AgriPOWER Class XII California

“Paradigms are powerful because they create the lens through which we see the world.” – Stephen R. Covey

Paradigms are a set of ideas or our perspective in which we see the world or situation based on our experiences. In session 6 of AgriPOWER, we traveled outside of our Midwest agriculture paradigm to experience sunny Southern California agriculture. AgriPOWER Class XII visited local agriculture operations around San Diego and the Imperial Valley Feb. 16 – 20, 2022. In a land where they often pray for rain, we learned about water rights issues, labor issues and the different regulations set by the state and federal government for the respective crops harvested.

Imperial IrrigationOne the first full day, we toured the Imperial Irrigation District. All water in the Imperial Valley is supplied from the Colorado River. Farmers and ranchers in the valley must order water on a daily basis to make sure they can irrigate their crops. We were able to see many of the canals in the valley that bring the water to the fields. Later in the day we visited Vessey & Co. a vegetable farm and West Gro, an alfalfa operation. These growers shared with us the food safety regulations they must follow, their struggles with labor and living on the Mexico border.

On day two, we visited Top Notch Seeds and learned about their operation and the export of seeds. Like other commodities, seeds have stringent export regulations that vary from country to country. Then we toured Doc’s Organics to learn about lemon farming, among the other fruits they grow. Our class ended the day watching the sunset on the beach and dinner in San Diego’s Little Italy.

For our final day in California, we spent the morning learning about all things flowers and plants! We visited Mellano & Company – a fresh cut flower farm and Altman Plants where they start plant plugs before sending them to larger greenhouses. Both operations were very impressive with their attention to detail to produce quality plants. Each are dedicated to improving their growing practices to meet the ever-growing demand on flowers and plants. We learned that only 20% of the fresh cut flowers in the United States are actually grown in the United States.

Overall, we were humbled by the time each producer took showing off their operation and sharing their stories with us. While their struggles may be slightly different than what we see here in the Midwest, there was one thing we could all agree on – now more than ever, it is important to tell our agriculture story! Each producer encouraged us to get involved and be open about what we do in agriculture to educate consumers. It is easy to stay in our own paradigm and focus only on what is going on in our state, but as an industry, we must come together to tell our story. If you ever have the chance to experience something outside of your norm, I highly recommend it!

If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington, D.C.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
Through its policies it brings together people in the agricultural community and invests in building vibrant communities that support agriculture.
Eric Bernstein 's avatar
Eric Bernstein

Wyandot County Farm Bureau

Future employees, leaders
If you have issues with local planning or have legal questions, someone at the Farm Bureau has the answer for you, or they’ll connect you with someone who does.
Gayle Hansen's avatar
Gayle Hansen

Cuyahoga County Farm Bureau

Hansen's Greenhouse
As a member of Farm Bureau, I am glad that this organization takes action when necessary to protect and advance agriculture.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Policy Development
Farm Bureau is an incredible organization that has given me countless professional development opportunities in addition to advocating for all sizes and types of farmers.
Shana Angel's avatar
Shana Angel

Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau

We go to a lot of Farm Bureau events, and there’s a lot of camaraderie built because you’re meeting with people who have similar interests and goals.
Andy Hollenback's avatar
Andy Hollenback

Licking County Farm Bureau

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