FARMS Leadership Gets Nutty in Sacramento Valley

FARMS Leadership | Sacramento Valley | October 25, 2018

Locations of Field Day: Sierra Orchards and Mariani Nut Company, Winters, CA

Theme: Sustainability

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Craig McNamara, Owner and Manager of Sierra Orchards
AJ Gomez, Farmer at Sierra Orchards
Max Mariani, Production Manager at Mariani Nut Company

Summary of the Day:
This year the Sacramento Valley FARMS Leadership Program kicked off our field days for the 2018-2019 school year at Sierra Orchards in Winters, CA. The day started off with breakfast and ice breakers giving the students the opportunity to meet people from other schools. Following the ice-breaker the students were given an over view of what to expect for the year within the FARMS Leadership Program. We then all caravanned over to Mariani Nut Company where Max Mariani gave us an overview of the company, a tour of the facilities, and then allowed the students to sort walnuts on the factory line. After the tour of Mariani the group headed back to Sierra Orchards where we all enjoyed lunch and discussed what we learned on the tour. Following lunch, AJ Gomez gave us an introduction to Sierra Orchards and then led the group on a tour. He drove a tractor hauling a hay trailer so that the students could see the walnut orchard and harvest up close and personal.

Terminus Dam

Title:  Food grows where water flows

Program: FARMS Leadership

Region: Central Valley Central

Field Date: October 23, 2018

Location of Field Day:  Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:  Shane Smith, KDWCD

Theme:  Importance of Water in Agriculture

On Tuesday, October 23, 2018, the Central Valley Central FARMS Leadership students from Patino High School and Sunnyside High School of Fresno Unified School District met for the first time of the 2018-2019 school year at the Kaweah Delta Water Conservation District.  Shane Smith, Project-Administrative Manager with the KDWCD met with the students at the home office. We then caravaned to the US Army Corps of Engineer office at the Dam. While here Mr. Smith led a presentation about the Kaweah Delta Water Operations, What the district does, Groundwater Recharge, Stormwater Layoff and storage facilities.  He also explained the importance of irrigation and Fuseaes known as Tipping Buckets and Flood Control Activities. Students were able to walk down and see the 6 – 1 million pound tipping buckets up close. After lunch students spent time in leadership activities. They learned how to properly shake hands and learned how to successfully introduce another student to the group.  Students did a great job and we all enjoyed our visit to the Dam! Giovanni Chavarria, a student from Patino high school said, “This was one of my favorite trips because I learned how dams work. Also, this was the first field trip I had EVER been on and I enjoyed every moment.  I learned how to correctly shake hands and how to introduce someone in a professionally.”

What Do I Want to Be? How Do I Get There?

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 16, 2018

Bakersfield College
1801 Panorama Dr, Bakersfield, CA 93305

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kern County Farm Bureau
Bakersfield College Staff
Heather Baltis

Theme:
Career and Career Path Exploration

Summary of the Day:
Often times, students have an opinion about attending Junior Colleges. There is sadly a stigma that we as educators fight on a regular basis about attending anything other than a 4-year college path. Today, I fought to blast this stigma with our visit to the nationally known Bakersfield College Ag Department.

Students from Frontier High School, Independence High School, Ridgeview High School, Bakersfield Christian High School, and West High School were amazed at the professionalism and opportunities available to them at Bakersfield College.

This day was not your average College Visit. Bakersfield College partners with industry to bring professionals who are making a living with these degrees. This tangible approach allows for students to ask questions, network with local industry, and really imagine what it would be like to walk in their shoes. Industry professionals share their journey giving insight into how they got to their current position.

Bakersfield College provided lunch and a time for students to meet with different colleges and possible employers. Our students passed out business cards to those employers where they were interested in connecting on a deeper level.

It was a great day! Thank you, Bakersfield College!

Alyssa Jones, FARMS Leadership student, shares her experience with the Vet Technician Program

California Olive Ranch

FARMS Leadership| Tehama County | October 16, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Artois, CA

Field Day Host:
California Olive Ranch – Julie Vandegriff

Participating Partners:
Julie Vandegriff, Logan Jennings

Theme:
Sustainable Farming

Summary of the Day:
Did you know that 98% of all olive oil sold and produced in the USA comes out of this one little olive oil plant in Artois, CA?

With clear blue skies and a crisp cool morning the fall weather at California Olive Ranch made for the perfect kick off our 2018-19 FARMS Leadership field days! While we were anticipating olive harvest to have started, this was lesson #1 learned….agriculture doesn’t follow a calendar! However, California Olive Ranch didn’t disappoint. Students had the opportunity to explore everything from orchard to finished product and every detail in between. One benefit to harvest not starting yet, was each student got to not only sit in the driver’s seat of an OXBO harvester, but they all operated the hydraulics and got a true lesson in what a harvester operator does.

“They showed us the machine that harvests the olives and they let us ride it, it uses 100 gallons of diesel!!” -Bryan Romero Gonzales, Orland High School

We then learned all about the different olive varieties, pruning and what affects when harvest will begin. It is up to the orchard managers to decide when the olives are at optimal oil content, so harvest can begin. Once harvest begins it runs 24/7 for roughly 45 days! During this season 55,000 to 65,000 gallons of olive oil are made every day and put in stainless tanks that can hold 175,000 gallons each. Throughout the year this oil is bottled and shipped worldwide.

“I learned that technology helps facilitate olive oil production especially in large quantities!” – Itzel Favela, Red Bluff High

A day at an olive oil plant isn’t complete without learning the art and technique of olive oil tasting, right? We were able to finish up our day with the full experience of tasting olive oil like professionals. Talk about a memorable field day! I have to say we made amazing memories! Thank you California Olive Ranch from all of us with Tehama County FARMS Leadership!

I.P.M. 101

FARMS Advanced: Kern County: October 16, 2018

Kern County Cooperative Extension

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Brian Marsh, County Director UCCE Kern County/Agronomy Advisor
David Haviland, Entomology and IPM Adviser, UCCE Kern County
Dr. Mohammed Yaghmour, Area Orchard Systems Advisor, UUCE Kern County
Julie Finzel, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor, UCCE Kern County

Theme: Introduction to Integrated Pest Management

Summary of the Day:

We are so excited to kick off our FARMS Advanced program where we are studying Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M.). We have a total of 7 students from the following high schools Bakersfield Christian High School, Frontier High School, Independence High School, and Ridgeview High School. For our first Field Day, we visited the Kern County Cooperative Extension.

The services that our local Cooperative Extension provides are vast! Students toured and learned from our local advisors about the history of the Cooperative Extension providing insight into the services they provide and why – the foundation in which the Cooperative Extension was created. We then jumped right into Integrated Pest Management – our FARMS Advanced area of study for this school year.

What is Integrated Pest Management? The Cooperative Extension provided students with the ability to dig in to many aspects of Integrated Pest Management (I.P.M). Entomologist, David Haviland walked students through an interactive brainstorming session asking students to share different ways they manage pests at home. Through a hands on activity on identifying pest and beneficial pests, students soon realized that they have been using Integrated Pest Management for years and didn’t even know it. Students were able to spend time in the lab at the Cooperative Extension searching for Naval Orange Worm, a particularly pest worm that invades almonds and oranges. The day was packed with information like Safety of Pesticide Use, Plant Pathology, Biological Controls of Crop Pests, Regulation, Controlling Weeds and Invasive Plants, and finally a Case Study to bring it all together.

Students search for Naval Orange Worm

Dr. Haviland Teaching About Naval Orange Worm

Kern Advanced Students Study IPM

IPM and Citrus

IPM and Citrus

Program: Central Valley FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.



Program: FARMS Advanced

Region: Central Valley

Field Date: Thursday, October 11th

Location of Field Day:  Lindcove Research & Extension Center

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors: Dr. Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell Ph.D.

Theme: IPM and Citrus

Summary of the Day: On Thursday, October 11, 2018, the Central Valley FARMS Advanced Group met for the first time during the 2018-2019 school year.  The students worked with Dr. Grafton-Cardwell, as she explained red scale. The students received a hands-on experienced looking at red scale under the microscopes.  With the deadly citrus disease, Huanglongbing expected to arrive in the near future in urban areas of California through a small insect called the Asian citrus psyllid, educating the public not to move plant material and watching for pests and diseases is critical.  Students then were able to get more hands-on experience in the local citrus orchard used by the Center for education. Students found the infected fruit on the trees from what they learned in the morning session. What a great first field day for all! The students are excited to learn more this year about IPM in the Central Valley.

ALBA – Agriculture Land-Based Training Association

FARMS Leadership | Monterey and Santa Cruz | October 11, 2018

Participating Schools:
Everett Alverez High School
Gonzales High School
Soledad High School
Watsonville High School

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

Field Day Hosts and Mentors:
Nathan Harkleroad, ALBA Education Program Director
Patty Howe, ALBA Administrative Director
Samantha Tuttle, ALBA Student Intern
Juana Hernandez, ALBA Administrative Assistant
Leo Sanchez and Rebecca Hernandez, Lazy Millennial Farms, Owners
Rudy Jimenez, Green Thumb Organics, Owner
Victor Cortez, La Granjita Farms, Owner

Summary of the Day:

Our Monterey and Santa Cruz FARMS Leadership Program kicked off their first field day with a visit to the ALBA, Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association, Campus. After breakfast, we had an icebreaker activity – a name game allowing students to get to know each other and to help us all remember names. The students collected program goodies and supplies. Then, we had an open discussion about the organic industry. We talked about what we knew about organic produce and production. We also explored the areas we had questions about and made a note to ask them along the way.

Here are some of the questions students had:

“How much is [farm] land and why is it so expensive?” – Randy Huynh, NSH

“What are the downsides [with organics]?” – Hailey Higgins, SHS

“Why is organic food more expensive?” – Sonia Vargas, GHS

“What’s the process to becoming an organic farmer?” – WHS

In our discussion, we also talked about how ALBA was a non-profit organization with a mission.


ALBA’s mission is to create economic opportunity for limited-resource and aspiring organic farmers through land-based education in the heart of the Salinas Valley. 

Continue reading ALBA – Agriculture Land-Based Training Association

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.

Kern County Students Take On Viticulture

FARMS Leadership | Kern County | October 2, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Kimberlina Facility | Bakersfield, CA 93308

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Fernando Garcia – Director of Northern Operations
Josh Legorreta – Shipping Manager
Cecilia Rivera – In-House Packing Director
David Fenn – Executive Vice President of Farming
Michael Strambi – Wasco Farming Director
Terry Bacon – Vice President of Variety Development
Monica Escoto – Director of Quality Assurance and Food Safety
Danielle Loustalot – Marketing Manager
Tammy Collum – Sales Executive

Theme: Food Production |Consumer Science

Summary of the Day:
A grape story behind our favorite snack! Students from 5 different high schools: Bakersfield Christian, Independence High, Frontier High, Ridgeview High, and West High Schools kicked off our 2018-19 Kern County FARMS Leadership year by coming together and learning about grapes along side of a few of Sun-World’s finest employees!

Students learned about the demands of the grape industry. They saw how consumerism has changed the way in which Sun World packs its grapes – bringing it indoors. One student commented, “they are so careful to be sure that the weight of each bag is just right that they even will take out one grape!” Students noted the care and time it takes to pack one bag of grapes. Students inquired about the career opportunities and the different levels of expertise at each packing station. Students then were driven to the fields where the contrast in outdoor packing was shown. Sun-World has customers that require different packing practices. Students experienced the change in work environment for the employee and the humidity from inside the rows. They strolled in awe and were able to taste from each side of the vine sharing what they tasted, smelled, and heard. David Fenn, Executive Vice President of Farming, shared the science behind reasons a grape may taste one way on one side of the vine from the other as students noticed that one batch was less sweet. It was time now for students to learn about the different varieties of grapes.

We then moved on to the Research and Development Lab. Students participated in an activity to get to know each other and separate into groups. These three groups were on a 20 minute rotation – Research & Development, Sales & Marketing, and Quality Control.

Research and Development described the step by step breeding process and allowed students to tour and see it in action. The lab with over a thousand test tubes of possible new flavors was overwhelming. Students identified the embryo in the berry prior to the breeding process. Time to rotate! Next Up, Sales and Marketing.

Students were able to network with Sales and Marketing professionals and learn about their favorite aspects of the job. Travel is a big plus for some! Students asked about career paths and opportunities. Oh, time to rotate on to Quality Control. Students taught how to read the import requirements from different companies and measure sugar levels based upon cold storage availability. Students worked as a team to gather data and report back to staff about their findings.

We wrapped up with an inspiring message given by Sun World’s CEO/President Merrill Dibble while eating lunch together with the Sun World staff before heading home. Students were able to take some grapes home to their families as well.

Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International
Kern County FARMS Leadership Class of 2018-19 Touring Sun World International

Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer
Kern FARMS Leadership Student learning to use a Refractometer

A Handful of Almonds…

(MADERA, CA) On Wednesday, September 26th, Students from the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership Program stepped out of the classroom to learn about the steps to harvesting almonds at Creekside Farming Company Inc. and learning about The Almond Company’s business.  Meeting for the first time were 30 sophomore and juniors students from Clovis East High School, Kerman High School, Liberty High School, and Madera South High Schools.

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 Madera County Farm Bureau provided the meeting space for the Leadership portion of the Field Day.  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 introduced each other as a preparation for introducing our individual speakers.  Each predetermined student interviewed each speaker of the day and introduced them to the group as a whole. Next, the group traveled to The Almond Company and were welcomed by Anthony Sagariballa, Director of Plant Operations and Jerry Magdaleno, Grower Relations.

Our students were treated to a company presentation, almond tasting, facility tour, and lunch. Finally, we ended our day with Creekside Farming. Jay Mahil, Owner and Eli Gallegos, Ranch Manager met us for an in-depth tour of harvesting Almonds. Students were able to watch how Almond trees are harvested including the shaking, sweeping and picking up of Almonds.  Almonds were then transferred to the truck and delivered to the processor. Our FARMS students did an excellent job asking questions and being engaged in the day.