Kick off to the 2019-2020 Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program!

Sierra Orchards and Mariani Nut Company

FARMS Leadership Program: Sacramento Valley: October 24th, 2019

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

Theme: Walnut 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.

Cotton!! The fabric of our life.

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

Theme: 
Leadership, Cotton Harvesting, Cotton Packing & Cotton Classing

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.

Forestry and Wildlife in Agriculture

Program: FARMS Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley Central

Field Date:  Monday, April 8, 2019

Location of Field Day: Reedley College

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Kent Kinney

Theme: Forestry and Wildlife Program

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.