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!

A Well Rounded Look at Shasta College

FARMS Leadership | Tehama | Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Location of Field Day
Shasta College: 11555 Old Oregon Trail, Redding, CA 96049

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors
Becky Roe, Sr. Project Coordinator Economic Workforce Development John Schmidt, Regional Director Advanced Manufacturing Betsey Ray, Registered Apprenticeship Coordinator

Theme
College Exploration

Summary of the Day While career exploration is one of our main focuses during the FARMS program, we also prioritize showing students the college and certificate options they have in our local areas. Today, we met at Shasta College which is a junior college located in Redding, CA and had an extremely hands on day exploring their Ag and natural resources degrees, what they have to offer for those interested in Heavy Equipment and Logging, as well as the Advanced manufacturing program with a focus on welding, diesel tech, and automotive.

Our morning started with a fun icebreaker called “the human knot”. Students laughed while they worked together trying to untangle themselves out of the knot they initially created. Next, the students were broken into groups and given fancy SWAG bags that included a Shasta College drawstring bag, Shasta College water bottle, and some information brochures about the college. As we broke up one group went to explore the Ag and Natural Resources Department, another went to the training grounds for heavy equipment, and the last one went to see advanced manufacturing, diesel tech, welding, and auto-shop. Each group had the opportunity to rotate through each department and enjoy hands on activities.

The Shasta College student farm is where the majority of the Ag and natural resources kids spend their time. While we visited the farm we enjoyed a wonderful stroll around learning about all the animals they house such as pigs, cattle, goats, and chickens and how they are incorporated into labs and the hands on learning. We also saw the greenhouses where many of the plant science students do labs. Students heard about how their are actual students that live in dorm style housing on the farm and earn their rent by caring for these animals throughout the year. This is a great opportunity to save money and learn many new skills required in the Ag production industries as well as many plant science areas.

After a brief walk to the heavy equipment training grounds, students were introduced to what degrees and certificate programs utilize this hands on training experience. Just this year, a new program was added that gives students the training and knowledge needed to successfully begin a career in the logging industry. These training grounds are where each student gets first hand training on the actual equipment they will be operating in the forests to help harvest one of our most renewable resources, wood. In true FARMS style, each student had to chance to jump in the excavator and take it for a spin! What a memorable experience.

The last area we headed to was the Advanced Mechanics buildings which house their welding shop, diesel mechanic labs, as well as their automotive department. Here students rotated through and heard from the college professors about the labs that were currently in session. We had to chance to mingle with the current college students who were working on various projects and here what led them to choose Shasta College and some of their favorite things!

This day was so much fun and hands on. We wrapped it up by all the groups coming back together and practicing some public speaking by sharing with everyone what their favorite part of the day was and some things they learned. Thank you to Shasta College for hosting an amazing day! We look forward to bring more students in future years!

A day of birds, boxes, and bugs

Woodland High School at Capay Open Space Park
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | March 4, 2020

Participating School
Woodland High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Cache Creek Conservancy

Mentors
Grace Auringer, Technician, Genomic Variation Lab
Matt Clement, Facilities Steward, Center for Land-Based Learning
Mandi Finger, Associate Director, Genomic Variation Lab

Summary of the Day
For our fourth and final day with Woodland High School, we were back at Capay Open Space Park. By breakfast it was already shaping up to be a warm day, and students arrived eager to get to work. We started the day with a game of “all aboard”, a game in which students attempt to stand on one foot on a tarp that keeps decreasing in size by half. When the game became impossible, we met up with Corey Shake, a biologist who gave us an introduction to bird boxes.

Nest boxes provide valuable breeding habitat for cavity nesting birds like Western Bluebirds when natural cavities are difficult to find. Michael Perrone and Joe Zinkl of Yolo Audubon were on deck to demonstrate how these boxes are built, and then mentor groups set to work assembling the boxes and attaching them to a long pole for installation.

Once the nest boxes were ready to go, Corey gave an instructional demonstration on how to use binoculars. We went on a walk to the installation sites and stopped along the way to do some birding. Mentor groups competed against each other to see which group could identify the most birds – the winning group identified 13 species! Some of the birds we saw included: Peregrine Falcon, Northern Mockingbird, Western Scrub Jay, White-crowned Sparrow, Anna’s Hummingbird, Common Raven, Red-tailed Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Tree Swallow, Black Phoebe, Western Meadowlark, Mourning Dove, California Quail, House Finch, Great Blue Heron, Red-shouldered Hawk, Yellow-rumped Warbler, and American White Pelican.

Amongst blooming redbuds, we installed 4 bluebird boxes along Cache Creek before heading down to the creekbed for our next activity: macroinvertebrate sampling. Elise Stinnett of Cache Creek Conservancy gave an introduction that showed students the types of macroinvertebrates we might see, and what they can tell us about the health of the creek. Four students donned mud boots to enter the creek and collect samples, and students were able to identify macroinvertebrates like dragonfly nymphs, mosquito larvae, and mayfly larvae. Looking at the species overall, students determined that this was a moderately healthy creek, as it included species that you’d expect to see in a healthy creek AND an unhealthy creek. Students were also excited to see many frogs jumping around by the creek’s edge.

After lunch and a celebratory cake, we sat down to write thank you notes to someone who made this SLEWS project possible. As students worked on their thank you notes, I asked for autographs on a “SLEWS was here!” sign that will be installed at our other project site (and new CLBL headquarters), the Maples.

To conclude the day, students shared their favorite experiences from all 4 of our Field Days together. Responses included hanging out by the creek, riding the argo across the creek, building bird boxes, spending time with friends, and planting.