Beneficials at SunView


FARMS Program | Kern County |April 9, 2019

Participating Schools
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

The good bugs are eating the bad bugs! These students witnessed this first-hand last year as part of FARMS Leadership’s tour of Bakersfield College back in 2018.

Today, they were able to see partner SunView Vineyards ingenuity on breeding these beneficial bugs! While this isn’t a new practice, it is unusual to have the breeding facility onsite. Other companies tend to buy their predatory mites from a distributor.

We spent the afternoon with Cristina Gomez, Assistant Director of Entomology at Sun View Vineyards. As part of Cristina’s duties, she manages the Beneficial Insectory.

The Predator Mite Greenhouse

We followed Cristina to the greenhouses. The first greenhouse was the breeding ground for the predatory mite. Cristina described how they maintain the environment for breeding. They need humid and warm conditions. We walked out to get a bit of fresh air and then headed into the next greenhouse. This greenhouse is breeding the spider mites to feed the predatory mites. We discussed the irrigation that it takes to maintain the environment as well.

Students were able to meet Marco Zaninovich, Owner and talk about FARMS Leadership and how it has made an impact on them. It was a great afternoon! Thank you, Sun View Vineyards!

It Was Coming Up Roses in Wasco, CA


FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County |April 9, 2019

Participating Schools
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

40% of the nation’s roses come from Wasco, California! Wasco sits just northwest of Bakersfield and is known for its Roses. People travel to come to the Annual Festival of Roses every Labor Day to see the beauty that is blossoming in Wasco, CA.

We arrived at Weeks Roses in Wasco and were greeted by Manager, Stu Chamberlain. He helped us get an up close and personal look at the growing, shipping, packing, and practices in place to protect the product through Integrated Pest Management. Stu shared that they are one of the largest rose growers in the world. A couple of key customers are Amazon and Home Depot! We toured the cold storage where we learned how the roses are forced into dormancy. Pesty fungus and mold are a concern in the cold storage and they use a general fungicide to treat those issues. As we walked into the cold storage we sat 257 varieties of roses!

Touring the Cold Storage

“I don’t think I even knew that there were that many types of roses!” Said Casey Sprayberry, FARMS Advanced student from Independence High School.

There were other containers that were being prepared for shipping. Containers of grapes, figs, iris, and cherries. Weeks also partners with the university extension office and Cal Poly Pomona to learn about stone fruit and other various crops. It was now time to walk through the greenhouse and learn about Greenhouse Management.

Assisting with pest management, ID Services LLC’s Alan Butterfield, walked us through the nursery teaching us about the different pests they battle. Mr. Butterfield taught the students the symptoms to look for. We shadowed him as he talked us through his daily practice, then it was time for the students to give it a try. Students scanned the crop to put a numerical grade on the percent damaged by the pest. We then discussed what to do when we found damage. We discussed Label Identification, Recommendation, and classes of insecticides. Students were able to remove who plants when the pest had taken over too much and it was a complete loss.

From the Greenhouse Tour, we took a driving tour of the planted fields. Iris was in bloom and beautiful! There was cover crop planted to restore the soil in some lots. We talked about the grains of that field being sent to cereal companies. After our tour, each student received a catalog of roses and they were able to choose one to take home. What a gift!!

Thank you Stu Chamberlain, Alan Butterfield and staff! It was a great day out at Weeks Roses. We can’t wait to come back!

What’s the Buzz About?

FARMS Advanced | Kern County | February 27, 2019

Participating Schools
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

We had been waiting all year for this! It was Apiology day! The almond trees were in bloom and it was time to hear and experience the honeybee industry. Jimmy Gardner of United Honeybees allowed us to come and experience the world of bees with him.

We started with conversations about the lifecycle of the bee and the honey bee business. Bees have a community and they are like any other animal. They need to be fed, watered and cared for. We studied the facts of the honeybee.

Here are some facts that shocked students:

  • Bees are the only insect in the world that makes food that humans eat.
  • Honeybees pollinate $15 billion of crops every year
  • Honey has natural preservatives so bacteria can’t grow in it
  • 85% of plants exist because of bees
  • 1/3 of all the food we eat depends on pollinators
  • More than 100 types of crops are pollinated by bees in the US – including clover and alfalfa that feed our cows
  • Beekeeping has a migration route throughout the US. Their timing is critical and weather dependent.

After we discussed the facts of bees and the benefits of honey, we went out to experience them first hand!

We walked and did exactly what Jimmy Gardner does on the daily. The feeling of the wind produced from the bees wings as they land on your hood is a feeling that you can’t explain. Your first reaction is to swat them, but then you remember that you are safe in the suit. You see and hear them working hard to care for their queen. We were able to label the drone bees versus the worker bees. Then we found her! We found the Queen!

It was a great day! Thank you for hosting us, Redhouse Beef. Thank you for teaching us, United Honeybees!

Bulldogs and Agriculture

FARMS Program |
Kern and Central Valley Regions |January 25, 2019

Participating Schools
Kern County:
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

Central Valley:
Hanford High School
Kerman High School

Summary of the Day
Do you think Bulldogs know about Agriculture? The Fresno State Bulldogs are pros! Our Central Valley and Kern County FARMS Advanced students learned a lot about their character and about Integrated Pest Management as we toured the Fresno State Ag Department.

We started the day gathering in the Ag One Meeting Room. Introductions were made between students through an Ice Breaker activity. This helped the two regions come together, however many of the students knew each other already due to the connectivity through social media and the FFA world.

A Leadership Team was established in the group and they were given the task to interview and then introduce our hosts, Michelle Perez, and Rick Chacon. Fresno State offers a class in True Colors, a personality development tool aiding in team development. Students were amazed at the outcome and how it validated how they think and act. They also were led through an exercise in understanding the other personality traits and how to work with those traits. Students discussed how they might use this tool in the workplace or even in their social circles and families.

We broke for lunch and then made our way out to the farm to study the pistachio and almond trees. We talked about identifying the Naval Orange Worm and the devastating effects it can have on the industry. We talked about the practices used to protect against it as well.

Dr. Jacob Wenger taught about the Naval Orange Worm

We also discussed the shaking process in almonds and were able to witness the equipment used to shake the trees. Ranch Manager Rob gave us a tour of the campus’s working orchard where we discussed the importance of the care and maintenance in order to keep harvesting on track.

From the field, we went to the Jordan Lab. This state of the art lab has been a great addition to the campus and we were fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour. The lab allows for in-depth ag research. The professional nature of the lab is something the students noticed right away. One lab was dedicated to the study of the Naval Orange Worm. Dr. Wenger shared his knowledge and how they are considering working on a way to make the worm glow for earlier detection. They use the smallest of needles to inject the worms to change their DNA then breed this new gene We were able to study the different life cycles of the worms.

Grass-Fed Beef in Kern County

FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County | November 6, 2018

Participating School
Independence High School
Ridgeview High School
Bakersfield Christian High School

Partners/Landowners
Debbie Wise, Owner of Red House Beef
Jessica Pounds, Owner of Moo Creamery Restaurant

Red House Beef’s grass-fed operation is a beautiful sight as you drive down Enos Ln (Hwy 43). Students met at RedHouse on a beautiful morning. We climbed the stairs to a roof-top porch where the view of the entire ranch could be seen. There is something about all of that green grass with cattle grazing, chickens clucking, and that makes you feel like all is right with the world.

Students had the opportunity to take part in the full ranch to table experience at Redhouse while learning what it takes to maintain pastures in a clean environment. Students took pasture samples and learned about the evaluation of the samples done in the lab. The lab is looking for vitamin content as well as pesticide-free, clean samples. Redhouse is not an organically certified, but they do follow as many of the practices as they can to stay “clean” and “Grass Fed” certified.

We discussed mob grazing, the benefits of grass-finished meats and got to take part in weight and health checks. Students ran the chute and experienced pulling tags, retagging, and treating common pink eye using patches instead of antibiotics.

We washed up and it was time for the best burgers ever! Our friends over at Moo Creamery prepared lunch for the whole group. We got to talk to owner Jessica Pounds about her restaurant and her desires behind selecting local vendors (like Redhouse) to feature in Moo’s dishes. Our meal was full of meaningful conversations with questions that get us excited for the future of agriculture.

We discussed the advantages of using poultry for pest management. Redhouse chickens follow the herd of cattle. When the cattle graze for a few days in one pasture they are moved to the next. The chickens are brought into the already grazed pasture to eat pests and fertilize the pasture. The chickens are housed in wagons – a triangular coop on wheels. Debbie Wise, the owner of Redhouse, shared with the students that she is learning about poultry and one of the struggles she has been having is that in certain breeds it is difficult to sex them and she wants to be sure on the ratio of males to females. Little did she know that our very own student, Joshua Crain is a poultry expert and is looking to major in Poultry Science. Joshua, a Junior at Independence High School, shared his knowledge with Debbie on the process of sexing the chickens.

We had a great day learning about a natural approach to ranching. Our livestock students learned that there are new approaches when it comes to cattle management

I.P.M. 101

FARMS Advanced: Kern County: October 16, 2018

Kern County Cooperative Extension

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Brian Marsh, County Director UCCE Kern County/Agronomy Advisor
David Haviland, Entomology and IPM Adviser, UCCE Kern County
Dr. Mohammed Yaghmour, Area Orchard Systems Advisor, UUCE Kern County
Julie Finzel, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UCCE Kern County

Theme: Introduction to Integrated Pest Management

Summary of the Day:

We are so excited to kick off our FARMS Advanced program where we are studying Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.). We have a total of 7 students from the following high schools Bakersfield Christian High School, Frontier High School, Independence High School, and Ridgeview High School. For our first Field Day, we visited the Kern County Cooperative Extension.

The services that our local Cooperative Extension provides are vast! Students toured and learned from our local advisors about the history of the Cooperative Extension providing insight into the services they provide and why – the foundation in which the Cooperative Extension was created. We then jumped right into Integrated Pest Management – our FARMS Advanced area of study for this school year.

What is Integrated Pest Management? The Cooperative Extension provided students with the ability to dig in to many aspects of Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M). Entomologist, David Haviland walked students through an interactive brainstorming session asking students to share different ways they manage pests at home. Through a hands on activity on identifying pest and beneficial pests, students soon realized that they have been using Integrated Pest Management for years and didn’t even know it. Students were able to spend time in the lab at the Cooperative Extension searching for Naval Orange Worm, a particularly pest worm that invades almonds and oranges. The day was packed with information like Safety of Pesticide Use, Plant Pathology, Biological Controls of Crop Pests, Regulation, Controlling Weeds and Invasive Plants, and finally a Case Study to bring it all together.

Students search for Naval Orange Worm

Dr. Haviland Teaching About Naval Orange Worm

Kern Advanced Students Study IPM