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!

Agriculture the Bulldog Way

FARMS Leadership | Central Valley North | Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Location of Field Day:
California State University, Fresno
5241 N Maple Ave, Fresno, CA 93740

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Dr. Susan Pheasant – Director of Institute for Food and Agriculture at Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology
Michelle Perez, Recruitment Counselor & Social Media Coordinator Liaison to Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology
Rick Chacon, Assistant Director of Admissions & Recruitment
Dr. Sherri Freeman, Teacher Educator Jordan College of Agriculture Sciences and Technology
Kate Norum, Project Manager Center for Irrigation Technology Water, Energy and Technology Center

Theme: Agriculture in College

On Wednesday, February 5, 2019, the Central Valley North Field Day group that consisted of LeGrand High School, Firebaugh High School, and Madera South High School gathered at Fresno State Institute for Food and Agriculture meeting room.
Here we were welcomed by Dr. Susan Pheasant, Director, Institute for Food and Agriculture at Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
Students worked on their soft skills by introducing and thanking our speakers. Students also practiced writing thank you and learned how to address an envelope.
Next, we were joined by Michelle Perez, Recruitment Counselor & Social Media Coordinator Liaison to Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology for a walking tour of the Farm. Next, Rick Chacon, Assistant Director of Admissions & Recruitment lead a True Colors leadership activity on Leadership qualities. At lunch, Dr. Freeman visited us and welcomed us to Fresno State. Then we visited Fresno State Water and Energy Technology (WET) Center. Here students learned about their independent testing facility. We also learned about the Center for Irrigation Technology (CIT), the independent testing laboratory and applied research facility for the irrigation industry. Finally, students were treated with Fresno State Ice Cream from the Gibson Farm Market. We had a wonderful day full of different experiences and opportunities at Fresno State. Go Dogs!

Veterinarians in training

FARMS Leadership Program | Kern County | Tuesday, January 30, 2020

Location of Field Day:
UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center
18830 Rd 112, Tulare CA

Field Day Host
Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco
Karen Tonooka
Jennifer Crook

Theme
Veterinary Science

Summary of the Day:
On Friday, January 30, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Leadership Program from McFarland High school started off their year at the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center. We first met with Dr. Melissa Macias Rioseco and started watching a Necropsy (an Autopsy on an animal) video of a calf. She was explaining to us the different organs throughout the video and what was abnormal as the kids were trying to diagnosis what was wrong with the sick calf. No one got sick haha! They loved it! The calf ended up having pneumonia and the kids guessed it correctly.

We then met in the Milk Quality lab with Karen Toonka as she talked about in detail how they take their milk samples and diagnosis the issue going on in the dairy. They can test for almost anything in a little sample of milk. They start off by taking a tiny drop and putting the milk into a dish and incubating it for 24-48 hours as the bacteria soon grows inside the dishes. They then take samples under the microscope and solve the problem by figuring out which pathogen is causing the issue. The students loved it! They got to look under the microscope at a bacteria called Mycoplasma. They described it as looking at a fried egg. It has a cell in the middle with a clear membrane wall around it.

We then moved onto the PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) lab with Jennifer Crook. She went into detail on molecular biology. Using small samples they are able to make copies of short sections of DNA where they are then able to identify bacteria, viruses and much more. It was great to see the lab and all the machines they use on completing these steps. Lots of information to take in and the kids loved every second of it!

We then went back to our starting point to have some delicious lunch and snacks. After lunch we did a fun activity that the students loved! We were practicing being veterinarians and giving intramuscular and subcutaneous injections to our orange patients. We started off with green food coloring and was giving a subcutaneous shot. A subcutaneous shot is a injection given under the skin. When we then cut into the oranges the green food coloring should be on the perimeter of the skin. We then used red food coloring for the intramuscular shot. A intramuscular shot is an injection given directly into the muscle. When cutting open the orange the red food coloring should appear in the meat of the orange. This showed the kids different ways shots are given in the livestock world. Everyone showed their true vet skills and did it correctly! Thank you UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center for a day filled of great information and fun for myself and the kids! Can’t wait to come back we loved it!

Got GOATS?

FARMS Advanced Program | Kern County | Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Summerhill Dairy
3755 S Sixth Ave, Hanford, CA 93230
 

Field Day Host:
Hannah Wilgenburg- Business and Sales Representative 

Summary of the Day: On Wednesday, January 28, 2020, the Kern County FARMS Advanced Program from McFarland High School started their Advanced year visiting 2,600 dairy goats at Summerhill Dairy. Students first met in the library at McFarland high school enjoying breakfast and practicing introductions for the day. The students were given a KWL worksheet where they will fill out what they know and what they would want to know about the Summerhill Dairy.

The group began the tour at the Dairy with Hannah Wilgenburg that houses 2,600 head of dairy goats of five different breeds that are; Saanen, Nubian, Alpine, Toggenburg and La Manchas. They all have their own certain characteristics from size, appearance and color. We started off getting to see the carousel milking parlor that is able to hold 84 dairy goats at a time that get milked every morning and night. Its the goats favorite part of the day.

We next walked through the barns where all the goats were housed and got to see how they are properly fed. These dairy goats are kept on a well balanced diet including a mixture of grain to help them with their production of milk and also offered roughage such as alfalfa. The students kept asking great questions left and right on everything you could imagine on managing a herd of dairy goats.

The students then got the opportunity to try fresh goat milk from the Summer-hill goat dairy. It was delicious! We then gathered some pictures out front of the beautiful facility of Summerhill Dairy. Thank you again Summerhill Dairy for a Goatastic day!


	

“Nothing Runs Like a Deere”

FARMS Leadership Program | Central Valley North | Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Fresno Equipment Company
4288 S Bagley Ave, Fresno, CA 93725

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Reid Pinion – Controller
Philip Christensen – Integrated Solutions Manager
Matt Miller – Sales Representative
Luke Prys – Sales
Paris Gallaher – Wholegoods Specialist
Shelley Smith – Order Coordinator
John Dias – Parts Counter Sales Person
David Fishman – Service Technician

Summary of the Day:

On Wednesday, January 22, 2020, the Central Valley North FARMS Leadership Program, comprised of LeGrand High School, Madera South High School and Firebaugh High School visited our local John Deere dealer Fresno Equipment Company. Students met as a group to touch up on their leadership introduction and thanking skills. We also discussed what they knew or would want to know about John Deere and Fresno Equipment Company on their KWL worksheet.
The group toured the large facility with Matt Mill that houses administrative staff, human resources, sales representatives, parts staff, and service technicians. During this part of the tour and throughout the day the staff kept mentioning the ways of technology in agriculture. Every person at Fresno Equipment works with some sort of computer. It was also mentioned many times if you are willing to learn and work hard to go up in the company that it was possible.
After the 45 minute rotation, the groups switched and the students participated in a ride and drive course with Luke Prys. The students drove a small tractor with a bucket. In the bucket was a ball that the students drove across the cone lined course, they then used the lever and dropped the ball into the bucket. Some students had never driven before, let alone driving a tractor. What a great skill for our students to learn.
Next we had lunch and then were joined by 4 on site staff, Paris Gallager, Shelley Smith, John Dias and David Fishman. These individuals sat with 4 different groups of students where our students asked questions and were very dialed in to what the staff was saying about their job and how they ended up with Fresno Equipment Company.
Four different students thanked each person for sharing with us and taking a little bit of time out of their busy day. Students followed the end of the day with a career assessment and finishing out their KWL worksheets of what they learned about the day. We truly had a great day! Thank you again Fresno Equipment Company for your generosity with hosting a great field day for your students.

Wind and rice and everything nice

Florin High School at River Garden Farms
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | October 29, 2019

Participating School
Florin High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
River Garden Farms

Mentors
Colin Fagan, Lab Assistant, Williams Lab
Dana Stokes
Miles Daprato, Environmental Steward for UCD Campus Planning and Environmental Stewardship Department
Nick Gallagher, Rangeland Management Specialist, USDA
Ryan Bixenmann

Summary of the Day
On Tuesday, October 29th, the Sacramento Valley SLEWS season began! Florin High students made the journey to River Garden Farms in Knights Landing for the third year in a row. This time, rather than planting hedgerows alongside a levee road, students gathered in the middle of a walnut orchard. Powerlines above the orchard make a strip of land unsuitable for trees. River Garden Farms saw this as an opportunity to create a corridor of native vegetation to increase biodiversity and provide habitat for wildlife and pollinators. Yolo County Resource Conservation District helped plan the project – 5 parallel rows of plants, with the outer two being mostly deergrass and the inner 3 being native shrubs and vegetation. The irrigation line was already in place, and students would be tackling the rest of the project.

After warming up with hot cocoa and breakfast, we got familiar with each other’s names with a game of group juggle. Alex Tremblay of Yolo County Resource Conservation District introduced the group to the project and the task of the day – removing flags where there would not be plants, and installing emitters and spaghetti tubing onto the irrigation line. Students divided into their mentor groups and tackled the project at hand, despite very windy conditions. Much to everyone’s amusement, the hot pink irrigation poker tools that Alex initially made fun of turned out to be the best tool for the job and were highly sought after!


Though it was windy and sometimes challenging to access the irrigation lines through the weedy overgrowth, students had incredibly positive attitudes throughout the morning and it was truly a joy spending time with them. Some mentor groups even came up with team names to stay motivated – I believe I heard one group call themselves “the Scarlet Dragons”.

After lunch, students boarded the bus to make their way to River Garden Farms’ Tyndall Mound Warehouse. Warehouse Manager Joe took showed students how they weigh and sample shipments as they head out on the trucks before leading us on a tour of the rest of the facility. The highlight was DEFINITELY the warehouse – students were able to climb and play in an enormous warehouse full of loose, unhulled, dry rice! The rice drying machine was also fascinating – rice slowly travels downward over many, many stories as airflow helps it to dry out. 

We had to end the day in a hurry to get students back to school on time so we went around our closing circle to share just one word to describe the day. What was by far the most popular word? FUN!

The final SLEWS day of the (school) year

Sacramento Charter High School at Clark Ranch 1
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | April 17, 2019

Participating School
Sacramento Charter High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo Resource Conservation District
Rominger Brothers Farms
Bruce Clark

Mentors
Bob Ream, retired
Corey Shake, Partner Biologist, Point Blue Conservation Science, NRCS
Dana Stokes
Jess Rudnick, UC Davis graduate student

Summary of the Day
For the final Field Day with Sacramento Charter High School (and final Field Day of the 2018 – 2019 SLEWS season!) we were back at our original site, Clark Ranch. Our first Field Day was here back in December, but for our second day we installed irrigation at a site in Woodland. It had been over 4 months since our day at this site and it was remarkable how much had changed. In December the site was so muddy we couldn’t bring vehicles in, and it rained intermittently throughout the day. This time, it was plenty dry to drive on and at eighty degrees was the hottest SLEWS day of the season!

Students were excited during breakfast to find a native butterfly we identified as a Painted Lady. We played PVC golf to connect with our mentor groups before heading out to see the plants we had planted back in December. As this site had experienced a lot of wind and some flooding with the stormy winter we had, our task was to replace bamboo poles, adjust tubes and emitters, and weed around the plants to increase their chance at survival. One student found caterpillars while working along the hedgerow and wondered if they might be Painted Ladies – the same species we saw earlier in the adult (butterfly) form.

After completing our restoration work, mentor Jessica Rudnick, a UC Davis Graduate Student, led the students in a fun educational activity. She explained that they would be investigative journalists, and their assignment was to figure out how the farm was addressing environmental issues. Students rotated between stations learning about pollination (and native habitat benefits!), weeds and cover crops, irrigation, and predators on the farm. Students got to try immature almonds and were surprised to find they tasted like cucumbers! And appropriately, as mentor Corey Shake was discussing predators on the farm, a Swainson’s Hawk flew overhead.

Once students had had a chance to learn about all aspects of the farm, they compiled their reports. Some students elected to share their findings – one memorable and report was a student who chose to be a critical reporter and delivered a hilariously negative story about the almond orchard.

After lunch, we celebrated student Jordan’s birthday before ending the day with a closing circle. Many students remarked that they really enjoyed seeing how much their plants had grown in the past four months!

Bulldogs and Agriculture

FARMS Program |
Kern and Central Valley Regions |January 25, 2019

Participating Schools
Kern County:
Frontier High School
Bakersfield Christian High School
Independence High School

Central Valley:
Hanford High School
Kerman High School

Summary of the Day
Do you think Bulldogs know about Agriculture? The Fresno State Bulldogs are pros! Our Central Valley and Kern County FARMS Advanced students learned a lot about their character and about Integrated Pest Management as we toured the Fresno State Ag Department.

We started the day gathering in the Ag One Meeting Room. Introductions were made between students through an Ice Breaker activity. This helped the two regions come together, however many of the students knew each other already due to the connectivity through social media and the FFA world.

A Leadership Team was established in the group and they were given the task to interview and then introduce our hosts, Michelle Perez, and Rick Chacon. Fresno State offers a class in True Colors, a personality development tool aiding in team development. Students were amazed at the outcome and how it validated how they think and act. They also were led through an exercise in understanding the other personality traits and how to work with those traits. Students discussed how they might use this tool in the workplace or even in their social circles and families.

We broke for lunch and then made our way out to the farm to study the pistachio and almond trees. We talked about identifying the Naval Orange Worm and the devastating effects it can have on the industry. We talked about the practices used to protect against it as well.

Dr. Jacob Wenger taught about the Naval Orange Worm

We also discussed the shaking process in almonds and were able to witness the equipment used to shake the trees. Ranch Manager Rob gave us a tour of the campus’s working orchard where we discussed the importance of the care and maintenance in order to keep harvesting on track.

From the field, we went to the Jordan Lab. This state of the art lab has been a great addition to the campus and we were fortunate to get a behind the scenes tour. The lab allows for in-depth ag research. The professional nature of the lab is something the students noticed right away. One lab was dedicated to the study of the Naval Orange Worm. Dr. Wenger shared his knowledge and how they are considering working on a way to make the worm glow for earlier detection. They use the smallest of needles to inject the worms to change their DNA then breed this new gene We were able to study the different life cycles of the worms.

Agriculture and Research

Program: FARMS Leadership

Region: Central Valley North & South

Field Date: Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Location of Field Day: Kearney Research

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:

Theme: Research in Agriculture

On, Tuesday, December 4, 2018, the Central Valley North and South FARMS Leadership Groups consisting of Madera High School, Madera Liberty High School, Kerman High School, Clovis East High School, Lindsey High School, Hanford High School, El Diamante High School and Mt. Whitney High School participated in a joint field day at Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Parlier CA.  At the beginning of the day the leadership team prepared introductions for the days hosts. Following introductions, students were split into three groups and rotated through three topic areas. They studieds Soils such as soil quality, healthy soils for healthy crops. The second area they studied Post Harvest Quality by answering the question of How suppliers know whether or not the fruits and vegetables that I buy will be ripe and flavorful?  And finally, the importance of grains, such as types of grains, whole grain nutrition and how they grow. At lunch time the hosts sat with the students and presented about their job and students asked all kinds of questions related to their work and how they got there. These questions lead to a great roundtable discussion. The hosts were very gracious with their time and answering all of the students questions. We had a great visit as always and are excited to return!