Future Looks Bright with Young Cattlemen’s Club

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo Group Educates Fellow Students About Cattle

By Joanne Lui, Associate Editor

If their attendance at the California Cattlemen’s Association’s 100th Annual Convention was any indication, the future is bright for the next generation of cattlemen and cattlewomen. We spoke to Veronica Staggs, a junior at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, about why she’s a member of the Young Cattlemen’s Club and what they are doing to educate students about the cattle industry.

Veronica Stacks, member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obisop Young Cattlemen's Club
Veronica Staggs, member of the Cal Poly San Luis Obisop Young Cattlemen’s Club

The club, which is a chapter of the California Young Cattlemen, has about more than 50 members, with both those who grew up on cattle ranches and many who just have a passion for livestock agriculture, Staggs said

Staggs, who is studying animal science at Cal Poly with the goal of becoming a livestock veterinarian, is one of those who doesn’t haven’t a background in cattle.

“I actually love cattle, but it’s a great industry to go into and to be a vet for because the people you work with are just so nice, and so genuine, and they’re so easy to work with,” Staggs said.

The prospect of working with cattle ranchers was a main reason that drew her to studying animal sciences.

“I just think that cattle ranchers are super easy people to work with,” Staggs said. “They’re super genuine. You can work well with them. They treat you like family, so I think being a vet for cattle ranchers would just be a super great job.”

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is well-known for a great agriculture program in general. The Young Cattlemen’s Club does their part to get to engage fellow ag students about the cattle industry.

“We do a lot of networking with people not a part of agriculture to show them what’s going on,” Staggs said. “And most of them are pretty receptive to it, and actually get interested in what’s going on and seeing how their food reaches their table.

Recently, the club even brought a calf into the student union to let people meet the animal and to educate the public about food animals. The Young Cattlemen also use social media to get their message across.

“We try to put a lot of information out there for them, because we think that it’s important for everyone to understand how food reaches their table and that it’s not just from a super market,” Staggs said.

CA Farm Bureau Awards Ag Students

CA Farm Bureau Awards Young Farmers and Ranchers Program Students

Service to community and Farm Bureau earned awards for participants in the California Young Farmers and Ranchers program, and a student from California State University, Fresno, won the state’s annual Collegiate Discussion Meet. The awards were presented at the Feb. 27 annual California Young Farmers and Ranchers Leadership Conference in San Luis Obispo.

For a second straight year, the San Joaquin Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers Committee earned the YF&R Committee of the Year Award, for its activities during 2015. The committee, composed of 45 active members, volunteered at numerous Farm Bureau and agricultural education events; donated food to local food banks and toys to children of military service members; presented three college scholarships; and raised money for the scholarship program and for the California Farm Bureau Federation Fund to Protect the Family Farm.

Napa County Farm Bureau member Johnnie White received the Star YF&R Award, which recognizes a young farmer or rancher for service to agriculture. White, a sixth-generation farmer, works as operations supervisor for a vineyard-management company and as a volunteer firefighter in St. Helena. He has been an active YF&R volunteer since 2006, serves as first vice chair of the State YF&R Committee and is a member of the 2016 Leadership Farm Bureau class.

California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference logo
California Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers and Ranchers 2016 Conference

Fresno State junior Hunter Berry (San Jacinto), an agricultural business major, won the Collegiate Discussion Meet, which simulates a committee meeting with active participation and positive group discussion. Berry began his agricultural training in high school classes and FFA activities. At Fresno State, he is pursuing an accounting concentration and hopes to obtain a master’s degree on his banking or financial analysis career path. Next February, Berry will become the sixth Fresno State student to represent California at the American Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet national competition.

Riley Nilsen (Nipomo), an agricultural science student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was first runner-up in the competition. The other finalists were Fresno State senior agricultural business student Jacob Vazquez (Cottonwood) and Cal Poly student Haley Warner (Angels Camp). Berry earned a $1,250 prize sponsored by AgroLiquid; Nilsen earned $750 and the other finalists each earned $500.

Fresno State won the collegiate team competition, the fifth team and individual titles for the group under the direction of adviser Dr. Steven Rocca, Fresno State agricultural education professor. Other team titles came in 2014, 2013, 2008 and 2006. Berry said. “Dr. Rocca did a great job of mentoring us before and during the competition, as well as arranging for guest speakers beforehand such as Ryan Jacobsen from the Fresno County Farm Bureau. Having four of our team members make the semifinals was especially rewarding.

In addition to Berry and Vazquez, Fresno State’s team included agricultural education-communication senior Dominique Germann (Ceres), animal science-livestock business management junior Emma Briggs (Santa Rosa) and animal science-pre-veterinary senior Ana Lopez Campos (Tulare).

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American Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program serves agriculturalists between the ages of 18 and 35 who are actively involved in production and affiliated professions.

The California Farm Bureau Federation works to protect family farms and ranches on behalf of more than 53,000 members statewide and as part of a nationwide network of more than 6.2 million Farm Bureau members.

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Sources: 

California Farm Bureau Federation

California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Teçhnology (Geoffrey Thurner).

Photo: Collegiate Team Award Winners (2016); source: California State University, Fresno, Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

Westlands Water District Announces Westside Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the Westlands Water District Westside Scholarship Recipients!

Six outstanding high school seniors from communities on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley have been selected to receive scholarships offered by the Westlands Water District. The 2015 scholarships are offered by Westlands under a program to recognize and reward exceptional academic achievement and leadership by graduate seniors at area high schools.

The recipients of the 2015 scholarships are:

Aneet Hundal, a senior at Coalinga High School. Ms. Hundal is an honors student who plans on attending the University of California, Irvine to pursue a degree in nursing. She was actively involved in the Academic Decathlon, Mock Trial, Link Crew, California Scholarship Federation and tennis and basketball. Additionally, she has received a number of awards including the Superintendent’s Honor Roll, Lab Biology II Star of the Month and Wendy’s High School Heisman.

Phillip Augusto, a senior at Lemoore High School. Mr. Augusto plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in BioResource and Agricultural Engineering. He is an honors student who has received awards from the Future Farmers of America – Scholar Awards, State Degree, Chapter Degree and Greenhand Degree. Additionally, he has been a Robotics Team finalist at West Hills Collect Vex Robotics Competition and Student of the Month for the Lemoore High School Math Department.

Emily Parra, a senior at Tranquillity High School. Ms. Parra plans to attend Stanford University to pursue a degree in Economics/Education. She is an honors student who has been the president of the California Scholarship Federation, Associated Student Body Secretary and World Travel Club Vice President, Mathematician of the Year and Student of the Month.

Jackelyn Sanchez, a senior at Riverdale High School. Ms. Sanchez plans to attend University of California, San Diego to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. She is an honors student who has competed in Academic Decathlon, is an AVID 8th Grade Tutor, Student of the Month, Science Olympiad Competitor, and won an End of the Year Award for maintaining a GPA above 4.0 throughout her high school career.

Gaston Ruben Aganza, a senior at Mendota High School. Mr. Aganza plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to pursue a degree in Engineering. He has held leadership positions in chess and Upward Bound and has participated in AVID, Young Legislators Program, Lend-A-Hand and MESA. Additionally, he was a cross-country runner.

Teddi Diedrich, a senior at Firebaugh High School. Ms. Diedrich plans to attend Menlo College to pursue a degree in agricultural business. She has received several awards in AVID (Student of the Year), Future Farmers of America Greenhand Degree, Honor Roll, Athlete Scholar, the Superintendent’s List and State Future Farmers of America and has also played softball and volleyball.

Each scholarship recipient will receive $1,000 to be used for community college or university expenses. Applicants were judged on their academic performance, school activities and community leadership. Each applicant submitted an essay on an agricultural-related topic.

“Westlands is honored to provide this assistance for these outstanding student leaders,” said 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 such a productive and vibrant place.”

E.M. Tharp “We Believe in Growing” Scholarship Winners Announced at World Ag Expo

Eighth Year for “We Believe in Growing” Scholarships

Angelica Fernandes
Angelica Fernendes

World Ag Expo and E.M. Tharp, Inc. have teamed up for the eighth year to provide the “We Believe in Growing” scholarship which supports local high school students who will be attending four-year universities to major in an agricultural field. This year’s winners, Angelica Fernandes and Emily Babcock, will each receive $2,500 scholarships to be renewed up to four years, totaling $10,000 per student.

“Agriculture has many aspects–and education is a large part of that,” said Casey Tharp, E.M. Tharp, Inc. “We at E.M. Tharp are proud to be a part of that future by giving these students new opportunities to build on an already solid background in agriculture.”

Angelica Fernandes, a student at Tulare Union High School, plans to study agriculture education at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo this coming fall. She is a Tulare FFA Chapter Officer, participates on the Tulare FFA Dairy Show Team, and is involved in her Associated Student Body as an Academic Commissioner.

Emily Babcock
Emily Babcock

“It’s a huge honor to be awarded this scholarship and I couldn’t be happier!” said Fernandes. “I’m looking forward to my future in ag education–this scholarship will be very beneficial for me. Thank you to everyone at E.M. Tharp.”

Emily Babcock, a student at Porterville High School, plans to study agricultural business at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She has been a 4-H Mentor for four years, and is currently the president of the Porterville FFA, and FFA sectional vice-president.

“It has always been my dream to attend Cal Poly and major in ag business to prepare myself for a career that will have an impact on the agriculture industry,” said Babcock, “I feel extremely grateful to be a recipient of this scholarship and blessed to live in a community that provides opportunities like these for students.”

To be considered for the scholarship, students from across the Central Valley submitted letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores and must be graduating from high school during the 2014-2015 school year. The winners will be recognized at World Ag Expo’s media day on Monday, February 9, 2015.

 

Free UCCE Online Training to Increase Food Safety and Protect Natural Resources

UCCE On-Line Training Helps Growers Safeguard Their  Produce Fields

By Pam Kan-Rice, Assistant Director, University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources

 

On their farms, growers are active stewards of the land, protecting soil quality and water quality as well as supporting wildlife by preserving their habitat. At the same time, fresh produce growers must ensure that their crops are free from pathogens that can cause foodborne illnesses.

To help growers and food safety professionals achieve all of these important goals, UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE) has launched a free online course.

“Actions that farmers take to protect food safety may affect natural resources, and conservation practices may affect food safety,” said Mary Bianchi, UC Cooperative Extension advisor in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, who oversaw design of the course.

The intent of the UCCE online training is to demonstrate that communication between food safety professionals and growers can help to achieve a balance between food safety and sustainability.

“Our co-management course will help food safety professionals better evaluate the risk of conservation practices,” said Bianchi.

“For example, cover crops attract beneficial insects, help control soil erosion and improve soil quality, but they may attract wildlife,” she said. “In the course, we demonstrate frank conversations between food safety auditors and growers about strategies for minimizing the potential risks of crops being contaminated by animal feces. Growers can often provide existing examples, such as monitoring programs or temporary fencing that excludes wild and domestic animals from produce fields.”

The course also provides growers with tools to evaluate their strategies for managing food safety and sustainability.

“After the training, growers and auditors will be better prepared to engage in realistic and frank discussions of co-management strategies used in crop production” Bianchi said.

The free UCCE online co-management course and related resources are online at UCCE San Luis Obispo County website.

This project was funded by a $39,650 grant from the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

A video describing co-management practices from farm to fork can be viewed online at “Co-Management of Food Safety and Sustainability in Fresh Produce“.