Sustainable to the Last Fiber

FARMS Leadership | Tehama | Thursday, January 16, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Sierra Pacific Industries – 19794 Riverside Ave. Anderson, CA 96007

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Kristy Lanham, Community Relations Manager Katie Luther, Workforce Development and Communications Coordinator Drew Peterson, Electrical Supervisor Tanner Estes, Safety and Environmental Coordinator Angie Harris, Office Coordinator Fabrication Shop

Theme:
Technology and Manufacturing

Summary of the Day: Tehama County FARMS Leadership kicked off our year on January 16th at Sierra Pacific Industries in Anderson, CA. They have been a generous supporter of our FARMS programs throughout the state and this field day was no exception. While the weather was a bit grey and drizzly, we still took full advantage of our visit and were able to explore their sawmill, cogen plant, and fab/tech shop.

Kristy Lanham, SPI’s Community Relations Manager, and Katie Luther their Workforce Development and Communications Coordinator greeted us and gave some wonderful background information into Sierra Pacific Industries and what sets them apart from many other companies. They truly pride themselves on being a 3rd generation family run company that believes in growing their people, investing in their communities and being sustainable to the last fiber.

Largest crane west of the Mississippi loading logs onto the log deck.

Tanner Estes, Safety and Environmental Coordinator then joined us to be our guide as we headed out to see exactly how they are sustainable to the last fiber. We began by watching the largest crane west of the Mississippi River placing logs on the log deck. These logs have come from somewhere on the 2 million acres of forests Mr. Emmerson owns in CA and WA, making Sierra Pacific the 2nd largest lumber producer in the United States. As the logs enter the sawmill they are run through a de-barker and cut into lengths appropriate for the boards they will be but into. The students were absolutely fascinated by the technology, speed and size of the equipment being used. We met several of the employees that were inspecting the lumber for quality as well as operating some of the equipment along the way. Seeing the process from raw log to 2 X 4 that you could purchase at Home Depot was amazing! As we walked out of the sawmill Tanner talked to us about the waste they produce and how every single fiber is consumed wether it be shipped out as lumber, or used as fuel for their cogen plant. As we stood and watched the cogen steam we learned that they not only produce enough power to run their facility, but they feed energy back into the grid to provide power for much of the community. They also use the steam to dry their own lumber and any of the steam that is left over is looped around and continued in the cycle. Talk about efficient! Wow!

Lastly we headed over to the Fab/Tech Shop where Drew Peterson, Electrical Supervisor, toured us through this very high tech and state-of-the-art facility. We learned that Sierra Pacific designs and builds all of their equipment so they employ computer designers, electrical and mechanical engineers, fabricators, and many others that support this process. As we walked through the fab shop Drew showed how far the technology has come and that it is moving more and more into robotics. This is one of the highest tech operations in our area and truly offers wonderful opportunities for not only careers but also internships for those interested.

Our day wrapped up with a fabulous lunch provided by SPI and an opportunity for questions to be answered. The students were impressed by the company values as well as career opportunities they learned about. Many were surprised that they could begin a job right out of high school if they wanted and grow within the company into a very respectable career position. They also were intrigued with the scholarship opportunities that SPI offers to the children of their employees. Thank you Sierra Pacific Industries for all you pour into our program and the youth of today!

A Berry Good Day

FARMS Leadership| Tehama County | May 16, 2019

Location of Field Day
Red Bluff, CA

Field Day Host
Melissa Macfarlane
Shannon Lambert
Chris Hunter

Participating Schools
Red Bluff High School
Mercy High School
Los Molinos High School
Corning High School

Theme
Technology

Summary of the Day:
To wrap up the Tehama County FARMS Leadership year, we were treated to a “berry good day” at Driscoll’s. Students arrived eager to pick and eat strawberries straight from the field. Little did they know that at the Red Bluff Driscoll’s nursery location, it is just that….a nursery. Their focus is growing the plants that will then get shipped to growers all over the world, who then plant them in fields to grow berries for our eating. However, in true Driscoll’s fashion, breakfast consisted of platters of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries with yogurt and granola to enjoy the best parfait’s they ever have had.

Melissa Macfarlane welcomed us with a great presentation about Driscoll’s as a company and explained just what they did at their nursery and why it is so important. Students learned the difference between a “sibling” and a “clone” as well as why it was necessary for the farmers to be planting clones and not siblings. She then turned it over to Chris, who gave a presentation on “mapping” and the technology that is associated with it. He went over: What is a map? The difference between a geographical map and position map and then introduced the students to what our hands on tasks would be for the day once we broke up into 3 groups.

Each group explored a different job that takes place at the nursery. One group went out into the field and learned what goes into planning how many plants a farmer is going to need and just how to go about planting and multiplying those plants on the nursery level. Another group spent their time in “the office” learning all that goes into mapping from the computer level and the importance of data collection in the field being entered into their system correctly. They also had the opportunity to identify a problem, and learn the procedure for correcting the problem and communicating with other staff the changes that were made and corrections that needed to take place out in the nursery. The last group went out to one of the screen-houses and did a map check validation. They were shown how the plants are planted into bins and then maintained to allow for optimal growth of daughter plants. Then they were given a map which they needed to review and check that the information printed was actually what was physically in the screen-house. They did such an excellent job and found 4 corrections that needed to be made.

Once we all gathered again, the groups took time to prepare a power point presentation to share with their fellow FARMS members what they learned and why it was important. This entire field day was fabulous at showing the importance of technology and how high tech farming is. Each student was encouraged to continue to expand their computer skills and knowledge throughout their education because agriculture as an industry is very progressive and continues to grow with our times.

A Day in the Woods

After a bit of a drive, Tehama FARMS Advanced was greeted with the fresh mountain air on a late spring morning and temperatures that didn’t even warrant a sweatshirt. Sierra Pacific Industries invited our group to attend the Sierra Cascade Logging Conference Inc. “In Woods Forest Harvest Demonstration Day”. This is a day where a group of industry supporters take the time to carve out of the forest a 1-mile trail for groups of students who are led by experts in logging to hike and stop at several stations to see the very impressive logging equipment at work as well as meet and network with a variety of industry professionals.

Once we had been properly fitted with fancy hard hats to ensure everyone was exercising supreme safety, we started off following our leader who was a Wildlife Biologist for Sierra Pacific Industries. As we wandered through the woods we heard from many different local volunteer programs such as The Backcountry Horsemen and Shasta County Search and Rescue and the different ways they work with our logging industry to accomplish different tasks. Not only did we meet volunteer units, we also met Jim Lepage from Lepage Company who’s focus is building and maintaining the logging roads. He spoke with the students about the career opportunities with heavy equipment and why their jobs are so important to the logging companies. Of course safety comes first, so without quality roads the big rig drivers driving heavy loads of logs could not safely get in and out of these deep woods locations, but also how roads that they can safely drive a moderate speed on will increase efficiency and the number of loads one trucker can make with logs in a day. Time = Money.

As we rounded the bend we could hear the loud sound of a saw and smell the fragrance of freshly cut wood. This began our walk into what truly happens in the forest during a harvest. First we learned the different ways there are to fall, or cut down, a tree. We heard from a 30 year wood cutter about the tools and manual labor that goes into cutting a tree by hand which he demonstrated on a HUGE pine tree right in front of us. It was amazing to see his skill, precision, and speed with his chainsaw as well as the ability to make the tree fall exactly where he wanted. He was able to fall and cut into logs roughly 50 trees a day and therefore is used to process the trees who’s trunks are too large in diameter for the heavy equipment that we watched but are able to do closer to 1500-2000 trees in a day. We then followed the process to the landing site that was set up where a harvester was delimbing and cutting trees into “logs” of appropriate length, then a feller-buncher was gathering and loading logs onto a truck to be hauled off the mountain and to a processing plant. It was such an amazing experience to see first hand these GIANT machines at work and meet the men who were behind the controls.

Thank you too all those who took part at the In Woods Demonstration Day and Sierra Pacific Industries for inviting us to take part. The students thoroughly enjoyed it and have a much greater understanding and appreciation for the logging industry as a whole. We hope to be apart of it in the future!