Milk. It does a body good.

FARMS Advanced | Tehama | Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Location of Field Day:
Duivenvoorden Farms – 19490 Draper Rd. Cottonwood, CA 96022

Field Day Host(s) and Mentors:
Ali Duivenvoorden – Public Relations Manager Mark Duivenvoorden – Owner/Herd Manager

Theme:
Food Safety and Production, Labor

Summary of the Day: To kick off our Tehama County FARMS Advanced year, we visited Duivenvoorden Farms which is a raw dairy in Cottonwood, CA that has been in operation for over 50 years! As we arrived, Mark and Ali Duivenvoorden (and a whole herd of dogs) greeted us and were excited to share their knowledge and love for the dairy industry. We jumped right into the daily operation by joining Mark in the milking parlor to learn some background as well as see first hand the heart and passion that is poured into this local business. It was very touching to hear Mark tell the story of the family dairy that begun over 50 years ago when his parents immigrated from Holland and started the dairy, to him and his wife Lori taking it over in 1993 and now his son and daughter-in-law being a part of the daily operations as well. With the dairy industry being in decline in CA they were faced with finding a niche market to sell their milk in, which is why in 2009 they began selling herd shares which allowed local families to purchase the raw milk for consumption to in 2017 going full retail and building a processing facility to bottle their raw milk for retail sale at markets all over the north state!

The Duivenvoordens herd consists currently of 35 milking cows who all have names. We had the opportunity to learn the process of milking the cows and even try our hand at milking one! We then followed the stainless milk lines to the room where the milk is cooled from 102 degrees to below 50 degrees and stored in a large agitator until it is bottled and distributed twice a week. As you can imagine, with the small scale family business this is a very high labor intensive process. which Ali shared that the days they bottle and distribute, they are all hands on deck to ensure the highest quality milk is delivered to each store.

In order to achieve high quality and consistent flavor, the Duivenvoordens really go the extra mile in care and feeding of their herd. We learned how there cows have access to pasture 365 days a year and are completely grain free! They are fed high quality alfalfa hay year round and fodder during the winter months. What is fodder? In their case, it is barley seeds that are wet and allowed to sprout and grow in trays with no soil which turns into a mat of highly digestible forage for the cows. They are fed this during the months that there pasture grass is primarily dormant, to allow for consistent cream percentage and taste of the milk year round.

To wrap up our day, we took a tour of the farm where we fed the cows, visited the pigs that they feed any “dump milk” or milk that for many reasons doesn’t go into the main tank, and climbed the pile of rice hulls that they use for bedding in the free stalls that the cows can rest in. After this fun and hands on tour, Ali treated us to a glass of their delicious, cold, raw milk and we even made our own butter!

Thank you Duivenvoorden Farms! We had a wonderful day of learning and making memories! Looking forward to another visit during your Milk and Cookies day!

An invertebrate-heavy day in Winters

Winters High School at Putah Creek Dry Creek Confluence
SLEWS Program | Sacramento Valley | January 10, 2020

Participating School
Winters High School

Partners/Landowners
Yolo County Resource Conservation District
Valerie Whitworth and Michael Barbour

Mentors
Josh McCabe, Restoration Coordinator at ACRT Pacific
Lea Pollack, UCD Graduate Student
Marisa Alcorta, Apprenticeship Program Manager, Center for Land-Based Learning

Summary of the Day
Our second field day at the confluence of Putah and Dry Creek in Winters brought us many eager students, both familiar and new to the program.

A guest speaker joined us for opening circle – Jessa of the Xerces Society, an organization focused on invertebrate conservation. She spoke about the alarming decline in the population of the Western Monarch Butterfly (population down 86% from 2017 to 2018) and how the results of this restoration project will help support monarchs in their migration. We finished our opening circle with a game of “Where the Wind Blows” to identify similarities within our group.

After dividing into mentor groups and gathering our tools for the day, we headed down to the project site for our planting demonstration. Amy Williams of Yolo County Resource Conservation District began by introducing students to four of the plants we’d be planting that day – deerweed, toyon, fuschia, and wild rose. As these plants were passed around, students learned their ecological benefits and how to identify them. Then Amy demonstrated the main task of the day, planting trees, shrubs, and forbs. Each plant would be planted in specific spots along the irrigation line, and an emitter would be installed next to it to provide the plant with adequate water.

Mentor groups enthusiastically tackled this job in different areas, with some groups following to install “spaghetti” line to ensure the water would reach the plants. Once groups finished planting the larger plants, Amy showed them how to plug plant smaller “plugs” by poking holes in the ground using a “dibble”. We were all impressed by how much we accomplished by lunchtime!

After lunch, mentor Lea Pollack gave a presentation on the work she’s doing in her Ph.D. program. She studies behavioral ecology and works with black widow spiders. Students were surprised to learn that black widows have personalities! The more “aggressive” (not to people – to other spiders and prey) spiders build their webs in a different way than less aggressive individuals, and you can actually see the difference when the webs are sprayed with water! Mentor groups were each given a misted web (without a widow in it) and counted the number of “gum footed” lines in the web to figure out whether the spider that made it was aggressive or not.

During closing circle, students reflected on what they had learned that day. Many students shared facts about monarch migration, others shared the planting techniques they learned, and even more mentioned black widows – that they have personalities, that only the females build webs, and that the web structure can tell us about their behavior!

Welding, Orchard Machinery, and Cool Ag Jobs

FARMS Leadership | North State | December 3, 2019

Location of Field Day:
Orchard Machinery Company, Yuba City

Field Day Hosts:
Orchard Machinery Company Staff:
Don Mayo, CEO
Brian Anderson, Vice President
Taylor Brady, Head of Engineering
Isaacson, Mechanical Engineer
Brian Kaufman, Parts Manager
Haige Brown, Shop Manager, Rubber Finger | Valve Assembly
Daryn Avalos, Component Fab Manager, Welding
Lucas Skinner, Robotic Fab Manager: Robotic Welding

Summary:
North State FARMS students had an impressive tour and hands on field day at Orchard Machinery Corporation. Founded in 1961, producing hydraulic tree shakers to enable a more efficient prune harvest, OMC’s tree shaker replaced time consuming and labor-intensive field work with a reliable mechanized alternative. Students were welcomed by CEO Don Mayo. Mr. Mayo has been with the company for 50 years, and has overseen the growth of the small machine shop to fully mechanized and computerized manufacturing and fabrication international organization. OMC produces tree shakers, material handling systems, transportation products and offers professional service and support in the industry.

Students really enjoyed the tour and hands on activities led by the many staff at the company. They also benefited from meeting so many different people with different jobs related to agriculture!

OMC is a new partner for CLBL and we look forward to exposing future ag leaders to the diverse career opportunities at OMC. We are grateful for the generous and thoughtful time OMC spent with our students!