Perfection Pet Foods

FARMS Leadership Program | Kern County | Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Perfection Pet Foods- 1111 N Miller Park Ct, Visalia, CA 93291

Field Day Host
Kendre Wise
Marco Mendza
Deshon Young
Janelle Martinez

Summary of the Day: On Tuesday, February 25, 2020 the Kern County FARMS Leadership Program from McFarland High school went on a field trip to Perfection Pet Foods in Visalia, CA. We were so thrilled to find out how our pet’s food is properly made and all the steps to making the perfect pet food. Perfection Pet Foods has been around for eight years. Western Milling is the parent company to Perfection Pet Foods. Perfection Pet foods makes sure that each bag of food or box of treats has the ingredients to meet the requirements our pets need.

We first started off the tour meeting with the staff of Perfection Pet Foods. They gave us a presentation on what we would be seeing throughout our tour of the facility. There are many regulations and rules they must follow in making the perfect pet food. They must make sure that all their pet food is safe to eat and unharmful to pets and humans. 

We started the tour by suiting up in gear required to wear while touring the facility. We were ready to work! We began the tour working backwards with the finish product first and ending with the raw material. It was amazing to see rows and rows of so many pallets stacked high waiting to go out to deliver. They have thousands and thousands of pounds of food in their warehouse. The process is so fast in which they package the dog food. Making sure each seal is complete is crucial on making sure the food stays as fresh as possible. The food also goes through a metal detector to make sure no foreign objects have entered the bags so our pets are guaranteed safe products. 

Ready to go to work!

We watched the raw material being pushed through the extruder. Imagine Play-Doh as a kid. The extruder is the cookie cutter for the pet food. They come in all shapes and sizes such as bones, stars, circles and triangles. The food then falls out into the shape desired and then gets cooked to perfection. It then is cooled and sent onto the packaging process.

We were also able to see the biscuit factory. It smelt amazing! It was so tempting to sample one. They smelt like cookies and cooked to perfection. The biscuits came in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Fun Fact: They mentioned most variety pack of biscuits that differ in color are most likely all the same flavor. So therefore, if your pet prefers the savory red beef one he could just like the red color more so than the other colors offered. They to also have different varieties of cut outs based on customers preferences.

 This was such an amazing tour. It was a real eye opener to the process that takes place when creating our pet’s food. Perfection Pet Food puts in hard work and effort for every one of their products produced. Thank you so much for letting us be a part of this amazing day!

A Sweet Exploration of Ag Jobs

FARMS Leadership | North State | February 11, 2020

Field Day Locations:

Sunsweet, Yuba City

Yuba College Career Technical Education (CTE) facilities, Linda campus

Theme of the Day:

California Plums, Food Manufacturing, Jobs in every field in Ag, Community college CTE opportunities

Summary:

What an exciting day at Sunsweet and Yuba College! We started with some fun teambuiling- a game of what we like to call “duct tape octopus pictionary.” The day continued with an intro video and presentation about Sunsweet from Jamie Dickerson, Director of Human Resources. She explained the history of the company, some of the ways they continuously remain the leader in the prune market, and the variety of jobs available at the Yuba City facility for all educational backgrounds. We then got to put on lab coats and hair nets to tour the facility! The students were pretty awe struck at all the machines and at how many different stores and countries prunes were being packed for and waiting for shipment! We stood in a storage room with ¼ of the worlds demand for prunes in crates around us waiting to get packed and shipped!

After a final Q and A session with Sunsweet employees about how to get a job there, and general advice about working in agriculture and in the Yuba City region, we headed to Yuba College. Here, we got a tour from CTE instructor Dan Turner and learned about the welding and advanced manufacturing programs. The students learned that you don’t need to have taken welding courses in High School in order to enroll in the program at college. They also learned about what jobs the various CTE degrees and certificates offered by Yuba College could prepare them for. It was a fun and informative field day and we are grateful to our hosts from Sunsweet and Yuba College for sharing their time, facilities and wisdom with us!

Wildlife, livestock and nature—just a day in the life of college student!

FARMS Leadership| San Joaquin| February 6, 2020

Location of Field Day:

UC Davis, including California Raptor Center, Goat Barn, Dairy Goat Parlor & Creamery, Dining Commons, and Arboretum

Field Day Hosts:

CA Raptor Center and UC Davis

UC Davis Animal Science Department

UC Davis Arboretum & Public Garden

Theme of the Day:

Exploring unique classrooms at UC Davis while learning about animal science.

Summary:

We started our day at the CA Raptor Center at UC Davis. Here, students learned some cool facts about raptors and about the connections between raptors and agriculture. They got to tour the center and meet the resident birds. Next we walked next door to the Goat Barn and the new Dairy Goat Parlor and Creamery. Here, students got to meet dairy and meat goats, and got to tour the brand new milking parlor and creamery. Our Animal Science student and staff hosts helped everyone understand how the milking process works, how goat cheese is made, and highlighted opportunities for internships and coursework in Animal Sciences at UC Davis.

Our next stop was lunch. When on a college campus, we like to take students to eat at the dining commons so they can experience this important aspect of student life and envision themselves as a college student. We ate at Tercero Dining Commons, where students and teachers alike enjoyed the many choices, including UC Davis Student Farm grown veggies!

Our final stop of the day was a visit to the UC Davis Arboretum. Here, we enjoyed some more of the beautiful scenery that UC Davis offers, learned that ducks should NOT eat bread, and learned about the many opportunities for UCD students to participate in internships with the Arboretum and Public Gardens. These internships exist in many topics that intersect with campus life and the outdoors, including health science, landscape design, habitat restoration, food access and wildlife conservation.

Agriculture the Bulldog Way

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley North | Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Location of Field Day:
California State University, Fresno
5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Susan Pheasant – Director of Institute for Food and Agriculture at Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology
Michelle Perez, Recruitment Counselor & Social Media Coordinator Liaison to Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Rick Chacon, Assistant Director of Admissions & Recruitment
Dr. Sherri Freeman, Teacher Educator Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology
Kate Norum, Project Manager Center for Irrigation Technology Water, Energy and Technology Center

Theme: Agriculture in College

On Wednesday, February 5, 2019, the Central Valley North Field Day group that consisted of LeGrand High School, Firebaugh High School, and Madera South High School gathered at Fresno State Institute for Food and Agriculture meeting room.
Here we were welcomed by Dr. Susan Pheasant, Director, Institute for Food and Agriculture at Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
Students worked on their soft skills by introducing and thanking our speakers. Students also practiced writing thank you and learned how to address an envelope.
Next, we were joined by Michelle Perez, Recruitment Counselor & Social Media Coordinator Liaison to Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology for a walking tour of the Farm. Next, Rick Chacon, Assistant Director of Admissions & Recruitment lead a True Colors leadership activity on Leadership qualities. At lunch, Dr. Freeman visited us and welcomed us to Fresno State. Then we visited Fresno State Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center. Here students learned about their independent testing facility. We also learned about the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT), the independent testing laboratory and applied research facility for the irrigation industry. Finally, students were treated with Fresno State Ice Cream from the Gibson Farm Market. We had a wonderful day full of different experiences and opportunities at Fresno State. Go Dogs!

Veterinarians in training

FARMS Leadership Program | Kern County | Tuesday, January 30, 2020

Location of Field Day:
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center
18830 Rd 112, Tulare CA

Field Day Host
Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco
Karen Tonooka
Jennifer Crook

Theme
Veterinary Science

Summary of the Day:
On Friday, January 30, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Leadership Program from McFarland High school started off their year at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center. We first met with Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco and started watching a Necropsy (an Autopsy on an animal) video of a calf. She was explaining to us the different organs throughout the video and what was abnormal as the kids were trying to diagnosis what was wrong with the sick calf. No one got sick haha! They loved it! The calf ended up having pneumonia and the kids guessed it correctly.

We then met in the Milk Quality lab with Karen Toonka as she talked about in detail how they take their milk samples and diagnosis the issue going on in the dairy. They can test for almost anything in a little sample of milk. They start off by taking a tiny drop and putting the milk into a dish and incubating it for 24-48 hours as the bacteria soon grows inside the dishes. They then take samples under the microscope and solve the problem by figuring out which pathogen is causing the issue. The students loved it! They got to look under the microscope at a bacteria called Mycoplasma. They described it as looking at a fried egg. It has a cell in the middle with a clear membrane wall around it.

We then moved onto the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) lab with Jennifer Crook. She went into detail on molecular biology. Using small samples they are able to make copies of short sections of DNA where they are then able to identify bacteria, viruses and much more. It was great to see the lab and all the machines they use on completing these steps. Lots of information to take in and the kids loved every second of it!

We then went back to our starting point to have some delicious lunch and snacks. After lunch we did a fun activity that the students loved! We were practicing being veterinarians and giving intramuscular and subcutaneous injections to our orange patients. We started off with green food coloring and was giving a subcutaneous shot. A subcutaneous shot is a injection given under the skin. When we then cut into the oranges the green food coloring should be on the perimeter of the skin. We then used red food coloring for the intramuscular shot. A intramuscular shot is an injection given directly into the muscle. When cutting open the orange the red food coloring should appear in the meat of the orange. This showed the kids different ways shots are given in the livestock world. Everyone showed their true vet skills and did it correctly! Thank you UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center for a day filled of great information and fun for myself and the kids! Can’t wait to come back we loved it!

Trout and Salmon, Oh My!

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley Central & South | Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Location of Field Day:
California Department of Fish & WildLife – San Joaquin Hatchery – 17372 Brook Trout Drive, Friant, CA 93626

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
William Branch
Cheryl Moxley
Brian Erlandsen

Theme:
Aquaculture and Natural Resources

Summary of the Day:
Students from Patino High School, Sunnyside High School, Kerman High School, Reedley High School and Hanford West High School met on Wednesday, January 29th at The San Joaquin Hatchery of California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Students met and practiced an introduction and thank you practice for use in the day for introducing our hosts. We were joined by Cheryl Moxley who runs the FINS Program. The FINS Program is an interpretive nature trail designed to teach children the life cycle of trout. Given the slightly older nature of our group, she covered other more age-appropriate information such as native plants, grant funding information, and interpretive design. Next, students rotated between two programs with lunch provided by FARMS to split up these two rotations. The first was SCARF: A salmon restoration project for the San Joaquin River. This covered topics such as conservation, endangered species, and the science behind genetic matrixing and testing. Students fed these fish and also checked for the success rate of the tagged fish by using the scanner provided. Finally the SJH: The hatchery itself, where we discussed what it takes to raise fish, plant it out, and deal with such things as water quality, biosecurity, and fish health. At the end of the day, students presented thank you’s to all of our hosts. We had a really enjoyable hands-on day. We were very impressed with what the state of California does for our natural resources. Thank you again, William, Cherly, Brian and your entire team.

“Nothing Runs Like a Deere”

FARMS Leadership Program | Central Valley North | Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Fresno Equipment Company
4288 S Bagley Ave, Fresno, CA 93725

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Reid Pinion – Controller
Philip Christensen – Integrated Solutions Manager
Matt Miller – Sales Representative
Luke Prys – Sales
Paris Gallaher – Wholegoods Specialist
Shelley Smith – Order Coordinator
John Dias – Parts Counter Sales Person
David Fishman – Service Technician

Summary of the Day:

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership Program, comprised of LeGrand High School, Madera South High School and Firebaugh High School visited our local John Deere dealer Fresno Equipment Company. Students met as a group to touch up on their leadership introduction and thanking skills. We also discussed what they knew or would want to know about John Deere and Fresno Equipment Company on their KWL worksheet.
The group toured the large facility with Matt Mill that houses administrative staff, human resources, sales representatives, parts staff, and service technicians. During this part of the tour and throughout the day the staff kept mentioning the ways of technology in agriculture. Every person at Fresno Equipment works with some sort of computer. It was also mentioned many times if you are willing to learn and work hard to go up in the company that it was possible.
After the 45 minute rotation, the groups switched and the students participated in a ride and drive course with Luke Prys. The students drove a small tractor with a bucket. In the bucket was a ball that the students drove across the cone lined course, they then used the lever and dropped the ball into the bucket. Some students had never driven before, let alone driving a tractor. What a great skill for our students to learn.
Next we had lunch and then were joined by 4 on site staff, Paris Gallager, Shelley Smith, John Dias and David Fishman. These individuals sat with 4 different groups of students where our students asked questions and were very dialed in to what the staff was saying about their job and how they ended up with Fresno Equipment Company.
Four different students thanked each person for sharing with us and taking a little bit of time out of their busy day. Students followed the end of the day with a career assessment and finishing out their KWL worksheets of what they learned about the day. We truly had a great day! Thank you again Fresno Equipment Company for your generosity with hosting a great field day for your students.

Sustainable to the Last Fiber

FARMS Leadership | Tehama | Thursday, January 16, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Sierra Pacific Industries – 19794 Riverside Ave. Anderson, CA 96007

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kristy Lanham, Community Relations Manager Katie Luther, Workforce Development and Communications Coordinator Drew Peterson, Electrical Supervisor Tanner Estes, Safety and Environmental Coordinator Angie Harris, Office Coordinator Fabrication Shop

Theme:
Technology and Manufacturing

Summary of the Day: Tehama County FARMS Leadership kicked off our year on January 16th at Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson, CA. They have been a generous supporter of our FARMS programs throughout the state and this field day was no exception. While the weather was a bit grey and drizzly, we still took full advantage of our visit and were able to explore their sawmill, cogen plant, and fab/tech shop.

Kristy Lanham, SPI’s Community Relations Manager, and Katie Luther their Workforce Development and Communications Coordinator greeted us and gave some wonderful background information into Sierra Pacific Industries and what sets them apart from many other companies. They truly pride themselves on being a 3rd generation family run company that believes in growing their people, investing in their communities and being sustainable to the last fiber.

Largest crane west of the Mississippi loading logs onto the log deck.

Tanner Estes, Safety and Environmental Coordinator then joined us to be our guide as we headed out to see exactly how they are sustainable to the last fiber. We began by watching the largest crane west of the Mississippi River placing logs on the log deck. These logs have come from somewhere on the 2 million acres of forests Mr. Emmerson owns in CA and WA, making Sierra Pacific the 2nd largest lumber producer in the United States. As the logs enter the sawmill they are run through a de-barker and cut into lengths appropriate for the boards they will be but into. The students were absolutely fascinated by the technology, speed and size of the equipment being used. We met several of the employees that were inspecting the lumber for quality as well as operating some of the equipment along the way. Seeing the process from raw log to 2 X 4 that you could purchase at Home Depot was amazing! As we walked out of the sawmill Tanner talked to us about the waste they produce and how every single fiber is consumed wether it be shipped out as lumber, or used as fuel for their cogen plant. As we stood and watched the cogen steam we learned that they not only produce enough power to run their facility, but they feed energy back into the grid to provide power for much of the community. They also use the steam to dry their own lumber and any of the steam that is left over is looped around and continued in the cycle. Talk about efficient! Wow!

Lastly we headed over to the Fab/Tech Shop where Drew Peterson, Electrical Supervisor, toured us through this very high tech and state-of-the-art facility. We learned that Sierra Pacific designs and builds all of their equipment so they employ computer designers, electrical and mechanical engineers, fabricators, and many others that support this process. As we walked through the fab shop Drew showed how far the technology has come and that it is moving more and more into robotics. This is one of the highest tech operations in our area and truly offers wonderful opportunities for not only careers but also internships for those interested.

Our day wrapped up with a fabulous lunch provided by SPI and an opportunity for questions to be answered. The students were impressed by the company values as well as career opportunities they learned about. Many were surprised that they could begin a job right out of high school if they wanted and grow within the company into a very respectable career position. They also were intrigued with the scholarship opportunities that SPI offers to the children of their employees. Thank you Sierra Pacific Industries for all you pour into our program and the youth of today!

Aquaculture Education

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley North | Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Location of Field Day:
California Department of Fish & WildLife – San Joaquin Hatchery – 17372 Brook Trout Drive, Friant, CA 93626

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
William Branch
Cheryl Moxley
Brian Erlandsen

Theme:
Aquaculture and Natural Resources

Summary of the Day:
Students from LeGrand High School, Madera South High School and Firebaugh High School met on Wednesday, December 11th at The San Joaquin Hatchery of California Department of Fish & Wildlife. Students met and practiced an introduction and thank you practice for use in the day for introducing our hosts. Students also learned about the end of the year Community Action Project they would need to complete as a requirement of the FARMS Leadership Program. The Community Action Project is any project undertaken by students that applies the skills and knowledge attained throughout the program to address problems or concerns in the students’ own communities. Students will present what they have contributed to their communities during the last field day in April. Next, we were joined by Cheryl Moxley who runs the FINS Program. The FINS Program is an interpretive nature trail designed to teach children the life cycle of trout. Given the slightly older nature of our group, she covered other more age-appropriate information such as native plants, grant funding information, and interpretive design. Next, students rotated between two programs with lunch provided by FARMS to split up these two rotations. The first was SCARF: A salmon restoration project for the San Joaquin River. This covered topics such as conservation, endangered species, and the science behind genetic matrix and testing. Followed by SJH: The hatchery itself, where we discussed what it takes to raise fish, plant it out, and deal with such things as water quality, biosecurity, and fish health. At the end of the day, students presented thank you’s to all of our hosts. We had a really enjoyable hands-on day. We were very impressed with what the state of California does for our natural resources. Thank you again, William, Cherly, Brian and your entire team.

Farmer Training in the Salinas Valley

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | December 5th, 2019

Location(s) of Field Day:
ALBA Campus 1700 Old Stage Road, Salinas Ca

Participating Schools:
Soquel High School

Field Day Hosts and Mentors:
Nathan Harkleroad – Education Program Director
Nancy Porto – Community Relations and Environmental Education Officer

Summary of the Day: 
At today’s field day students had to make their way through roadblocks and detours to get to the ALBA Campus. Last night’s storm caused a levy to break and flooded several South Monterey County Cities including Gonzales. By morning Gonzales HS had to close for the day and Gonzales HS students in the FARMS program could not make it to the field day.

Luckily, Soquel High School students made it safely to the field day site ready to learn about Organic Farmer Training. ALBA stands for Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association. Students spent the morning learning about the farmer education course that provides hands-on training and college-accredited coursework to the next generation of organic farmers. The course allows aspiring farmers to learn about organic farming production, pest management, marketing, record keeping, labor laws and much more. 

Nathan Harkleroad the education program director taught students about organic pest management and careers in pest management like crop planning and research. He shared research from the USDA on an experiment using alyssum as a conservation bio-control. Alyssum can be very beneficial for organic farmers because it attracts hoverflies that help control aphids. Students had the opportunity to plant a hundred alyssum plants in the fields. 

Finally, the day ended with a farm tour and included meaningful discussions about: 

  • Sustainability practices like straw bale buildings, solar panels to power buildings and well pumps.
  • Water wells and the limited water resources in the area as well as some water regulations affecting farmers today. 
  • Hedgerows, cover crops, windbreaks, and how beneficial these are for the soil and land conservation.
  • The visible differences from how ALBA manages their land and how the neighboring conventional farmers manage their land.