BEEF. IT’S WHAT’S FOR DINNER.

FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County | Thursday, February 27, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Red House Beef
649 Enos Ln Bakersfield, CA 93314

Field Day Host
Maddie Herndon- Ranch Manager
Debbie Wise- Owner

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, February 27, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Advanced Program from McFarland High School visited Redhouse Beef. We started off the day meeting with their herd manager Maddie Herndon. Maddie started off the tour by telling us the history of the company and when it began. Next, she explained all the different breeds of cattle and described each of their breed characteristics. The majority of their herd is Angus and Red Angus cattle. These two breeds are known for being the best for meat production. We learned a lot about the marbling of meat which is the fat and gives meat a lot of its flavor. We then met with the owner Debbie Wise who explained more about the beef side of the company. Debbie has a lot of knowledge about the agriculture industry and it was very interesting listening to all she had to say.

We then moved onto the grass-fed chickens they raise at Redhouse. The hens are rotated throughout the pasture along with the chicken coop on wheels. It is very impressive. These Red House hens were so pampered living a fat and happy life. There where different varieties of chickens which means they lay different colored eggs. The girls graze on bugs, clover, and grass that make their yolks a bright orange color. Everyone loved them so much that we had to take a picture with them!

Finally, we walked the orchards to look at the almond trees. They were blooming so it was great to see them in this stage. About 20% of the flowers you see on the almond trees will then turn into almonds. The weather plays a huge role in the production of the almond’s trees. Too much chill can knock off the blooms and set them back. A crucial step is the pollination of the trees. Honey bees play a major role with around 80% of the United States crop depending on them for pollination. All bees in the colony have their own jobs. We talked a little about the jobs and how crucial each bee is to the colony. The bee colonies consist of a single queen bee, hundreds of male’s drones and 20,000 plus female worker bees. It was amazing to hear how a small creature has such an important job and how their hive works.

This was an informative experience and we are grateful for our amazing hosts at Redhouse Beef. Thank you! We look forward to our next visit!

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!

Water Banking

Program: FARMS Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley North and Central Field

Date: Tuesday, March 21, 2019

Location of Field Day: Meyers Water Bank, Firebaugh CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Jason Dean

Theme: Water for Farming

Upon arrival, students ate breakfast and participated in an introduction and Thank You Presentation. Following meeting our host partners, the students watched a video on Meyers Water Bank presentation as well as a Video Display & Discussion led by Jason. We were then joined by a falconer and her 2 birds. She displayed the birds and explained how they are used in rodent control on farms and wildlife preserves. We were then taken to the actual site and enjoyed lunch and a nature walk. Finally, students participated in a hands-on student service project for Meyers Water Bank and then we closed the day with presenting Thank You’s to our hosts.

IPM

Program: FARMS Leadership Program

Region: Central Valley FARMS Advanced

Field Date:  Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Location of Field Day: Ingleby Farms and Forests

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Nick Cantana

Theme: IPM

Summary of the Day:  Upon arrival to Ingleby, we were joined by 2 scientist with Ag-Biotech.  They walked us through what Ag-Biotech does and how it helps it’s farmers and growers.  In Genomics Services, developing crop breeds can be a tricky business. There are so many variables, so many potential pitfalls, and so little time.  Count on Ag-Biotech to empower you and give you the peace of mind you need to get your products to market, quickly and confidently. Our state-of-the-art genomic testing services—starting with our signature Marker Assisted Selection (MAS)—help you to grow your new breeds, and your business.  We bring you more than 20 years of experience. We’re trusted by breeders around the world. We deliver the speed and transparency you deserve. And we’re surprisingly affordable, given our high-touch service. They are also experts in Seed Health Testing. You can’t buy or sell seeds unless they’re clean. But you also know that pathogen testing can get time-consuming and costly, especially during peak seasons—and especially when your options are limited. Now you have a new choice: Seed Health Testing Services from Ag-Biotech, the premiere independent crop genomics lab with more than 20 years of trusted expertise. Our seed health laboratory is exclusively dedicated to getting you the results you need, the way you want them, at a price that meets your budget. Whether you’re a seed producer looking to market your product, a buyer seeking to test a potential purchase, or even another lab needing surge support and third-party verification, you can have it all from Ag-Biotech.  After, learning about Ag-Biotech and how it relates also to IPM we went out to the field and cleaned out an owl boxes and held baby owls. Ingleby uses owls as natural rodent control in their field. We had a great day!

Strawberries, Drones, Fumigation & the Ag Commissioner

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | February 7, 2019

Participating Schools:

  • Gonzales High School
  • North Salinas High School
  • Soledad High School

Location:

Ag Commissioner’s Office, 1428 Abbott St. Salinas, ca

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

  • Barbara LaVake – TiCal Field Day planner and support.
  • Dennis Lane – TriCal
  • Abbie Asche – TriCal
  • Carolyn O’Donnell –  California Strawberry Commission
  • Henry Gonzales – Monterey County Ag Commissioner
  • Kevin Hill – ParaBug
  • Chandler Bennett – ParaBug

Summary of the Day:

Pests and disease are agricultures biggest adversary. Producers of all kind are always battling or protecting crops from bugs and killer diseases. FARMS Leadership Students met with Carolyn O’Donnell to learn how the Strawberry commission plays a key role in promoting strawberry consumption and sharing the amazing benefits of eating strawberries as a part of a healthy diet.

“Today I learned that 88% of straberries are grown in California.” – Annabel Uribe

First up, TriCal Inc. a family owned business that provides soil fumigation services to sterilize the soil before strawberry plants are placed in their beds. Students learned about TriCal and their commitment to their employee’s safety and well being by paying applicators a living wage with benefits and full-time year-round work. Students spoke with employees and learned about the different jobs TriCal offers. We were able to see the applicator machines and personal safety gear. Abbie Asche talked about her job as a Pest Control Advisor (PCA) with TriCal. Abbie explained the leading diseases that need soil fumigation, like nematodes, bacteria, fungi, and insects. TriCal’s motto is Healthy Fields, Healthy Yields. TriCal is a leader in regulatory requirements that help ensure the health of the consumers and growers.

“Today I learned about TriCal and what it takes to be a PCA or a CAA.” – Brenda Vasquez

Who regulates and permits TriCal to do what they do? The Ag Commissioner. Henry Gonzales is the Ag Commissioner for Monterey County and presented to students about what he does and the career pathway that brought him to the position of Ag Commissioner. Students were extremely engaged and interested in hearing about how Henry Gonzales grew up in Salinas at a local high school.

Continue reading Strawberries, Drones, Fumigation & the Ag Commissioner

Sunsweet – The World’s Largest Dried Fruit Plant

FARMS Leadership Program: North State: December 13th 2018

Location: Yuba City, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Sunsweet

Jamie Dickerson – Talent Acquisition Specialist
Amber Fuentes – HR Administrator
Tracy Atondo – Membership & Dryer Services Coordinator
Nathan Martson – Field Representative & Marysville Dryer Manager
Alma Parham – Administrative Assistant & Receptionist

Theme: Food Production and Consumer Science

Summary of the Day:
Our field day at Sunsweet began with an introduction by Jamie Dickerson. She talked about the background and history of Sunsweet. Sunsweet operates the largest dried fruit plant in the world. Jamie also discussed with the students the different types of jobs and careers Sunsweet has to offer. Next Jamie introduced Tracy Atondo to the students. Tracy continued Jamie’s presentation and discussed Sunsweet in more depth and talked about how Sunsweet has become the success it is today and how they work with the farmers who grow the products they sell. After their presentation; Jamie, Tracy, and Amber passed out some Sunsweet merchandise to all the students. We then headed over to the Sunsweet Dryer in Marysville where we me Nathan Martson. He chatted with the students about the dryer side of the Sunsweet operation. Nathan then gave us a tour of the facility which he manages.

AgVocacy at Cosumnes River College

FARMS Leadership Program | Sac Valley and San Joaquin | December 11, 2018

Field Day Host(s)
Cosumnes River College
Bayer Crop Sciences
California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA)

Mentors
Kelly O’Halloran – Bayer Crop Sciences
Jacqueline Airoso – Collections Manager & Environmental Scientist – CDFA
Traci Scott – Outreach Specialist – Cosumnes River College
David Andrews – Professor of Horticulture – Cosumnes River College

Theme
College and Career Opportunities

Summary of the Day
The Sacramento Valley and San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Programs joined together for a field day at Cosumnes River College (CRC). The field day began with a group activity called Human Knot. This activity was designed for students to meet one another and then work together to problem solve and untangle them selves to form a circle.

After the group activity, our first presenter for the day was introduced. Kelly O’Halloran presented to the group. She gave an overview of Bayer Crop Sciences and also discussed the many different jobs that are associated with in their company. She also had a presentation on AgVocacy, which enables those who are passionate about modern agriculture to discuss the importance of agriculture, food production and the innovation needed to nourish our growing world.

Our second guest speaker for the day was Jacqueline Airoso from the CDFA. She gave a presentation on who the CDFA is and what they do. She also discussed plant pest’s and diagnostics.

Following our presentations Traci Scott gave us a tour of the Cosumnes River College Campus. We ended the tour at the Horticulture Department where David Andrews showed the students around and discussed the different courses offered at CRC. The students enjoyed walking around the garden and harvesting some late fall crops to sample and bring home.

 

 

NRCS Plant Material Center

FARMS Leadership Program: San Joaquin: November 29th, 2018

Location: Lockeford, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Margaret Smither-Kopperl
Matthew Bronson, PMC Farm Manager

Theme: Ecology and Habitat Conservation

 Summary of the Day:

The San Joaquin FARMS Leadership Students had no intentions of letting a little rain stop them from learning about Ecology and Habitat Conservation at the Plant Material Center (PMC) in Lockeford, Ca. Although our plans did change due to the rain and heavy winds that rolled in, we had a fun filled day learning a lot about what happens in the daily operations at the Natural Resource Center. The day started out with a tour of the facilities led by Matthew Bronson the Farm Manager at the PMC. The students were able to see and learn about the different equipment used, tractors, and even were able to walk through the seed library where numerous amounts of native California plant seeds are stored.

 

After Matthew’s tour the students gathered in the PMC’s office meeting room where they were broken up into groups to team project. The Project they all worked on was to draft a landscape at the PMC using a variety of different native plants. The students were given a list of native plants as well as books and information on each plant so that they could design the landscape of an actual area of land that the PMC has that needs to be re-planted. Once the groups finished their designs we took a lunch break.

 

Following our lunch break Margaret Smither-Kopperl took over to discuss the different plants the students chose. She then gave us a tour of the property where the students were able to see examples of the plants they chose and take cuttings from each plant along the way. Once each group had a handful of cuttings from the plants the chose they were able to work with Matthew and Margaret to prep the cuttings and plant them into the green house so that the PMC could utilize them in the landscape that the students designed.

 

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).

 

All about Cotton!!

FARMS Leadership| Central Valley | October 9, 2018

Participating Schools
El Diamante High School, Visalia; Mt. Whitney High School, Visalia; Lindsay High School, Lindsay; and Hanford High School, Hanford.

Location
Tulare & Visalia, CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors
Farm Credit West, Tulare; Cardoza Farming Company; Mid-Valley Cotton Growers, Inc. and USDA Cotton Program Classing Office, Visalia

Summary of the Day
On Tuesday, October 9, 2018, the Central Valley South FARMS Leadership Program students enjoyed a fun-filled,  field day learning about the Cotton Industry. The students who consist of Lindsay High School, Hanford High School, El Diamante High School, and Mt. Whitney High School, started off at 9am meeting at Farm Credit West in Tulare. We were welcomed by Jonathan Kennedy, Senior Vice President.  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 field located south-west of Tulare where Cardoza Company was harvesting a cotton field.  Here, Curtis Lafler, 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 Stan Creelman.  Stan 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 the 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 Cotton Program Classing Office in Visalia, CA.