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!

I'm eternally grateful for the support Ohio Farm Bureau scholarships provided in helping me turn my dreams into reality.
Bethany Starlin's avatar
Bethany Starlin

Hocking County Farm Bureau

Available scholarships
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Business Solutions
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
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.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

Advocacy
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