Rain or shine, we lay the line!

Winters High School at Winters Putah Creek Nature Park Extension
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | November 27, 2018

Participating School
Winters High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Putah Creek Council
City of Winters

Mentors
Corey Shake, Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science, NRCS
Denise Colombano, UCD graduate student
Karin Young, Education Program Manager, Putah Creek Council
Marisa Alcorta, Apprenticeship Program Manager, Center for Land-Based Learning
Nick Gallagher, Rangeland Management Specialist, USDA

Summary of the Day
This year we have a SLEWS project in our hometown of Winters – with Winters High School! This project is part of the Winters Putah Creek Nature Park, on land donated to the City of Winters by PG&E. Putah Creek Council and Yolo County Resource Conservation District are involving several groups with the restoration projects, and we’re excited to have SLEWS be part of the process.

On the rainy Tuesday after Thanksgiving, we held our first Field Day at this site. The goal for the day was lofty – installing almost a mile of drip irrigation! Having an irrigation system installed before planting will give our plants the best chance of survival, and because drip irrigation provides each plant with an individual water source, will help prevent excess weed growth and reduce evaporative water loss.

After breakfast and opening circle, students worked as a team to roll out the irrigation tubing. This involved each student carrying a 20-40 foot section of the line – sometimes up to 1000 feet total! Once all the sections of line were rolled out, we divided into mentor groups to install emitters and staple down the line. Groups worked in teams to measure every 20 feet to place a flag (the location of the trees and shrubs we’ll plant in two weeks), poke holes in the line, secure the line to the ground, and install an emitter – this will ensure that each plant receives 2 gallons per hour of water when watered.

We weren’t sure students would finish the entire line – again, it was almost a mile in length, and rain was coming down! – but to our surprise they finished the work at noon on the dot. Perhaps the promise of a burrito at the finish line was good motivation?

Despite the rain, students were excited to walk all the way to Putah Creek to look for spawning salmon after lunch. On the way one student commented on how nice the area will look once the oak trees are planted. Mentor Karin Young of Putah Creek Council led a discussion on salmon breeding habits, Putah Creek Restoration, and why we are seeing salmon in this watershed. Unfortunately we didn’t see any salmon today, but  many students remarked that this was their favorite part of the whole Field Day!

Thank you to all mentors, partners, and students for being troopers on a wet Field Day – we walked over 4 miles in our work according to one mentor’s FitBit!

Holy Cow! A Mooovement Toward Sustainability

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | November 13, 2018

Lakeview Farms
17702 Bear Mountain Blvd, Bakersfield, CA 93311

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
B.J. Schoneveld, Owner Lakeview Farms
Roy Dowd, Director – CalBio Energy Facility O&M, & Digester Research
Jamie Jarrett Ph.D., Dairy Nutritionist – Alpha Dairy Consulting

Theme:
Science in Agriculture

Summary of the Day:
Students from Frontier High School, West High School, Independence High School, Ridgeview High School, and Bakersfield Christian High School gathered for breakfast at the Kern County Ag Pavilion, after we loaded the bus to head out to Lakeview Dairy. When we arrived, we hit the ground running with an overview of the 9,500 head dairy farm and a tour of the milk house. Owner, B.J. Schoneveld, shared the technology used using the EID Ear Tag Reader. Students were able to see reports generated from the field with the EID Tag Reader and learn about the importance of tracking health and genetics. Students then walked to the barns where cows were served their morning feed. They were shocked with how many things they recognized in the feed – carrots, cotton, and almond hulls. They smelled the sourness of the feed. We noticed the temperature of the barn. Mr Schoneveld has tried a new approach with the cows in climate control. He has placed share cloth and fans strategically in the barn to not only keep the cows cool, but to keep their food cooler as well. This has made a huge difference in their production and feed intake. Cows like eating cooler feed. Happy cows make happy milk. We then went into the newborn calf pen where students were able to touch and take photos with the newly born calves. These calves are shipped to Hanford where they will be fed and cared for until they are old enough to return to the dairy for milk production. After touring the barns, we met Roy Dowd who introduced us to the manure digester.

Lakeview’s partnership with California Bioenergy is a cutting edge approach to sustainability. Not only does it process the manure, allowing the farm to recycle the solid matter for bedding, but it also allows them to use the liquid to create energy through bacteria and gas production. The water that is cycled through then is used to clean parts of the dairy. This approach will allow them to partner with other diaries creating a cohort of dairies who will be working with PG&E on the energy output, thus getting paid for the energy they create. We discussed the many careers in this up and coming field. Mr. Dowd was born and raised in went to college in Bakersfield. Learning about how he achieved his goals was a learning for the students. What’s more appetizing that discussing manure? We were served a fantastic lunch provided by Lakeview Farms. During lunch we met Nutritionist, Jamie Jarrett.

She shared her career journey with the students and the colleges she attended. She was an alumni of one of our participating high schools which was a connection point for students. She then took us to the feed area. Here there were mountains of ingredients/commodities used in the cow feed. She brought out 4 buckets of different mixed feed and discussed the fat content and nutritional value of each mix. She had students pick up a handful and share what they saw and asked why they thought they might feed that item. Items included carrots that they get from neighboring farms as well as almond hulls. Students have eaten carrots but almond hulls a new idea for them. Students know about almonds, but not in their natural state – coming from a shell and hull. We talked about the sustainability this offers – where nothing is wasted. Students came away with an understanding of the care and efforts made to get milk into our homes. They learned about the science used to make a smaller footprint on the earth. They also learned about the sustainability efforts being made by other farmers, like the almond farmer, to be sure that nothing is wasted.

Students learn about the parts of the milk house and the tests run to keep our food safe.

Cooling the Barn and the Affects on the Cows.

A very blustery day at Clark Ranch!

SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | November 8, 2018

Participating School
Grant Union High School

Location
Clark Ranch 2 in Davis, CA – the southern of two projects at this site

Partners/Landowners
Yolo Resource Conservation District
Rominger Brothers Farms
Bruce Clark

Mentors
Amelia Munson, UC Davis graduate student
Jen Metes, Research Associate, Consero Solutions
Julea Shaw, UC Davis graduate student
Ha Truong, NRCS Agricultural Engineer
Mandi Finger, Associate Director, Genomic Variation Lab

Summary of the Day
The morning of our first SLEWS Field Day of the season brought an unexpected and unwelcome surprise – 25 MPH winds! Luckily, Grant Union students arrived with great attitudes and were eager to get started on the restoration task of the day.

Using a barn as a windbreak, students enjoyed breakfast before we gathered together for a SLEWS tradition – the opening circle. Bruce Rominger, President of Rominger Brothers Farms, joined us to introduce the project site and talk about how the restoration work the students were about to begin would positively impact his almond and walnut orchards. Students, mentors, restoration partners, and Center for Land-Based Learning staff introduced themselves, and we played a game called “Where the Wind Blows” to identify commonalities within our group.

After opening circle, it was time to brave the wind and get started on our project for the day – installing a drip irrigation system! Drip irrigation will provide each plant with an individual water source, preventing excess weed growth and conserving water. Staff from Yolo Resource Conservation District showed the mentor groups how to poke holes in the line to push in “emitters”, which will regulate the water flow to each individual plant. Each group installed emitters on a section of the planting area, and when everyone finished it was time to check their work. Alex Hasbach, Farm Manager of Rominger Brothers Farms, turned on the irrigation system much to everyone’s amusement – in spots where emitters weren’t properly installed, water shot everywhere! Luckily, Grant students did an excellent job and there were few of these “sprinklers” to be found.

Finally it was time to break for a much-anticipated (and much-deserved) burrito lunch. After lunch, Caring for Our Watersheds Coordinator Beth Del Real led students in an activity to help them visualize the earth’s water supply, and why water conservation is so important. Students were each given a blank puzzle piece representing an area of land to develop as they wished – some built giant mansions, others created water reservoirs, and one student even built an ice cream shop! Once we assembled the puzzle, we had a great visual of a watershed and discussed how the developments they made might affect the water supply.

Thanks for an incredible first Field Day, Grant Union students, mentors, and project partners!

Premier Mushrooms and Colusa Industrial Properties

FARMS Leadership | North State | November 6, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Premier Mushrooms and Colusa Industrial Properties
Colusa, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
John Ashbaugh – Premier Mushrooms, CEO
Chris Krebs – Premier Mushrooms, Chief Operating Officer
Kevin Foley – Premier Mushrooms, Sustainability Programs Manager
Ed Hulbert – Colusa Industrial Properties, CEO

Theme: Sustainability

Summary of the Day:
The North State FARMS Leadership Program began our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Colusa Industrial Properties and Premier Mushroom in Colusa, California. Premier Mushrooms employees the largest number of people within Colusa Industrial Properties (CIP) at around 230 employees. They are also operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The FARMS Leadership students were given an introduction to Premier Mushrooms by Chris Krebs, the Chief Operating Officer. Then the students were split up into 3 groups and taken on tours of the facilities. During the tour the students were able to see many different jobs throughout the operation. They were also able to learn about the different varieties of mushrooms and see them at many different stages. After touring the main facilities and seeing different grow rooms we traveled over to the processing and packaging facility for a tour. Concluding our tours, we went back over to CIP for lunch and the FARMS Leadership students were joined by some of the staff from Premier Mushrooms. The staff all gave presentations on where they came from, how they ended up working at Premier Mushrooms, and what they do for the company now. They were all very insightful and the students were able to see a wide range of backgrounds and employees. After lunch Ed Hulbert, the CEO of Colusa Industrial Properties, joined us and discussed with the students the background of CIP and talked about the different companies there and CIP’s connection to Premier Mushrooms.

 

“One thing I didn’t know about mushrooms that I learned today was the mass quantities in which they grow in a short period of time.” – Madi D. (Marysville High School)

 

“Something I learned from this field day was that it takes at least 15 days to make good compost.” – Katie W. (Pierce High School).

 

Sierra Pacific Industries

FARMS Leadership| Tehama County | November 6, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Richfield, CA

Field Day Host:
Sierra Pacific Industries – Becky Roe and Kristy Lanham

Participating Partners:
Bill Carol, Joe Puentes, Christina Max, Jeff Jackman, Jim Hansen

Theme:
Technology and Manufacturing

Summary of the Day:
After such a severe wildfire year in CA, it was very fitting to visit Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) and learn from one of the leaders in the logging and lumber industry what really happens to all those burnt trees after a major forest fire such as the Carr Fire.

Spending our day at SPI Richfield we were exposed to two different processing facilities: their remanufacturing plant and one of their millwork plants. Students broke up into two groups and had to opportunity to tour one of the plants and then did a speaking activity by presenting to the other group as well as SPI staff what they learned, careers they saw and what their favorite part was. Learning skills such as public speaking, preparing a presentation in a short amount of time, as well as how to collaborate with other students are all an important part of our FARMS Field Days. Some of the key things they learned exploring the facilities were:

“The wood in the Millwork was cut into small pieces and glued back together to form bigger pieces, then they press the wood to keep it’s form.”                                                                                                              – Melanie Flores, Orland High School Student

“Some of the jobs in the Reman facility are: chain pullers, banding, optimizer operator, and forklift driver.”                                                   -Zach Skaggs, Red Bluff High School Student

 

SPI and Red Emmerson are the largest private land owner with over 2 million acres of land between California and Washington. Therefore, they have very detailed processes and procedures for how they handle their land after a wildfire has roared through. Joe Puentes, one of their lead foresters, gave a wonderful presentation on the importance forest management and how they manage their forests differently being a private company versus a government agency as well as the extreme urgency of time to replant the forests and restore the environmental balance as quickly as possible.

“After a fire they replant double to amount of trees.”                            – Clayton Cox, Corning High School Student

” 12,000 trees a day can be planted for a crew of 12 laborers!”           – Forrest Powell, Los Molinos High School

Urban Agriculture in Stockton, California

FARMS Leadership | San Joaquin | October 30, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Boggs Tract Community Farm
Stockton, CA

Theme: Urban Agriculture

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kenda Templeton, Puentes Deputy Director & Operations Manager
Clifton Maxwell, Urban Farm Manager
Javier Gardea, Urban Forestry Coordinator
George Dale, Bee Keeper

Summary of the Day:
The San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Program began our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Boggs Tract Community Farm in Stockton, CA learning about urban agriculture. Bogg’s Tract Community Farm allows local residents to lease a plot to grow food for their families or to sell at local farmer’s markets. There are also other crops grown to support the region year around as well as farm fresh eggs and honey being produced. The community farm also hosts numerous work shops and education events year around.

The FARMS Leadership students were able to learn about irrigation and pull out and replace irrigation lines in the garden beds. They also fixed up some of the garden beds and leveled them out, added soil, and replaced the straw over the top. The students also learned about compost and were able to help make more for the farms use. In addition to that they were able to plant some winter crops with the Urban Farm Manager, Clifton Maxwell. After lunch the students were visited by George Dale who is a local Bee Keeper. The community farm is one of the locations where George farms bee’s and he was a wealth of knowledge for the students to learn about bee keeping and he provided an endless supply of facts about honey bee’s.

FARMS Leadership Gets Nutty in Sacramento Valley

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | October 25, 2018

Locations of Field Day: Sierra Orchards and Mariani Nut Company, Winters, CA

Theme: Sustainability

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Craig McNamara, Owner and Manager of Sierra Orchards
AJ Gomez, Farmer at Sierra Orchards
Max Mariani, Production Manager at Mariani Nut Company

Summary of the Day:
This year the Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program kicked off our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA. The day started off with breakfast and ice breakers giving the students the opportunity to meet people from other schools. Following the ice-breaker the students were given an over view of what to expect for the year within the FARMS Leadership Program. We then all caravanned over to Mariani Nut Company where Max Mariani gave us an overview of the company, a tour of the facilities, and then allowed the students to sort walnuts on the factory line. After the tour of Mariani the group headed back to Sierra Orchards where we all enjoyed lunch and discussed what we learned on the tour. Following lunch, AJ Gomez gave us an introduction to Sierra Orchards and then led the group on a tour. He drove a tractor hauling a hay trailer so that the students could see the walnut orchard and harvest up close and personal.

What Do I Want to Be? How Do I Get There?

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 16, 2018

Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kern County Farm Bureau
Bakersfield College Staff
Heather Baltis

Theme:
Career and Career Path Exploration

Summary of the Day:
Often times, students have an opinion about attending Junior Colleges. There is sadly a stigma that we as educators fight on a regular basis about attending anything other than a 4-year college path. Today, I fought to blast this stigma with our visit to the nationally known Bakersfield College Ag Department.

Students from Frontier High School, Independence High School, Ridgeview High School, Bakersfield Christian High School, and West High School were amazed at the professionalism and opportunities available to them at Bakersfield College.

This day was not your average College Visit. Bakersfield College partners with industry to bring professionals who are making a living with these degrees. This tangible approach allows for students to ask questions, network with local industry, and really imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes. Industry professionals share their journey giving insight into how they got to their current position.

Bakersfield College provided lunch and a time for students to meet with different colleges and possible employers. Our students passed out business cards to those employers where they were interested in connecting on a deeper level.

It was a great day! Thank you, Bakersfield College!

Alyssa Jones, FARMS Leadership student, shares her experience with the Vet Technician Program

California Olive Ranch

FARMS Leadership| Tehama County | October 16, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Artois, CA

Field Day Host:
California Olive Ranch – Julie Vandegriff

Participating Partners:
Julie Vandegriff, Logan Jennings

Theme:
Sustainable Farming

Summary of the Day:
Did you know that 98% of all olive oil sold and produced in the USA comes out of this one little olive oil plant in Artois, CA?

With clear blue skies and a crisp cool morning the fall weather at California Olive Ranch made for the perfect kick off our 2018-19 FARMS Leadership field days! While we were anticipating olive harvest to have started, this was lesson #1 learned….agriculture doesn’t follow a calendar! However, California Olive Ranch didn’t disappoint. Students had the opportunity to explore everything from orchard to finished product and every detail in between. One benefit to harvest not starting yet, was each student got to not only sit in the driver’s seat of an OXBO harvester, but they all operated the hydraulics and got a true lesson in what a harvester operator does.

“They showed us the machine that harvests the olives and they let us ride it, it uses 100 gallons of diesel!!” -Bryan Romero Gonzales, Orland High School

We then learned all about the different olive varieties, pruning and what affects when harvest will begin. It is up to the orchard managers to decide when the olives are at optimal oil content, so harvest can begin. Once harvest begins it runs 24/7 for roughly 45 days! During this season 55,000 to 65,000 gallons of olive oil are made every day and put in stainless tanks that can hold 175,000 gallons each. Throughout the year this oil is bottled and shipped worldwide.

“I learned that technology helps facilitate olive oil production especially in large quantities!” – Itzel Favela, Red Bluff High

A day at an olive oil plant isn’t complete without learning the art and technique of olive oil tasting, right? We were able to finish up our day with the full experience of tasting olive oil like professionals. Talk about a memorable field day! I have to say we made amazing memories! Thank you California Olive Ranch from all of us with Tehama County FARMS Leadership!

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