, grade of fruit, and other parameters. This equipment also allows analysis of fruit from individual trees. Students were excited to take some fruit home to enjoy. We thank the team at Lindcover Extension Research Center again for their time and commitment toward our students and our program.