Labor of the Future

FARMS Advanced Leadership Program | Central Valley | Thursday, December 5, 2019

Location of Field Day:
Westside Produce – 785 12th Street, Firebaugh CA 93622

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Garrett Patricio – Vice President of Operations & General Counsel
Salvador Alaniz, Director of Harvest
Brandy Nunez, Facility Manager
Rosa Meza, Food Safety Manager

Theme:
Labor in Agriculture is the statewide year long theme

Summary of the Day:
Upon arrival to Westside Produce the ladies of the FARMS Advanced Leadership Program were welcomed by Garrett Patricio and his small off-season staff. Mr. Patricio talked about how the new changes in labor laws will affect his business and the people who work for him.  He specifically mentioned that Agriculture jobs generally fall under two wage orders (8 & 14). In his line of work and business he and his managers have to be particularly careful to always abide by the laws as Order #8 addresses Post Harvest Handling and Order #14 addresses Agricultural Occupations.  These Orders have different work hours, overtime pay and doubletime pay. He also addressed the concerns over the Changes and Challenges as there is a shrinking workforce versus an increase of Mechanization as well as a reduced work week versus an increased minimum wage. Following the visit about Labor at Westside Produce we were treated to lunch and Westside Produce – Tri hats.  Following lunch we took a short walk to see the packing shed and solar panels. The ladies were also interviewed one on one with Mr. Patricio as a part of the FARMS Advanced Program Job Training Program. They did a great job! Finally, we took some group pictures and were sent home with Fresh Pomegranates! Thank you again, Garrett for your generosity in hosting us for the day.

Farmer Training in the Salinas Valley

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | December 5th, 2019

Location(s) of Field Day:
ALBA Campus 1700 Old Stage Road, Salinas Ca

Participating Schools:
Soquel High School

Field Day Hosts and Mentors:
Nathan Harkleroad – Education Program Director
Nancy Porto – Community Relations and Environmental Education Officer

Summary of the Day: 
At today’s field day students had to make their way through roadblocks and detours to get to the ALBA Campus. Last night’s storm caused a levy to break and flooded several South Monterey County Cities including Gonzales. By morning Gonzales HS had to close for the day and Gonzales HS students in the FARMS program could not make it to the field day.

Luckily, Soquel High School students made it safely to the field day site ready to learn about Organic Farmer Training. ALBA stands for Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association. Students spent the morning learning about the farmer education course that provides hands-on training and college-accredited coursework to the next generation of organic farmers. The course allows aspiring farmers to learn about organic farming production, pest management, marketing, record keeping, labor laws and much more. 

Nathan Harkleroad the education program director taught students about organic pest management and careers in pest management like crop planning and research. He shared research from the USDA on an experiment using alyssum as a conservation bio-control. Alyssum can be very beneficial for organic farmers because it attracts hoverflies that help control aphids. Students had the opportunity to plant a hundred alyssum plants in the fields. 

Finally, the day ended with a farm tour and included meaningful discussions about: 

  • Sustainability practices like straw bale buildings, solar panels to power buildings and well pumps.
  • Water wells and the limited water resources in the area as well as some water regulations affecting farmers today. 
  • Hedgerows, cover crops, windbreaks, and how beneficial these are for the soil and land conservation.
  • The visible differences from how ALBA manages their land and how the neighboring conventional farmers manage their land.

Vet Medicine & What it takes

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley South | November 20, 2019

Location of Field Day:  UC Davis Veterinary Medicine California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System Center, Tulare CA

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:  Rhonda Gillum, Dr. Emmanuel Okello, Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco, Dr. Blanca Camacho, Karen Tonooka, Jennifer Crook and Ms. Casillas

Veterinary Science and what it takes to get their

On November 20, 2019, the South Valley FARMS Leadership Students of Hanford West High School visited UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Tulare Campus. Upon arrival, students enjoyed a breakfast snack and were assigned to introduce our speakers for the day.  Students participated in a teamwork activity cup stacking game. Following our teamwork activity, we started our day. Students were welcomed by Dr. Emmanuel Okello, Assistant Specialist in Cooperative Extension.  He gave a short presentation on Antimicrobial Stewardship and reiterated the importance of washing your hands and using antibacterial sanitizer.  In the second session, students were exposed to a Necropsy Video.  Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco introduced the video and explained frame by frame the reasons and needs to do a necropsy on an animal.  In our third session, Dr. Blanca Camacho introduced the college to the students. She went over college requirements and the admission process.  She also explained Academic Preparation & Pre-Veterinary Required Courses for being accepted into Vet School. In session 4, students were split into two groups and rotated through the topics of Milk Quality Testing and PCR Testing.  CAHFS operates as the State of California’s central reference laboratory for measuring dairy products for their wholesomeness and nutrient makeup. This quality assurance program ensures dairy products are compliant with regulations, protecting both the consumer and the producer. Real-time PCR is a second-generation PCR platform with significantly improved testing characteristics. Introduced in 1996, it has revolutionized and replaced conventional PCR approaches to quantify DNA and RNA. Today, RT-PCR is the gold standard for quantitative PCR and is rapidly becoming accepted as the method of choice for PCR diagnostics.  After enjoying lunch, Ms. Casillas from Hanford West High School presented to the students about injections. Students were able to practice subcutaneous and intramuscular injections in a piece of citrus with different gauge needles and water with food coloring. The students really enjoy this hands-on activity as they could really use this in real-life situations.  Our hosts were very impressed with how the students were very professional in introducing and thanking all of the day’s speakers.  FARMS is so excited to have UC Davis Veterinary Medicine California Animal Health & Food Safety Laboratory System Center in Tulare as a partner educating students about Veterinary Medicine.