California Milk Advisory Board Offers Opportunity for Student Ambassadors to Share California Dairy Messages With International Audiences

Two students to be selected to represent Real California Milk in Mexico

By Thalia Sillivan, CMAB

The California Milk Advisory Board announced that resumption of the student ambassador internship program in which students represent Real California Milk internationally. Applications are now open for college students to represent Real California Milk this summer in Mexico.

The interns, selected from students enrolled in agriculture-related programs at colleges and universities throughout the state, will be chosen based on academic achievement, connection to the dairy industry and a willingness to travel abroad and learn more about international dairy sales and marketing as well as a plan to work in the California dairy industry in the future.

Over the six-week period, interns will spend time with Imalinx, the CMAB marketing organization located in Mexico, in order to gain a better understanding of these markets, consumer buying habits and promotional efforts on behalf of California’s dairy industry.

“California accounts for more than 33 percent of all U.S. dairy exports, international trade continues to be essential for our continued growth. Over the last decade, the CMAB has worked closely with partners in Mexico to develop markets for California dairy products. This program is focused on providing insight into international dairy marketing for future leaders who will work in the dairy business and one day serve on dairy industry boards and lead industry groups,” said Glenn Millar, Director of International Business Development for the CMAB.

The goal of the CMAB International Internship program is to provide agriculture and dairy college students an opportunity to learn about dairy foods and marketing in the international marketplace. The program looks to develop leaders who will serve on dairy industry boards, work in dairy foods production, processing or sales and marketing.

Interested candidates must submit a completed application, essay, and other requirements by Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Additional information is available at:

www.californiadairypressroom.com/Press_Kit/California-Milk-Advisory-Board-International-Internship-Criteria-Guidelines-2022

California is the nation’s leading milk producer, and produces more butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk than any other state. California is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. California milk and dairy foods can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, which certifies they are made with milk from the state’s dairy farm families.

2022-01-14T14:22:26-08:00January 14th, 2022|

UC Davis Doctoral Student Alison Coomer Wins Global Nematode Thesis Competition

UC Davis doctoral student Alison Coomer is an international champion

By Kathy Keatley Garvey, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology

UC Davis second-year doctoral student Alison Coomer is now a global champion.

Coomer, a member of the laboratory of nematologist Shahid Siddique of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, just won a world-wide competition sponsored by the International Federation of Nematology Societies (IFNS) for her three-minute thesis on root-knot nematodes.

She delivered her video presentation virtually on “Trade-Offs Between Virulence and Breaking Resistance in Root-Knot Nematodes.” She will be awarded a busary and plaque at the 7th  International Congress of Nematology (ICN), set May 1-6 in Antibes, France.

Coomer earlier was selected one of the nine finalists in the 22-participant competition, vying against eight other graduate students from the University of Idaho, Moscow; and universities in England, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Kenya, Belgium and South Africa.

“Our entire lab is glad for Alison winning this award,” said Siddique. “This is an outstanding performance and Alison has really been working hard for that. I feel proud about it. I am also looking forward to Alison’s presentation at ICN.”

Judges announced that Rhys Copeland of Murdoch University, Australia, won second, and Laura Sheehy of Liverpool John Moores University England,  scored third. They also will receive busaries and plaques at the 7th  International Congress of Nematology.

IFNS hosts the competition, IFNS 3-Minute Thesis, “to cultivate student academic and research communication skills, and to enhance overall awareness of nematodes and the science of nematology.”

The competition began with 22 participants. Each was required to present a single static slide, and not use any props or sound-effects. In the finals, a panel of judges–six nematologists and three non-experts from other areas of plant sciend science–scored them on the quality of their research presentation, ability to communicate research to non-specialists, and the 3MT slide.  (See the winning videos at https://bit.ly/3naarTe)

In her presentation, Coomer related that: “Root-knot nematodes, specifically the MIG-group, consisting of Meloidogyne incognita, javanica, and arenaria, are the most damaging of the plant parasitic nematodes causing severe yield loss in over 2,000 different plant species including tomatoes. The Mi-gene, which is a resistance gene in tomato, has been used in commercial farming and has been praised for its effectiveness towards the MIG group. This gene has been cloned but the mechanisms of how it’s resistance works is still unknown.” (See video at https://www.ifns.org/alison-coomer)

Coomer, a doctoral student in plant pathology with an emphasis on nematology and advised by Siddique, is working on her dissertation, “Plant Parasitic Nematode Effectors and Their Role in the Plant Defense Immune System.”

Coomer, originally from the St. Louis, Mo., area, received two bachelor degrees–one in biology and the other in chemistry–in May 2020 from Concordia University, Seward, Neb., where she won the Outstanding Graduate Student in Biology Award. She served as a biology lab assistant and taught courses in general biology and microbiology.

As a biological science aide/intern, Coomer did undergraduate research in the Sorghum Unit of USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. Lincoln, Neb.  Her work included collecting, prepping and analyzing DNA, RNA and proteins to identify genes that contribute to an under- and over-expression of lignin in sorghum plants.

 

2022-01-11T13:12:33-08:00January 11th, 2022|

Swall Leads Discussion Team to Fourth Consecutive State Team Title

By Fresno State Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Fresno State agricultural education and communication students continued their team success at the state discussion contest with a win in the team category at an event hosted Saturday, Nov. 13 in Bakersfield by the California Farm Bureau and Young Farmers & Ranchers (YF&R) organization.

In the individual competition, junior Lindsey Swall (Tulare) took runner-up honors in the competition that was won by Braden Crosson, a Modesto Junior College student.

Two other Fresno State students, agricultural education seniors Brendan Black (Fresno) and Corie Falaschi (Dos Palos), advanced to the four-person final. Freshman agricultural education student Alexandra Saenz (Gorman) also competed at the event.

Swall received $750 as an award, while Black and Falaschi received $500 awards. Fresno State received $250 as the team winner, and Crosson received $1,250 as the individual winner.

Finalists competed in multiple rounds and were scored on their ability to encourage active and positive group discussion, suggest solutions, and reach a consensus.

Five potential discussion topics that were provided in advance asked contestants for ways to increase YF&R membership and participation; how to improve the economic viability of animal processing facilities while ensuring worker health and healthy products; practices to promote better mental health for farmers and their families; methods to increase the amount of preventative farm safety practices; and how the Farm Bureau can help farmers and ranchers integrate more ‘green energy’ practices.

Under the guidance of animal sciences and agricultural education department chair Dr. Steven Rocca, Fresno State discussion teams have won nine state team titles, and others came in 2020, 2019, 2018, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2008 and 2006.

2021-12-30T13:40:53-08:00December 30th, 2021|

Brandon Crosson Earns Top Honors in Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet

Modesto Junior College student wins in Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet

Braden Crosson, an intern in the Modesto Junior College School of Agriculture’s crop unit, has won the 2021-22 California Young Farmers and Ranchers Collegiate Discussion Meet.

Crosson, of Galt, emerged as the winner of the competition finals, held in Bakersfield on Nov. 13. The event featured a policy discussion on the long-term viability of livestock processing following the COVID-19 pandemic.

In his winning presentation, he addressed how California Farm Bureau efforts can lead to easing government regulations to enable long-term economic viability for local animal processing facilities, while also protecting workers and ensuring that healthy products are delivered to consumers.

As the winner of the contest, he receives $1,250 and will now represent California in the national competition held in February 2022 during the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The competition, part of the Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers Program, simulates a committee meeting, in which each committee member is expected to actively participate in a policy discussion. The idea is for participants to improve their discussion skills while learning about important agricultural issues. Ultimately, they learn to work in groups to pool knowledge, reach consensus and solve problems.

2021-12-13T08:59:53-08:00December 13th, 2021|

Westlands Water District Announces Scholarship Winners

Westlands Water District Announces Recipients of the Six West Side Scholarships

News Release

Westlands Water District awarded scholarships to six high school seniors in recognition of the students’ exceptional academic achievement. Each recipient, all of whom are from west side communities, will receive $1,000 towards their community college or university expenses. Applicants were judged on their academic performance, school activities, and community leadership, and each applicant submitted an essay on an agricultural-related topic.

The District congratulates the following 2019 scholarships winners:

Joe Cardiel III, a senior at Firebaugh High School. Cardiel plans to attend Fresno State, where he will major in Agriculture Education, with plans to pursue a career as an agricultural educator.

Cardiel is a varsity basketball and varsity baseball player and FFA chapter secretary. As a Firebaugh high school student, Cardiel was honored with the Eagle Baseball award, FFA State Degree, and FFA Outstanding senior.

Marvin Cornejo, a senior at Mendota High School. Cornejo is an honors student who plans to attend Fresno State to pursue a degree in Chemistry. Following college, Cornejo aspires to pursue a career as a pharmacist.

Cornejo is a Mendota School Board student representative; a West Side Youth volunteer; an avid athlete involved in track &field, cross country wrestling and soccer; and an FFA Greenhand and Chapter degree holder.

Myriam Castro, a senior at Tranquility High School. Castro will graduate in the top five of her class. Castro plans to attend Fresno State, where she will major in Criminology.

During her time at Tranquility High School, Castro was involved in the Honor Guard and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) and obtained the ROP Criminal Justice certificate of completion and the State Seal of Biliteracy.

Peter Hawken, a senior at Lemoore High School. Hawken was honored as the Chemistry Student of the Year. Following graduation, Hawken will attend the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he will major in Environmental Science. With his degree, Hawken aims to pursue a career as an environmental and agricultural irrigation specialist.

Hawken is the Varsity Soccer team captain, both the soccer and tennis club president and is involved in Jesus Club and a California Scholarship Federation life member.

Jazmin A. Murillo, a senior at Coalinga High School. Murillo plans to attend West Hills College Coalinga, where she will major in Political Science and film. Following college, Murillo plans to pursue a career as a paralegal and as a film director.

Murillo is the editor-in-chief of the Coalinga High School Magazine, President of the After School Program Leadership Club and VIDA club, and was on the Principal’s Honor Roll from 2015 to 2019. Murillo has also been honored with the Bausch + Lomb Honorary Science Award, first place in the Chevron Robotics Challenge and as a National Hispanic Scholar.

Emma Andrade, a senior at Riverdale High School. Andrade is an honor roll student who plans to attend Fresno State, where she will major in Physics and plans to pursue a career as an experimental physicist.

Andrade plays varsity basketball and tennis and has been involved with Rural Route 4-H since 2010, continually holding leadership positions, such as Corresponding Secretary and Camp Director. Andrade has been honored with the Academic All-League Team and Letter, County Heartbeat Artistry Award and All-League First Team Varsity Tennis.

Westlands is honored to recognize and assist these outstanding students; as reiterated by Tom Birmingham, general manager of Westlands, “these scholarships represent a small gesture of thanks and support to the communities on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley that make our region productive and vibrant. Our hope is that these students will continue to contribute to their communities and make them even better for future generations.”

2019-06-27T17:27:38-07:00June 27th, 2019|

FruitsAndVeggies.org Highlights How to Boost Health

FruitsAndVeggies.org Has Been Updated

By Jessica Theisman, Associate Editor

Eating more fruits and vegetables is important. California Ag Today recently spoke with Teresa Thorne executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, based in Watsonville She expressed the need to eat more fruits and vegetables and discussed how the website FruitsAndVeggies.org has been updated.

“Whether you choose organic or conventional, choose either with confidence,” Thorne said.

Both organic and conventional fruits and vegetables are safe.

“Experts everywhere agree that we should buy even more,” Thorne said.

Teresa Thorne

“Our website was getting a little bit old and rickety,” she explained.

The website, FruitsAndVeggies.org, was launched back in 2010. New sections on the website help readers understand the necessity of eating more fruits and vegetables.

“These new sections are kind of a fun take on our more traditional nutrition information,” Thorne said.

They also have fun facts such as how eating a lot of strawberries can help whiten teeth. And eating leafy Greens like spinach can lead to healthier hair.

“Things along those lines are just kind of fun little tidbits,” Thorne said.

“It is proven that consuming more foods and vegetables improve your mood, they’re great for you and you can be happier too if you eat more,” Thorne said.

The facts section also clarifies safety and prevention information.

“We also have another section about produce safety,” she said.

This was based on a popular blog that was published approximately one year ago. The information was consolidated it into one quick and easy section for viewers to easily read some interesting facts.

“One being that if we increased our serving by one serving of a fruit and vegetable in a day, 20,000 cancer cases could be prevented annually,” Thorne said.

2019-06-06T15:34:47-07:00June 6th, 2019|

Ian LeMay is New President of California Fresh Fruit Association

Former President George Radanovich Goes Back to Washington 

 News Release

This week, Randy Giumarra, the Chairman of the California Fresh Fruit Association (CFFA) Board of Directors, announced that Ian LeMay will serve as the new president of CFFA. LeMay will succeed George Radanovich, who has held the position since 2016 and will be leaving CFFA to promote sound ag labor policy in Washington, D.C.

Ian LeMay

Giumarra said, “Ian’s appointment is a reflection of our Board’s commitment to establishing long-term leadership for our industry.”

He continued, “Our board and I have worked closely with Ian over the past four years. We are confident in his abilities and look forward to his leadership. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank George for his time, leadership, and impact that he has made over the last three years. George’s service is greatly appreciated by our entire membership.”

LeMay has dedicated his career to supporting and advocating for the continued success of California agriculture. Since 2015, LeMay has served as CFFA’s Director of Member Relations and Communications.

From 2011 to 2015, LeMay served as the District Director for Congressman Jim Costa, who represents California’s 16th Congressional District. As District Director, LeMay managed the Congressman’s district staff and advised the Congressman on a number of issues, including agriculture, water, and transportation. Prior to working for Congressman Costa, LeMay worked as a California Market Specialist for the Lindsay Corporation. LeMay is a recent graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program (Class 48).

California Fresh Fruit Assocation“I am humbled and appreciate the opportunity to continue to serve the members of the California Fresh Fruit Association in a new capacity,” LeMa said. “I came to the Association four years ago because I believe in its mission, deeply respect its history and see infinite potential in advocating for the permanent fresh fruit growers and shippers of California. I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to observe two great Association leaders in Barry Bedwell and George Radanovich, and thank them for their commitment to bettering our industry. The challenges that face us are many. These have not been easy years for our industry, but I remain confident in the future of California agriculture and our opportunity to advocate for meaningful policy with a unified voice.”

LeMay will begin his tenure as CFFA President on June 1st. Ian and his wife, Molly, reside in Fresno with their two children, Emery Rose and Ellison James, and will welcome their third child this August.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

For more than eighty (80) years the California Fresh Fruit Association has been the primary government relations organization serving the fresh fruit industry. It is a voluntary public policy organization that works on behalf of our members—growers, shippers, marketers, and associates—on issues that specifically affect member commodities: fresh grapes, kiwis, pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, peaches, pears, apricots, nectarines, interspecific varieties, plums, apples and persimmons. It is the Association’s responsibility to serve as a liaison between regulatory and legislative authorities by acting as the unified voice of our members. The challenges are countless for growers, shippers, and marketers as they strive to remain viable in an ever-changing market. Increasing regulatory requirements make it difficult to flourish, regardless of the size of the operation.

The Association’s dedicated staff advocates daily in the best interest of our members to ensure that regulators and legislators are using sound science and accurate information when considering laws or rules that will be imposed on industry members. However, aside from the variety of issues the Association works on, there is an important networking component. As each company has its own business interest, the membership as a whole shares a common, vested interest in the long-term health of tree fruit, fresh grape and berry communities in California.

2019-05-15T14:55:48-07:00May 15th, 2019|

Cavanaugh Wins Fresno County Farm Bureau Journalism Award

Patrick Cavanaugh Wins Award for Audio Report on Temperance Flat Dam

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

The Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) recognized Patrick Cavanaugh, Ag News Director and co-owner of California Ag Today Radio Network and CaliforniaAgToday.com, with a First Place Journalism Award in the Audio category on May 9. Cavanaugh’s radio report entitled “Temperance Flat Dam Denied Full Funding” broadcasted across our 26-station network, focused on the California Water Commission’s failure to fund the Temperance Flat Dam storage project.

Cavanaugh was among four award winners recognized by the FCFB at its second annual “Bounty of Fresno County” event at Wolf Lakes Park in Sanger. This year marked the FCFB’s 25th annual Journalism Awards.

Patrick Cavanaugh Wins FCFB Journalism Award

 

Over 25 entries were received from publications, websites, radio and television stations. The criteria for the awards were: thorough and objective coverage of issues, given time and space limitations; educational element for the agriculture industry or the consumer; and portraying the personal stories of those who make up the food and agriculture industry, making issues relevant to consumers and Valley residents.

Serving as judges were Westlands Water District Public Affairs Representative Diana Giraldo, farmer Liz Hudson of Hudson Farms, and journalist Don Wright of Water Wrights.

Award winners are:

Audio

Patrick Cavanaugh, California Ag Today Radio, “Temperance Flat Dam denied full funding,” March 9, 2018

Cavanaugh discusses the California Water Commission’s failure to fund the Temperance Flat Dam storage project.

Farm Trade Print

Vicky Boyd, Cotton Farming Magazine, “A bird’s eye-view of cotton,” September 1, 2018

Boyd explains the value of drones and how California farmers and ranchers are enlisting such technologies to help boost efficiency, optimize crop inputs and yields, and ultimately, remain profitable.

General Print

Robert Rodriguez, The Fresno Bee, “Will adding a sour kick get millennials to eat raisins?,” August 19, 2018

Rodriguez speaks with the President and Chief Executive Officer of Sun-Maid Growers of California, Harry Overly, about the company’s national campaign focused on rekindling consumers’ fondness for the brand.

Video

Alexan Balekian, KSEE24, “Is the gas tax putting California’s most valuable resource in jeopardy?,” February 19, 2019

Balekian explores the implications of Prop. 6, “the gas tax,” on California agriculture.

Check the CaliforniaAgToday.com Google News-recognized website for additional coverage on Temperance Flat Dam.

Featured Photo:  Ryan Jacobsen, CEO, Fresno County Farm Bureau, and Patrick Cavanaugh, California Ag Today Radio Network, holding tractor award.

###

Fresno County Farm Bureau is the county’s largest agricultural advocacy and educational organization, representing members on water, labor, air quality, land use, and major agricultural related issues. Fresno County produces more than 400 commercial crops annually, totaling $7.028 billion in gross production value in 2017. For Fresno County agricultural information, visit www.fcfb.org.

 

Recommended:  The Fresno County Farm Bureau (FCFB) held the 22nd Annual Journalism Awards at the organization’s Celebrating Friends of Agriculture social where it awarded Vernon and the mental health series the Audio Award. 

2019-05-13T16:39:59-07:00May 13th, 2019|

Wasco High School Students Attend Bakersfield College

High School Students Gain Interest in Agriculture

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor

Sophia Marin is a lab assistant at UC Cooperative Extension Kern County, and she also is an adjunct professor at Bakersfield College in a dual enrollment program with Wasco High School. She is helping high school students attend Bakersfield college at the same time.

“The students are in the 11th grade, so by the time that they’re done with high school, they’ll have their high school diploma plus an Associate Degree from Bakersfield College,” Marin said. “They’re essentially doing two schools in one,  and at the college, they attend lectures and they have a lab.

California Ag Today met Marin and her students at a California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board meeting in Kern County.

“We have been discussing different pathogens that affect plant growth. The carrot meeting was a great opportunity to actually hear the researchers, instead of reading a textbook and me going over it,” Marin said. “They got to see it real life, and I thought it would be a more memorable and something that they could grasp.”

Wasco High School Students Who Also Attend Bakersfield College

Marin explained that since the students come from the rural area of Wasco, most have an interest in agriculture.

“And by the end of this next year, they will all receive an agricultural business degree from Bakersfield College,” she said.

“It will depend on them what the students do the degree. So whatever I can instill or spark in them to whatever career path they want to go to. It may be agronomy, pathology or research, it’s all on them,” Marin said. “It’s nice to open their eyes to see more.”

She noted that most of the kids have plans to go to a university. “I am very impressed with them. Some of the terminology that I mention, I might say I wonder if they know about this or that,” she said. “But they do know. When I’m speaking to them, they understand, and if they don’t, they will research an idea themselves. I am very impressed.”

“These students work very hard. They have weekend classes and summer classes. I am very proud of these students,” Marin said.

2019-05-01T17:21:26-07:00May 1st, 2019|

Raul Calvo: Good Employee Communication Shows Respect

Organizations Must Improve Their Culture

By Laurie Greene, Founding Editor

Communicating with employees on the farm is essential. Furthermore, according to Raul Calvo, owner of Employer Services, the manner in which an employer communicates is critical in terms of making employees feel respected.

“The services I provide to employers, including those in agriculture,” Calvo explained, “are typically designed to improve the culture of their organizations by helping them better manage their employees.”

Calvo described himself as “nonstop-busy because as long as companies have employees, there will always be some sort of conflict. And there are certain skills that foremen and supervisors should have to be able to better manage their employees. Unfortunately, the majority of foremen and supervisors are not very adept in those skills, so we work on helping them with those skills.”

“One such skill is conflict resolution—their ability to resolve conflict among themselves, with their employees, and among the employees,” Calvo said.

“Another skill is their ability to manage and minimize favoritism, probably one of the most difficult things to manage. Favoritism causes employees to come to work with this sour taste in their mouths. You know, they’re constantly thinking, ‘Why me?’ ‘Why not me?’ or ‘Why do they only do this?’ So, favoritism makes any little issue or small problem become much bigger because the employees are already carrying this baggage.”

“Third, we evaluate their ability to communicate with employees, which is very difficult.”

Moreover, Calvo believes communicating technical information is exceptionally difficult, “so we work on programs to help supervisors develop that skill. For instance, I’ll see a supervisor talking with an employee about a movie, a TV show, or a sports game they saw, and they’re communicating this vivid information so clearly. But as soon as the supervisor needs to communicate technical information that is required for the employee to be able to do the job, the supervisor stumbles and often says the wrong thing to the employee.”

“Finally,” Calvo said, “supervisors need to meet with their employees on a regular basis—two or three times per week sometimes. Meetings that should take three to five minutes to end up taking 20 to 25 minutes. A meeting that should take 10 minutes takes 40 to 45 minutes because the supervisor does not have the skills to run an effective meeting. So, we put them through the process of running effective meetings and to be quicker and more to the point.”

These are four essential skills that supervisors and foremen need to develop, according to Calvo.

2019-04-22T17:01:52-07:00April 22nd, 2019|
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