After decades of pushing bachelor’s degrees, U.S. needs more tradespeople

August 29, 2017

PBS NewsHour
By Matt Krupnick
The Hechinger Report
@MattKrupnick

FONTANA, Calif. — At a steel factory dwarfed by the adjacent Auto Club Speedway, Fernando Esparza is working toward his next promotion.

Esparza is a 46-year-old mechanic for Evolution Fresh, a subsidiary of Starbucks that makes juices and smoothies. He’s taking a class in industrial computing taught by a community college at a local manufacturing plant in the hope it will bump up his wages.

It’s a pretty safe bet. The skills being taught here are in high demand. That’s in part because so much effort has been put into encouraging high school graduates to go to college for academic degrees rather than for training in industrial and other trades that many fields like his face worker shortages.

Now California is spending $6 million on a campaign to revive the reputation of vocational education, and $200 million to improve the delivery of it.

“It’s a cultural rebuild,” said Randy Emery, a welding instructor at the College of the Sequoias in California’s Central Valley.

Go to full story at PBS NewsHour

Above: Student Kalei Kipp in Cedar Crest High School’s welding program in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, during the 2016-2017 school year. Three percent of welders in the U.S. are women. Photo from PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs series “Outside the Box.”

AgPlus to host Funders Forum in October

News Release

June 15, 2017

FRESNO – The Central Valley AgPlus Food and Beverage Manufacturing Consortium (AgPlus) announced today it will host the 2017 AgPlus Funders Forum in October at the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento County. The two-day event is designed to share innovations in financing tools for business and to determine the feasibility of a regional finance fund to support new and existing food and agriculture businesses and nonprofits in the Central Valley.

Day One of the Forum will be a working session for financing experts, with presentations, in-depth policy discussions and breakout sessions. On Day Two,  a wide array of business/finance advisors and food system partners will provide insights and updates in a trade show environment with exhibition booths, workshops and more.

Event details: AgPlus Funders Forum, Oct 17-18, 2017, McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento. For further information, please contact the following AgPlus team members.

Erik Cherkaski (Fresno) echerkaski@mail.fresnostate.edu, 559-278-4575
Adrian Rehn (Sacramento) adrian.rehn@valleyvision.org, 916-325-1630
Dan Ripke (Chico) dripke@csuchico.edu, 530-898-4598

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In 2016, AgPLUS was awarded an USDA Rural Development California Grant for its AgPLUS Rural Business Resources Assistance Program. The program provides workshops and technical assistance to small and emerging rural businesses throughout the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, and North State regions. 

USDA certifies another investment pool for small and startup rural businesses

Acting Deputy Under Secretary Roger Glendenning has announced that USDA has certified the Innova Ag Innovation Fund IV LP as an investment pool for small and startup rural businesses.

The fund will support 30 to 45 companies that have the potential to generate more than $200 million in economic activity and create 600 jobs. It will provide capital for high-growth companies in the biosciences, technology and agricultural technology industries. The fund is the second USDA has certified under the Rural Business Investment Program (RBIP). RBIP funds support USDA’s strategy for rural economic growth.

Farm Credit System members are contributing $31 million to the Ag Innovation Fund. The Farm Credit System is a nationwide network of banks and lenders specifically chartered to serve agriculture and the U.S. rural economy.

AgPLUS News April 2017

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CALED honors Kelly with ‘Golden Bear’

kelly-trish 2 Trish Kelly, Valley Vision managing director and AgPLUS executive committee member, received top honors from California Association of Local Economic Development with its Golden Bear Lifetime Achievement award.

The presentation was made at CALED’s 37th Annual Conference on March 23, 2017, in San Diego.

We congratulate Trish on this well-deserved honor!

 


Workforce Summit, Food Processing Expo

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Panel discussion at Feb 7 Workforce Summit

Central Valley AgPLUS in partnership with California League of Food Processors and Zenith Insurance kicked off the 2017 Food Processing Expo with the Food Processing Workforce Summit on February 7. The Summit addressed issues surrounding recruiting, training and retaining a strong workforce for food processors; and how human resources managers can keep up with various regulation requirements. More than 70 attended, representing food and beverage manufacturers and public organizations. Trish Kelly represented AgPLUS , moderating the morning session and providing an overview of AgPLUS and its IMCP designation. Summit panel discussions were represented by industry, education and government, and featured keynotes Tim Rainey, executive director of California Workforce Development Board, and Matthew Roberts, dean of Field Operations for Workforce and Economic Development Division, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

Results of a survey by California League of Food Processors were released at the event. The survey covered workforce issues for Central Valley food processors and how these can potentially affect initiatives dedicated to solving the skills gap in the industry. Fourteen companies indicated the positions they have the greatest need to fill include maintenance mechanics (93%), electricians (70%), boilers/process heater operators (55%), automation and controls/mechatronic specialists (44%) and machine operators (33%). Many of the positions listed also were named as ones anticipated as having a significant number of vacancies to fill within the next five years due to retirements and departures. DOWNLOAD SURVEY RESULTS

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AgPLUS was one of 260 exhibitors at 2017 Food Processing Expo in Sacramento

The Food Processing Expo on February 8 and 9 hosted 260 exhibitors including AgPLUS. Thousands from around the world attended the Expo making it the largest food processing trade show in California. Featured exhibits included machinery, equipment, and supplies along with informative sessions and industry-networking opportunities.


AgPLUS business workshops continue throughout Central Valley

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Congressman John Garamendi speaks at Marysville workshop

AgPLUS rural business workshops connect food and beverage manufacturers to business development resources and financing opportunities; and feature presentations from various partners of the AgPLUS network. Workshops began in November 2016 and got off to an early start in 2017.

Valley Vision kicked off their 2017 regional workshops on January 27 in Marysville. This second workshop was for food processors in Yuba, Sutter and surrounding counties. U.S. Congressman John Garamendi joined the meeting and provided remarks for attendees. The next workshop, which took place on March 31 in Placerville, was for food businesses in El Dorado, Placer and surrounding counties.

North Valley leads at Chico State Center for Economic Development got their regional workshops under way on March 20 at the Glen County Farm Bureau in Orland.

OCED is set to co-host a workshop with Fresno State SBDC, Plan Prosperidad of Univision, CAMEO, Fresno CDFI, among others, on April 22 at Reedley High School in Reedley, Calif. Financial planning, expanding to other markets, and export/import strategies are just some of the discussion points.


AMP SoCal brings together IMCP communities

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AgPLUS and other members of the IMCP community attend the AMP SoCal Bi-Annual Meeting

AgPLUS was on hand for fellow IMCP community Amp SoCal and its 2017 Bi-Annual Meeting in Los Angeles on March 9, where we participated with other IMCP communities and EDA officials in discussions about the future of IMCP under the new Presidential Administration.

This meeting engaged small- to medium-sized manufacturers and their supply chain in discussions about the work they do in aerospace, and the goals and impact on workforce they have accomplished since receiving IMCP designation.


CalAsian Chamber hosts 2017 international trade show

International work group member CalAsian Chamber of Commerce is hosting its second trade show of the year,Seoul Food and Hotel 2017, in Seoul, South Korea, from May 14-21. The first was in Shanghai, China, from March 26 through April 2.

CalAsian Chamber of Commerce has been committed to helping food and beverage growers/producers expand and export their products to the Asian market for the past five years. This has been achieved by organizing international trade missions, providing export training support, marketing research and business matching. CalAsian Chamber administers the China Direct and Korea Direct export programs under a cooperative agreement with the International Trade Administration Market Development Cooperator Program under the U.S. Department of Commerce.


2017 Manufacturing Summit

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The 2017 San Joaquin Valley Manufacturing Summit is just around the corner. On Thursday, April 20, more than 800 will be at the Fresno Convention & Visitors Bureau along with 90 vendors, 24 workshops, and keynotes by John Hofmeister, former Shell Oil Company President, and Katherine A. DeRosea , Dream It. Do It. Virginia, and Headed2, LLC.

For more Summit information, visit the official event page: http://sjvma.org/event/thriving-in-the-valley-2017-manufacturing-summit/.


Stay up-to-date

We have a lot of exciting new projects in the pipeline so be on the lookout for news on future developments, and stay up-to-date on info and upcoming events. Visit www.cvagplus.org.

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THE OFFICE OF COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AT FRESNO STATE IS A CO-LEADER OF THE CENTRAL VALLEY AGPLUS FOOD AND BEVERAGE MANUFACTURING CONSORTIUM (AGPLUS) EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE, PROVIDING OPERATIONAL SUPPORT FOR AGPLUS.

CONTACT US | PHONE 559-278-0721 | WWW.CVAGPLUS.ORG


California passes nation’s toughest methane emission regulations

The San Francisco Chronicle
By Dominic Fracassa
dfracassa@sfchronicle.com

California air quality officials have approved what are widely considered to be the most rigorous and comprehensive regulations in the country for controlling methane emissions, a move that helps cement the state’s status as a standard-bearer for environmental protection.

The new rules, green-lighted Thursday by the state’s Air Resources Board, seek to curb methane emissions at oil and gas production plants by up to 45 percent over the next nine years. The cuts will come from a combination of heightened efficiency requirements, inspection mandates and rules meant to ensure that leaks are discovered and fixed swiftly. The regulations apply to both onshore and offshore oil and gas centers.

The standards, which experts said mark the first major piece of environmental regulation passed by any state since the turnover of power in Washington, were hailed as a triumph by environmental activists, but criticized as cumbersome, costly and ultimately unnecessary by oil and gas producers.

“Our industry is not the top emitter of methane in the state, yet this rule will add to the nation’s toughest regulations that our operators must follow, such as cap and trade,” Rock Zierman, the chief executive officer of industry trade group the California Independent Petroleum Association, said in a statement. “We hope that regulators will provide ample time for implementation and ensure that the program is fairly and consistently enforced across the state.”

Above: Crews work on a relief well at the Aliso Canyon plant in Los Angeles in 2014. Dean Musgrove, Associated Press.

Chronicle staff writer David R. Baker contributed to this report.

Go to full story at The San Francisco Chronicle

Tiny worms tackle manure from dairy farm near Hilmar

The Modesto Bee
By John Holland
jholland@modbee.com

HILMAR- Two years into an experiment in dairy manure handling, the worms are proving their worth.

A $483,950 federal grant helped pay for a system where these creatures break down most of the nitrogen in water used to flush out dairy stalls. The partners aim to reduce the risk of water and air pollution.

As a bonus, the worms leave their own manure, known as castings, a pleasant-smelling fertilizer that can be sold to home gardeners and farmers.

“Worms are eating and they’re pooping and they’re producing worm castings, which is a highly beneficial soil amendment,” said Mai Ann Healy, regional manager for Biofiltro, the Chilean company that created the system.

The federal Natural Resources Conservation Service provided the grant for the project, taking place at Fanelli Dairy. An equal amount came from partners that include the dairy and Sustainable Conservation, a group based in San Francisco that helps businesses protect the planet.

The Modesto Bee on Tuesday paid its second visit since 2015 to the project, off Washington Road about 2 miles west of Hilmar. The worms do their work in a concrete box 160 feet long and 35 feet wide, and filled 3.5 feet deep with wood shavings. The wastewater is sprayed onto the top, and the worms wriggle through the shavings as they carry out the process over four hours.

Milk is the top-grossing farm product in the Northern San Joaquin Valley and statewide, but farmers also have to contend with the manure left behind. The standard practice is to irrigate feed crops at a rate that assures the nitrogen is taken up by the plants, rather than reaching streams or aquifers. This is done under permits from the state, which could someday require more cropland to dilute the contaminants.

Fanelli Dairy has 104 acres growing feed for its 750 cows, which produce milk for Hilmar Cheese Co. Co-owner Vic Fanelli said additional land would be too expensive, so he was happy to give the worms a try.

“This pretty much takes the place of 50 acres,” he said. “If it helps us and helps the industry, we’re all for it.”

The worm system has removed 75 percent to 98 percent of the nitrogen per day, said Joseph Choperena, a senior project manager at Sustainable Conservation. The range is so wide because the makeup of manure can change daily, he said.

The process also releases a nonpolluting form of nitrogen into the atmosphere while cutting down on nitrates, the form that can cause pollution.

Above: Mai Ann Healy, left, regional manager for Biofiltro, and Marsha Campbell, a farm advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension in Stanislaus County, take a tour of Fanelli Dairy near Hilmar on Tuesday, checking out a pile of worm castings, which can be used as fertilizer. John Holland jholland@modbee.com 209-578-2385

Go to full story at The Modesto Bee

‘Fast pitch’ for Getting Water Tech Flowing for Ag before Mar 16

A Western Growers “deeper dive” on AgTech Innovation, in partnership with the City of Fresno, Fresno County Farm Bureau, Fresno State Center for Irrigation Technology, Fresno Food Expo, Fresno County Chamber of Commerce, AT&T, and Forbes.

If your venture can provide a novel impact on water technology in the agriculture sector, check this out. Up to eight ventures will be selected on a first-come, first-serve basis to present at 4 PM, March 27 at the Fresno Convention Center.

Presenters will have the opportunity to give a “fast pitch” of up to four minutes and will get real-time feedback from growers. If you’re interested, email Helle Petersen at bluetechvalley@csufresno.edu before Mar. 16.

Panelists scheduled to attend the “Getting Water Tech Flowing for Agriculture” event include:

A.G. Kawamura, former California Secretary of Agriculture
Mayor Lee Brand, Mayor of Fresno
Stuart Woolf, Woolf Farming
Don Cameron, Terranova Farms
Steve Patricio, Westside Produce
Cannon Michael, Bowles Farms
Kevin France, SWIIM
Manu Pillai, Waterbit
Rich Bernier, Simplot
Jedd Forbes, WIldeye
John Jefferson, AT&T
Aaron Magenheim, AgTech Industries
Paul Noglows, Forbes
David Zoldoske, Center for Irrigation Technology & California Water Institute at CSU Fresno
Ryan Jacobson, Fresno County Farm Bureau
Hank Giclas, Western Growers Association

Again, to be considered to pitch at the “Getting Water Tech Flowing for Agriculture,” email Helle Petersen at bluetechvalley@csufresno.edu before Mar. 16.

AgPLUS, partners kick off 2017 Food Processing Expo at Workforce Summit

News Release

February 13, 2017

SACRAMENTO – Central Valley AgPLUS in partnership with California League of Food Processors and Zenith Insurance kicked off the 2017 Food Processing Expo with the Food Processing Workforce Summit on February 7. More than 70 participants attended the event, which addressed the many challenges for Central Valley food processors, including recruiting, training and retaining a strong workforce as well as how human resource managers can keep up with various regulation requirements. Trish Kelly, representing AgPLUS, moderated the morning session which featured an overview of the AgPlus Consortium and the IMCP designation.

Summit panel discussions were represented by industry, education and government, and featured keynote speakers Tim Rainey, executive director of California Workforce Board, and Matthew Roberts, dean of Field Operations for Workforce and Economic Development Division, California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.

Results of a survey by California League of Food Processors were released at the event. The survey covered workforce issues for Central Valley food processors and how these can potentially affect initiatives dedicated to solving the skills gap in the industry. Fourteen companies indicated the positions they have the greatest need to fill include maintenance mechanics (93%), electricians (70%), boilers/process heater operators (55%), automation and controls/mechatronic specialists (44%) and machine operators (33%). Many of the positions listed also were named as ones anticipated as having a significant number of vacancies to fill within the next five years due to retirements and departures. Download survey results

AgPLUS was one of 260 exhibitors at the Food Processing Expo on February 8 and 9. Thousands from around the world attended the Food Processing Expo making it the largest food processing tradeshow in California. Featured exhibits included machinery,equipment, supplies and other services, as well as informative sessions and industry-networking opportunities.

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Download News Release

Ag students spend day on possible future jobs

The Modesto Bee
By John Holland
jholland@modbee.com

One student sat in the driver’s seat of a nut harvester being assembled at Flory Industries in Salida. Another saw how Hilmar Cheese Co. ensures that its products are safe to eat. Still another learned how Duarte Nursery in Hughson produces young fruit and nut trees for farmers.

Thursday provided a chance for job shadowing through Doing What Matters, a state program based in part at Modesto Junior College. Some of the students were videotaped as part of the effort to spread the idea among high schools.

“Job shadowing is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of what a future career can look like,” said Andrew Skidmore of Atwater, who spent the day at Flory and is state president of the National FFA Organization.

Above: Andrew Skidmore, state president for Future Farmers of America, examines a nut harvesting machine at Flory Industries in Salida, Calif., on Thursday, Feb 2, 2017. He was one of several agriculture students taking part in a job-shadowing day in Salida and a few other locations. John Holland – jholland@modbee.com

Go to full story at The Modesto Bee

AgPLUS hosts small business workshop

News Release

January 31, 2017

MARYSVILLE, Calif. – AgPLUS continued its Small Business Workshops on Friday, January 27, in Marysville, Calif. Valley Vision , AgPLUS Sacramento Region lead, hosted the workshop geared toward food and agriculture businesses with under 50 employees in Yuba and Sutter counties.

The forum provided the opportunity for 49 growers, ranchers, processors, distributors, and others in the supply chain, to connect with resource providers. Welcoming remarks were provided by Congressman John Garamendi.

“As part of a nationally recognized agriculture manufacturing region that generates 68% of California’s overall on-farm agricultural value, the AgPlus Consortium is vital to the future of the 3rd District,” Congressman Garamendi said. “By connecting farmers and small business owners with the necessary business development resources through their Rural Small Business Workshops, AgPlus is helping our communities create more good-paying jobs to Make It In America. I look forward to carrying on our work in growing California’s agricultural manufacturing sector.”

Presentations on resources available to food and beverage manufacturers were provided by representatives from the USDA Rural Development of California, Small Business Administration (SBA), University of California Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR), Solano Small Business Development Center, First Northern Bank and Sacramento Area Council of Governments. The event ended with a group discussion on priority needs for the area.

In 2016, AgPLUS was awarded an USDA Rural Development California Grant for its AgPLUS Rural Business Resources Assistance Program. The program provides workshops and technical assistance to small and emerging rural businesses throughout the Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, and North State regions. Additional workshops are planned into 2017.

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