Wonderful Time At Halos


FARMS Program | Kern County |April 2, 2019

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

Students had a great opportunity to see the Halo process from field to packing box. We started at the McFarland Halo Ranch learning about Safety, Ranch Management, and Pest Control. Then, we traveled to Delano to the packing facility and the iconic picture in front of the “Blue Box”.

We divided into two groups where students could have more interactions with the Wonderful Staff. Students were trained on the warning symbols used on signage and labels to communicate risk.

Signage for Risk – Give an example!

Then we were able to see and understand the process of the spray rig management in regards to safety and staff logistics with night spraying with Johnny Magana, Spray Manager, and Larry Minor, Shop Supervisor.

Next, we walked to their shop where learning to put things back where they belong isn’t just a chore at home, but a life skill. It is critical to keeping the workplace safe and it also helps the bottom line as inventory is always up to date. Manager of Technical Operations, James Lundgren, shared his career journey with the students. He is a wealth of knowledge and loves what he does!

Students were very interested in the number of careers and opportunities Wonderful provides for their employees. Truly is a Wonderful place to work! The employees there love their jobs and have great pride in the company. This is evident as they talk and students could see their passion for coming to work each day.

We then switched places with the other group. We had Jesse Castanon – Farming Manager and James Lundergan – Pest Control Advisor on board. They shared their heart for the company which was equally magnetic. We stopped the bus and unloaded to the beautiful aroma of citrus blossoms. In the citrus orchard, students learned about the purpose of netting the trees to affect seedless citrus. They also were led to look at clues, clues that would tell you what type of pest us attempting to take up residence.

We all loaded back into the bus to gather as a group for lunch on our way to the “Big Blue Box”, the packing facility. This highly visible box can be seen from Hwy 99 and it is a coveted photo for most Ag students.

The Big Blue Box

Once we unloaded from the bus in Delano, we walked through their main offices to get to the packing plant. Even their offices smell like oranges! We were led on a fantastic tour of their 11 football field sized plant. It was huge! Photos are not allowed inside the plant however the sizing belts were breathtakingly large! This photo is from their website:

How do we get all the same size Halos?

The staff was welcoming and generous! The citrus was tasty and so interesting to learn about. The smell was amazing! It was a great day! Thank you, Wonderful Company, for a great day!

A little bit of this and that….

Program: FARMS Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley Central

Field Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019

Location of Field Day: Peterson Packing House, Kingsburg CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Vernon Peterson

Theme: Packing House, Chickens and a Trout Release

Summary of the Day:

Our day started off with a tour of the Petersons Citrus Packing House, where students rotated between Quality Control, Administration, Security, and Loading.  The students rotated between the 4 jobs for about 30 minutes each. In quality control, students learned how to test the citrus to the specifications for sale in each category.  In the admin office, students learned how to bill, shipping/receiving and distribution works. At some points, the packing shed will run 24 hours a day. In the security office, students learned how to keep the machines running and that the employees were carefully completing the tasks at hand.  Finally, students help load and keep track and pack the pallets that went onto the trucks and out to the stores.

After lunch, Mr. Peterson took us to his family’s chicken ranch.  He showed the students how quickly the chickens grew and how his employees cared for the chickens and the houses they lived in.  He showed us how technology-based is houses were as they continuously kept a temperature of about 70-90 degrees depending on how old the chickens were.  

Finally, students from the FARMS (Center for Land-Based Learning) program at Patiño School of Entrepreneurship took a field trip in February to Peterson Organic Farms and the Kings River North Riverside access point.  The students learned about organic farming practices and assisted with the Kings River Conservation District and Kings River Conservancy (KRC) trout release to plant and repopulate the Kings River. Students had the opportunity to meet local leaders and watch the KRC video about education and the role of the river.

IPM, Citrus and Professional Development

Program: FARMS Advanced Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley

Field Date:  Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Location of Field Day: Bee Sweet Citrus

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Monique Bienvenue

Theme: IPM, Citrus and Employment

Students from the FARMS Advanced Leadership Program spent the day at Bee Sweet Citrus in Fowler CA with Monique Bienvenue.  Upon arrival we were whisked away to the field for a field presentation with one of their Pest Control Advisors. He talked with the students about IPM and Citrus.  Following the field presentation we drove back to the packing facility and walked through the facility. After a short lunch, Monique shared with the students tips about Resumes, Interviews and Social Media.  The students took a lot away from their day with Monique. It’s good for students to learn about these things from the industry professionals.

Bee Sweet Citrus

IPM and Citrus

IPM and Citrus

Program: Central Valley FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.



Program: FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.

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.