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.
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!
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!
Program: Sacramento Valley: November 14th, 2019
Location of Field Day:
Field Day Host(s) and
Haley Friel – Director of Outreach and Education
at Full Belly Farm
Sierra Reading – Director of Outreach and
Education at Full Belly Farm
Summary of the Day:
Today’s field day was at Fully Belly Farm’s in Guinda, CA.
The Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program was welcomed by Haley Friel and
Sierra Reading, the directors of Outreach and Education at Fully Belly Farm. We
took a tour of the 400-acre farm and learned about the different crops grown
and the practices in which they use to keep the farm organic and sustainable. Full
Belly Farm is planting, growing and harvesting over 80 crops year around
keeping them very busy. Full Belly sells there produce to 4 main markets; wholesalers
who buy pallets of produce at a time, to CSA (community Supported Ag) members, at
local farmer’s markets, and to bay area restaurants. Full Belly Farm picks
their produce to order so it is always fresh and they currently have 1,200 CSA
On our tour we were able to see their mobile chicken coops
where the farm is raising organic chicken eggs that sell for $9.00 a dozen. The students were also able to see the pigs,
sheep and cattle raised at at Full Belly Farm and see where the produce is
washed and prepped for sale. We also visited the flower shop where not only are
fresh flower’s made into bouquets, but flowers are also dried and made into
After lunch we went out into a field where peppers were
currently being grown. We harvested and cleaned bouquets of peppers that will
be dried and sold. The students also learned about soil and compost. At Full
Belly Farm they us 10,000 pounds per acre of compost every year.
FARMS Leadership Program:
Sacramento Valley: October
Location of Field Day: Winters, CA
Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Craig McNamara – Owner and Manager, Sierra Orchards Gus Mariani – Operations Manager, Mariani Nut Company Max Mariani – Production Manager, Mariani Nut Company
Production and Sustainability
Summary of the Day:
The Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program kicked off
the 2019-2020 program year at Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA. Sierra Orchards
is home to Craig McNamara who founded the FARMS Leadership Program in 1993. The
field day began with an introduction to the Program and the Farm followed by
activities to introduce the students from different schools to one another. The
Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program is made up of students from 5 high
schools in the Sacramento and Yolo counties; Luther Burbank, Grant Union,
Sacramento, River City, and Esparto High Schools.
After the activities concluded the group headed on down the
road to Mariani Nut Company. We were greeted by Gus and his nephew Max Mariani
who work at and manage the facility. They gave us an overview of the family
owned company and then took us on a tour. We were able to see the different stages
of production from when the walnuts were dropped off in shell to how they are
sorted and processed. They sell walnuts and almonds all over the world in
different forms including in shell, sliced, whole, flavored, etc. You name it
and they probably have a market for it. The students were then able to work on
the factory line and help the quality control team sort walnuts.
Following our tour of Mariani Nut Company we headed back
over to Sierra Orchards where we were met by Craig McNamara. Craig gave an
overview of Sierra Orchards and then took the Sac Valley FARMS group on a
tractor ride tour of the property. We went out into the orchard and were able
to see the crew harvesting as well as visit the huller and see walnut shipments
come in and be sorted and dried.
FARMS Leadership | Central Valley South | Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Location of Field Day: Farm Credit West – 200 E Cartmill Avenue, Tulare, CA 93274 Cardoza Company – 8410 Avenue 184, Tulare, CA 93274 Mid Valley Cotton Gin – 626 W Cartmill Ave, Tulare, CA 93274 USDA Cotton Classing Office – 7100 West Sunnyview Avenue, Visalia, CA 93291
Strategic Partner: California Cotton Association – 1521 I St. Sacramento CA 95814
Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Jonathan Kennedy & Ryan Camara – Farm Credit West David Cardoza – Cardoza Company Wade Van Hooser – Mid Valley Cotton Gin Greg Townsend – Cotton Classing Office
Summary of the Day: On Wednesday, October 23, 2019, the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program students enjoyed a fun-filled, field day learning about the Cotton Industry. The students who consist of Ms. Callias’ class from Hanford West High School started off at 9am meeting at Farm Credit West in Tulare. We were welcomed by Ryan Camara, Vice President, Credit Lending. Here students covered a few leadership activities such as practicing how to properly introduce a host and thanking them for their time and sharing their knowledge with our students. Next, the group caravanned to our next stop, located south-west of Tulare where Cardoza Company was harvesting a cotton field. Here a student from Hanford High School introduced Mr. David Cardoza, President of Cardoza Company. Mr. Cardoza talked with the group about the growing, maintenance and harvesting of cotton. Next, the group headed to Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc., in Tulare, where we were welcomed by Wade Van Hooser. Wade showed us the entire process from unloading the truck to accepting the cotton. It takes approximately 2 minutes of travel time to where the seed is removed and the cotton is put into bales ready to be shipped overseas where it is typically made into clothing. One student said they learned how cotton farming is a sustainable practice, “I learned about how everything is recycled and reused, so nothing goes to waste”. Another student learned, “the fiber on the cotton seeds helps the cows digestion.” This fact refers to the nutrition component that we cover in the program. Finally, we traveled to the USDA Classing Office in Visalia, CA where we enjoyed a quick lunch provided by FARMS. Finally, we spoke to Greg Townsend, the Area Director of the USDA Classing Office. The students learned the process of how the machines now classify and grade cotton. We learned that this process used to be done completely by people and the last part of grading still is. We definitely enjoyed our day and thanks to all of our partners for the day; Farm Credit West, Cardoza Company, Mid-Valley Cotton Growers Association Inc., and the USDA Classing Office in Visalia, CA.
On Monday, April 8, 2019, Patino and Sunnyside High School students joined at Reedley College for the last field day of the 2019 FARMS Leadership Program. A student volunteer introduced Mr. Kent Kinney, the Forestry Professor at Reedley College. We then joined a Fish and Wildlife Biology Lab Class in fishing for count in the colleges pond. After this exercise, students joined the mule packing team in the barns. Each group of 4 students watched the Mule Packing demonstration before demonstrating it themselves. The students were taught how to properly pack the mule for overnight adventures and in case of undesirable weather to keep their supplies dry for the trip. Finally, our day ended with a guided River Walk on the Kings River with students from the Forestry Lab class. Students have to know all of the type of trees and shrubs seen out on the walk and taught our students and then quizzing them. What an amazing day at a college that is practically in our own backyard.
The students started the day in the retail location with Leadership introduction activities. Following the Leadership activities, we toured the propagation sight where we took a small tour, learn about heating beds and the way they manipulate the plants to grow. Students tried their hand at running the planting machine by planting and labeling some said: “it’s not as easy as it looks”. Next, at the Henderson location students were able to work at a different planting machine and learned to graft on a piece of scion wood. After lunch at the first retail location, students walked around to see what was available for retail purchase. Students asked a lot of great questions. Then the students worked on inventorying the retail location. Students had to count and recount all of the plants that they had for sale. Danielle explained that staff members keep count every week on what has been sold and what needs to be reordered. Students said it was a tedious job but appreciated so many different types of plants.
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.