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.

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.

Shasta College Student Farm

Tehama FARMS Leadership | Shasta College | May 10, 2018

Location of Field Day:
Redding, CA

Field Day Host:
Shasta College

Participating Partners:
Trena Kimler-Richards, BJ Macfarlane, Sonia Randhawa

Theme:
College Opportunities

Summary of the Day:
Have you ever wanted to know what goes on on a college student farm? The Tehama County FARMS Leadership had the experience of a lifetime when they attended a field day on May 10, 2018 at the Shasta College Farm in Redding, CA.

The day started with an enjoyable breakfast in their lush arboretum and listening to current students who live in housing on the college farm tell about the opportunity to work on the farm to pay for their room and board, which can be a large cost. Shasta College is one of the few junior college campuses’ that has dorm living available to some students. Once everyone’s bellies were full it was time to get down and dirty by going to the horticulture department. Students were able to get some soil under their nails by planting a couple seeds in one pot and taking clippings from a mature plant, dipping it in a growth hormone to stimulate root development and plant it in a second pot. All the students love being able to do something that they get to take home at the end of the day! They also were able to learn a little about beneficial vs. harmful bugs and see first hand what a baby ladybug looks like.

After we played in the dirt a little, we went on a short tour of the Shasta College Farm which included herding goats to a new pen and seeing week old baby pigs. We ended the tour by joining a Shasta College Feeds and Nutrition Lab where we helped process 54 meat chickens that were going to the public’s dinner tables in the next couple days. It took a few minutes for the students to warm up to the idea of being hands on, but soon every student had gotten their hands wet or dirty helping. They learned the importance of food safety, bio-security, and what had gone into growing these chickens during the Feeds and Nutrition’s research projects. During lunch Sonia Randhawa from the counseling department came to talk about admissions and financial aid. It was an important part of the day and very informative for the students to learn that they can take college classes for free while in high school and there are lots of programs to help get your tuition paid for. Lastly, we ended the day out in the hay field with BJ Macfarlane the Farm Manager learning all about the science and technology that goes into growing and bailing hay. As a bonus each student had the chance to drive a skid steer if they wanted! Shasta College sure was a fun filled hands on day and I think a great way to wrap up our 17-18 year!