__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

agcircle |

cal poly, san luis obispo spring 2019

LEGENDARY LOGGERS

Cal Poly’s Logging Team Making History

LEARN BY TASTING

Advancing Food Science Through Learn by Doing

MOVING TOGETHER

The Impact of Grazing Methods and Holistic Management


agcircle Volume 37, Issue 2, Spring 2019

CONTRIBUTORS

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Chloé Fowler GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Felipe Vallejo Celeste Roberts BROCK CENTER FOR AGRICULTURAL COMMUNICATION DIRECTOR

BREANNA BARKER

HALEY OLSON

ELISABETH BRADLEY

TAYLOR CHALSTROM

MEGAN FARLEY

JACQUELINE AENLLE

DALTON NICHOLS

KALEB ROBERSON

BETH NOEL

KAYLEE KESSLER

page 6

page 8

Karen Cannon, Ph.D. AGCIRCLE ADVISOR Megan Silcott ASSOCIATE EDITORS Quincie Gourley Bekah Reed Celeste Roberts Felipe Vallejo WRITERS Jacqueline Aenlle, Breanna Barker, Elisabeth Bradley, Haley BoyajianTaylor Chalstrom, Megan Farley, Kaylee Kessler, Dalton Nichols, Beth Noel, Hayley Olson, Kira Olson, Kaleb Roberson, Laila Rollin, Camille Silvera

page 10

page 12

PHOTOGRAPHERS Tucker Banta, Breanna Barker, Emma Blair, Madyline Braught, Arleah Fields, Maureen La Grande, Quincie Gourley, Braden Loveday, Madison Martella, Haley Olson, Celeste Roberts, Madison Somerday, Madalyn Souza, Felipe Vallejo, Tyler Wilkerson COPY EDITORS Ariana Afshar, Brooke Cashin, Charlotte Ross, Cydney Melton, Dominique Morales, Dylan Kreisman, Erin Gabel, Hannah Benson, Jake Davis, Jeremy Schmidt, Jessica Gillis, Katie Hardisty, Kelsey Prins, Ken Allard, Megan LaChance, Natalie Young, Natalie Weis, Naythan Bryant, Sabrina Pascua, Shanti Herzog, Sean Galu

page 14

page 22

PERMISSION TO REPRODUCE All material in this issue may be reproduced with the expressed written permission of the Brock Center for Agricultural Communication. The content of agcircle is generated by students, and does not reflect the opinions of California Polytechnic State University, its administration or faculty. Printed by Poor Richard’s Press Companies.

page 24

page 26

Published by the Brock Center for Agricultural Communication CALIFORNIA POLYTECHNIC STATE UNIVERSITY Brock Center for Agricultural Communication 1 Grand Avenue, Building 10, Room 234 San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 #agcirclemagazine @brockcenter

page 29

2 | Spring 2019

page 32


LETTER FROM THE STAFF Welcome to the Spring 2019 edition of the AgCircle magazine! The Brock Center for Agricultural Communication staff worked hard to produce this last issue from this year’s team. In this issue we cover topics ranging from different scientific developments made on campus, to the difference between both milk and milk substitutes and meat and meat substitutes. We also cover the science behind rangeland management practices and the market research put into the influence consumers have across the products in the grocery aisle. The AgCircle team focused on creating a magazine that was modern, with images that truly captured the story it was about. Happy Reading!

ON THE COVER

Congratulations Sara! Sara Theodozio is a Cal Poly agricultural business junior from Atwater, California. She is the winner of agcircle 2019 annual photo contest! Her photo is featured on the cover of this issue of agcircle. Theodozio was headed to the Central Valley when she noticed beautiful vineyards, bursting with fall colors, along Highway 46 in Paso Robles. She pulled over onto a side road and began snapping photos of what she saw. The result is the image to the right. Theodozio started learning about photography her freshman year of college. She is looking forward to incorporating photography into her future career. You can view more of Sara’s photography at her website, saratheodoziophotography.com.

agcircle

|3


CONTENTS 06

08

4 | Spring 2019

26

6 8 10 12 14 16 22 24 26 29 32

THE FUTURE OF EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN A Look into the PLANT Foundation

LEGENDARY LOGGERS

Cal Poly’s Logging Team Making History

TOLERATING GLUTEN INTOLERANCE Analyzing the Fad vs. Facts of Gluten

PRESERVING OUR PRODUCE

Research Leads to Industry Advancement

PLANT-BASED MEAT

A Cattlemen’s Perspective

PHOTO CONTEST

Brock Center’s Annual Photo Contest

FROM THE GROUND UP

A Glance at Alternative Agricultural Practices

LEARN BY TASTING

Advancing Food Science Through Learn by Doing

CONSUMER INPUT & PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE Insights About the Power of Consumer Choice

DAIRY PRODUCTS SUBSTITUTES

New Products Challenge Beverage Labeling

MOVING TOGETHER

The Impact of Grazing Methods and Holistic Management

10


14

22

12

24

32

29 agcircle

|5


THE FUTURE OF EDUCATING OUR CHILDREN

Photo by Celeste Roberts

A LOOK INTO THE PLANT FOUNDATION

Story by Breanna Barker & Photos provided by the PLANT Foundation

M

any people have helped produce two 50-minute the video program. Now in its dedicated their educational videos about the tenth year, the PLANT Foundation lives to decreasing cotton and dairy industry. At that fosters steep goals. In the next five the knowledge time, video conference technology years, the PLANT Foundation gap between the everyday was relatively cutting edge for strives to have a complete library consumer and those involved with classrooms. But with technology of curriculum for second through agriculture. Organizations like the moving to one-to-one devices such eighth grades with plans to reach PLANT Foundation are critical in as tablets and laptops, the PLANT five billion kids a year using accomplishing this goal. Foundation also adapted and the program. Elizabeth Giannini, the now uses live streaming software. “This program makes a big executive director of PLANT Meaning the content available can difference for the kids who take Foundation, said, “The PLANT be accessible to anyone at any time it, giving them an experience of Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit on any device. something real in a world that is organization whose goal is to Gianini said, “However kids now mostly digital,” said Dino produce science curriculum like to learn, however kids are Giacomazzi, chairman of the board through farming and agricultural best communicated to, that’s the and founding member. “We believe examples for students across the direction [PLANT Foundation] will that this experience will help kids United States and other parts of be going.” have a better understanding of the world.” what farmers do and will The PLANT lead them to making more “This program makes a big difference informed decisions about Foundation was for the kids who take it, giving them an how their food founded to logistically and financially support experience of something real in a world is produced.” Farm Acadamy TV, an In recent years, the that is now mostly digital.” online program that Next Generation Science Dino Giacomazzi reaches children both Standards (NGSS) were nationally and globally. passed in California. Through Farm Academy, teachers By 2013 Farm Academy’s reach These standards use the concept of have access to video content that was national and global, resulting Science, Technology, Engineering teaches science through the lens in the PLANT Foundation being and Math (STEM) to create a soof agriculture. developed. With greater reach and called common core of science. Farm Academy started in organizational structure, Farm The standards list out what science 2009 as a program through Academy awareness and financial aspects will be taught and in Kings County Farm Bureau. The backing blossomed. Tree, nut, what grade. Unfortunately, due program was made possible citrus, grapes and berry industries to the recency of these standards, through donations and support have all begun to support and textbooks have not been created in the local industry. The support produce curriculum to diversify to follow, which results in teachers 6 | Spring 2019


having to create entire lesson plans from scratch. At this point, the PLANT Foundation steps in. “Our programs are not just for teachers that want to share agriculture with their kids. Our programs are for teachers that want a very easy and free way to satisfy their mandated requirement to teach this science curriculum in their classroom, ” Giacommazzi said. Teachers are able to utilize these videos as additions to their class material while taking stress away from lesson planning and course mapping themselves. A subscription service in which teachers can enroll their students, assign videos to watch, assign tests, track student progress and grade students is currently being produced. Yet Farm Academy will always be available to teachers for free. Giacomazzi said “All of the content – videos and activities – will be free. Always.” “We like to solve problems for teachers,” Giannini said. Whether this is solving the problems created by NGSS, problems of incorporating technology into the classroom or even helping teachers to learn the technology, PLANT Foundation offers solutions to everyday curriculum woes. Science has proven what parents, preschool teachers or anyone who has spent time with children, have known all along – no child learns in the same way. Therefore, the more ways children have access to educational information, the more opportunity they have to learn. Giannini said, “There are a lot of wonderful agriculture programs that have been reaching students for decades. We want to be a place where those programs can be highlighted and promoted to teachers.”

She added teachers can simply instruct their students to watch a video for homework, knowing the video has already been screened and curated for them. They know the videos will be relevant, reliable and free of negative comments that can often be found on agricultural videos from other sites. This means the information is guaranteed to be credible and there will be no problem with controversial comments or links to information that may not be appropriate for all age groups. “This hits so many standards that we teach in third grade in social studies and science,” Ronnie Farrell said. Farrell teaches third grade in Bell’s Crossing, South Carolina. He added “I try to do these same things through the AIMS materials and had success. But it was so much more interesting to talk to the people who work with the cotton each and every day. It was great.” Farm Academy videos were designed to enable further conversations and activities beyond their viewing time. In class, teachers can go over the videos and conduct hands-on experiments to further educate the kids while letting them have some fun. Giannini said, “Even though the majority of our curriculum is digital-based, the information is always presented in a way that encourages those to go out and have a hands-on experience.” As proud Cal Poly alumni, both Giannini and Giacomazzi agreed they continue to live out the university motto, Learn by Doing. Giannini said, “It was our Learn by Doing experience at Cal Poly that the PLANT Foundation has embodied and is now trying to share with the rest of the world.”

agcircle

|7


Photo by Quincie Gourley

LEGENDARY LOGGERS

CAL POLY’S LOGGING TEAM MAKING HISTORY Story by Haley Olson

T

ucked away on Cal Poly’s campus is the Logging Unit where students from all majors and backgrounds can gather to practice traditional logging sports. Today’s Logging Team has a rich history that began as a course in 1986. In 1986-87, a course titled FOR-290 Intercollegiate Forestry Activities was offered with enrollment “limited to those qualified to compete in intercollegiate forestry activities,” according to Jessica Carson, administrative analyst for Academic Programs and Planning. The course title changed to FNR-290 in 1999 and is now known as NR-290 in Cal Poly’s course catalog. Currently, members are no longer required to take this course, and any major can enjoy being a 8 | Spring 2019

part of the Logging Team. The team travels to a variety of competitions and holds several championship titles. To compete to win, the team prepares by practicing every Friday from 2 p.m. until sunset to hone their skills and bond as a team. Every team member has the ability to participate in any event they choose. Some of the events include chopping, sawing, axe throwing, pole climbing, obstacle pole and birling. These events are physically demanding, but there are some options for those who prefer to challenge their mind including wood identification and dendrology. The team competed at the 2018 Cal Conclave Logging Competition alongside teams from Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and California. Building skills and garnering awards at smaller competitions

leads the team its toughest event, the Association of Western Forestry Clubs Logging Conclave. This competition was sponsored by Stihl, a power equipment company, and hosted more than 150 competitors. The competitors traveled from west coast colleges in Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and beyond. Cal Poly hosted the competition in 2017 and ESPN broadcasted the event where Will Kraemer, senior bioresource and agricultural engineering major, won “Bull of the Woods” for the top male athletes. “Winning Bull of the Woods at Cal Conclave was extremely rewarding; especially after all the time I put into training and the teams hard work to put on the competition,” Kraemer said. The team currently has an eightperson officer team, and 40 to 70


members throughout the year, depending on the quarter and student schedules. Erin Sheridan, a junior fruit and crop science major at Cal Poly, participated on the team for the past three years. She is currently the secretary for the Cal Poly Logging Team and works on social media, emails and sponsor outreach. Sheridan said her goal for the team this year is to advertise how beneficial it is to be

“We took out all the old wood from obstacles and axe throw targets and cleaned it up and replaced them. We fell trees to make a new obstacle course. It is a crazy amount of work that has been going on this quarter, but it is awesome,” Sheridan said. While on the Logging Team, Sheridan participated in a variety of events, but said her favorite event is chopping. She also

“Winning Bull of the Woods at Cal Conclave was extremely rewarding; especially after all the time I put into training and the team’s hard work to put on the competition.” Will Kraemer

a part of the Logging Team because of the technical skills members develop and the bond formed with the team. Sheridan expressed thanks for her team and explained, “These people are my brothers and sisters. It is so cool to spend time with others that have a lot of the same interests as you and have your back.” She added, “It’s not just about logging. It’s about being a part of a community.” Sheridan led her team throughout fall quarter in a project to make improvements at the competition unit in Cal Poly’s Swanton Pacific Ranch. Members worked hard to reconstruct the unit where they host different competitions.

particpated in axe throwing, choker races, and sawing double buck – or Jack and Jill. The Jack and Jill event involves a male and a female, working together to saw an elevated log with a crosscut saw. Sheridan said she is currently working towards going into sawing single buck where she would saw by herself. As a group, team members learn the practical skills of using different tools and the safety behind it. Members learn time management skills, how to be a leader, and how to cooperate with

a team. If they are majoring in forestry, the team enables members to gain skills in the practical areas of the field. But students from all colleges including Engineering, Liberal Arts, and Science and Math can find a place to belong at the Logging Unit, according to Sheridan. She said the officer team hopes to get the word out there that “there is truly a spot for everyone on the team and we hope to grow this great community of people.” Cal Poly students can contact Professor Samantha Gill in the Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department for more information to get involved with the team.

Photo by Haley Olson

agcircle

Photo by Haley Olson

|9


TOLERATING GLUTEN INTOLERANCE ANALYZING THE FAD VS. FACTS OF GLUTEN Story and Photos by Elisabeth Bradley

W

hat if your favorite snacks include pretzels, cookies, or crackers? The caveat is munching on these satisfying, glutenfilled snacks spurs a battle in your gastrointestinal tract and frequently interrupts the lives of those living with an intolerance to gluten. While many people assume a 10 | Spring 2019

gluten-free diet refers to some form of a health trend, the purpose of a gluten-free diet is to nourish those unable to digest gluten. Natalie Byrd, a freshman chemistry major at Cal Poly, expressed her own perception of gluten-free diets as an individual incapable of eating gluten. Byrd said, “I feel like people will decide to go gluten-free for health benefits. They feel like maybe

eating a lot of gluten will make them feel not as good or sluggish.” But according to the Mayo Clinic when individuals with conditions such as celiac disease or nonceliac gluten sensitivity consume common grains such as wheat, rye and barley, the gluten protein within those foods cause painful gastrointestinal symptoms. Throughout grocery store aisles, the phrase “gluten-free”


repeatedly appears on product Beckham adopt and praise the painful symptoms. packaging; some grocery stores gluten-free diet for reasons other Zelda Zivny, a freshman even feature a designated glutenthan a medical condition; in turn, environmental management and free shelf. As gluten-free products these endorsements spur the protection major at Cal Poly, begin to dominate store shelving, it needless public to follow suit. discovered her gluten intolerance can lead consumers to question the at the end of her senior year of health benefits of high school. this movement. “People perceive gluten intolerance as a trend… “People According perceive gluten because that’s how it’s most talked about.” to an article intolerance Zelda Zivny published by as a trend… Harvard Health because that’s Publishing, individuals capable of In the absence of a medical how it’s most talked about,” processing gluten experience little condition requiring a glutenZivny said. While expressing her to no improvement in health when free diet, 8% of the population difficulties adjusting to the glutenadhering to a gluten-free diet. This voluntarily follows this strict free lifestyle she said, “I think that can lead them to assume the food’s regimen, while 1% requires and having gluten intolerance makes nonexistent benefits while at follows the diet, according to The people judge me at moments. A the market. Guardian. The Mayo Clinic also lot of the time I feel that I have Many people associate reported the lack of knowledge to explain myself.” Zivny added, following a gluten-free diet with and celebrity claims “Gluten intolerance makes me feel weight-loss, among other alleged regarding gluten-free diets like I’m being an inconvenience to health benefits. According to the helps to perpetuate public the people around me.” European Journal of Pediatrics, misunderstanding. Currently, the only aid for gluten-free individuals reward Certain individuals’ bodies those suffering from celiac disease themselves with an inundation require them to live out a glutenremains the gluten-free regimen. of gluten-free treats to fill their free lifestyle, or painful symptoms Regarding a future cure for gluten-deprived void. These habits arise. Of these individuals, celiac disease, the Celiac Disease of overeating may potentially those with celiac disease must Foundation website states the lead to weight gain. Additionally, adhere to the strictest of gluten greatest obstacle in getting a Harvard Health Publishing reports free regimens. As explained by celiac drug to market is recruiting gluten-free food simply serves as a the Celiac Disease Foundation enough patients to participate in substitute—contributing the same, (CDF), the consumption of gluten clinical trials. or even more calories. harms their gastrointestinal tract, Rachael Worstman, a freshman specifically the small intestine. architecture major at Cal Poly said, The CDF reported that while “I think that if you’re going to do some people test negative for something just to follow a fad… celiac disease, the non-celiac gluten What’s the use? If it’s not going to sensitive patients experience benefit your health, symptoms similar to those of celiac its unnecessary.” disease, which The media, self-identified resolve when nutritionists and health coaches gluten is removed have touted gluten-free products from the diet. which contributed to the rising Although non-celiac rate of individuals without celiac gluten sensitive disease adhering to a glutenindividuals escape free diet. In fact, the Mayo Clinic the extremely reported that between 2009 and serious result of 2014, the percent of the population ingesting gluten without celiac disease following a with celiac disease gluten-free diet grew from 0.5 to — a damaged small 1.7%. Celebrities such as Gwyneth intestine — they can Paltrow, Miley Cyrus and Victoria experience acute, agcircle

| 11


PRESERVING OUR PRODUCE

RESEARCH LEADS TO INDUSTRY ADVANCEMENT

I

Story by Taylor Chalstrom & Photos by Felipe Vallejo

ndustry standards are Brown is a professor of industry standard, we could make widely accepted as the postharvest physiology and Green a good amount of money,” Brown best way things can be a laboratory technician and former said. “The challenge was to find done. But advancements Cal Poly student. Together, they a formula that could surpass the in agriculture don’t come from developed and are patenting a new previous standard of 17 days of settling for industry standards. It chemical preservative for cut fruit anti-browning control [in fruit].” takes challenging the standards anti-browning technology. After Brown and Green worked to to create something better. In the taking years of formulations, this tackle what the standard postharvest industry specifically, preservative shows incredible anti-browning agents were innovation is in great demand signs of success in the laboratory. made of. Then they began testing and most fresh other similar foods need to food-grade “The challenge was to find a formula that could be protected to chemicals until enable packaging, something surpass the previous standard of 17 days of shipping and worked better. anti-browning control [in fruit].” stocking before “We went Wyatt Brown, Ph.D being consumed. back to the Professor Wyatt basics for Brown and technician Jim Green “It started about 10 years ago preservatives with lemon juice have spent the better part of the when we were trying to control the since many people use it as a last decade researching a new type browning of artichokes. We were natural preservative.” The pair of cut fruit preservative that will speaking to a consultant and he quickly found certain chemicals change the future standard for said that if we could come up with within lemon juice had little to years to come. something that was better than the do with the actual anti-browning. 12 | Spring 2019


Green said “The citric acid had nothing to do with it; it was more the ascorbate, or vitamin C.” They determined calcium combined with ascorbic acid, which is calcium ascorbate, creates a chemical that is neutral and does not eat away at the fruit. Green said, “From this, it was determined that working with calcium-based salts was going to be the key to finding new chemical combinations for the preservative.” Using this discovery Brown and Green began moving forward to discover an even better food-grade, anti-browning agent. They began using and combining more calcium salts in their tests including calcium ascorbate, calcium propionate and calcium chloride. “Calcium propionate is serving as the anti-microbial component, calcium ascorbate is the antibrowning component, and calcium chloride is the synergist which increases the efficacy of the other chemicals,” Brown said. Reaching their goal came with many complications including low solubility of certain compounds and banned chemicals. “We experienced some problems where chemicals did not dissolve easily in water, which is important,” said Brown. “Another issue we found was when a chemical worked perfectly, we later find out that we couldn’t use it at all. This occurred with oxalic acid, which plants and human bodies produce. Unfortunately, it is poisonous at high levels and is not allowed as an additive to foods.” Another critical component in developing food additives and products is the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in this process. “We chose chemicals that are generally regarded as safe (GRAS) by the FDA, which we felt was very important since we didn’t want any concerns of toxicity. However, the

FDA had not yet approved one of the chemicals, calcium propionate, for use on cut products.” The goal of this preservative was to use it specifically with cut products and fruit. Thus, it was pertinent to consider in Brown’s and Green’s development that calcium propionate be approved by the FDA. “One of the companies that is interested in our product paid for the testing that is necessary to have calcium propionate approved by the FDA for use on pre-cut fruits and vegetables,” said Brown. “The FDA has approved it. Now, we’re one step closer to being able to use the formula safely on cut products.” The current product is now patented and according to Brown and Green, outperforming the industry standard. When applied as a dip to the outside of cut fruits, the product can maintain the fruit’s edibility up to 28 days. The researchers noted their product preserves foods about 65% better than the industry standard of 17 days. “At this point, we have people in the citrus and apple industry that have shown interest in the product,” said Green. “I also think that we should push it towards the dried fruit market since it works very well for dried fruits.” Testing more than 400 different chemical combinations, Brown and Green worked diligently to come up with their industrychanging formula. The approved product will eventually create a new standard to follow for cut fruit preservatives, and their years of research will be an improvement to the future of the fruit and produce industry.

agcircle

| 13


PLANT-BASED MEAT A CATTLEMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

Story by Megan Farley & Photos by Felipe Vallejo

I

debate involves meat and its growing Trade Show, how some labels are magine rushing to the grocery store to shop for dinner, substitutes. With the development intentionally misleading and nonof plant-based and lab-grown meat compliant to current regulations. grabbing the ingredients the alternatives comes the issue of accurate Feedback gathered by NCBA about recipe calls for and checking meat labeling. Beck’s presentation indicate many beef out. At home, cooking begins and Companies producing alternative cattle producers feel something must suddenly the realization hits that the products have begun using the word be done to prevent the misleading use ground beef in the grocery haul is not “meat” on their product labels. of beef labeling. an animal product but rather a cellDanielle Beck is the director of The Missouri Cattlemen’s cultured, meat alternative. Confusion Association quickly sets in (MCA) has because the label on “We have achieved a great deal when it comes to been working this product clearly the protection of beef producers and their products, to advocate reads “meat” for Missouri but it isn’t. but the work is not finished.” farm and For years those in Greg Buckman ranch families animal agriculture on the meat have battled government affairs for the National labeling debate since fall of 2017. MCA imitation products as a competitor Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). created legislation protecting against threating their market share, as well She presented at the 2019 Cattle misuse of the word ‘meat’. To ensure as the livestock producers’ way of life. labeling laws are fair and accurate, staff The newest animal agriculture labeling Industry Convention & NCBA 14 | Spring 2019


is working closely with agricultural interest groups, legislators and Governor Mark Parson, a cattlemen and MCA member himself. The first of its kind, Missouri Senate Bill 627 passed during the 2018 legislative session. The bill ensures plant-based or lab-grown meat alternatives must be labeled as such. “This legislation didn’t change the definition of meat,” said Mike Deering, MCA executive vice president. “All we ask for is marketing with integrity.” Although the bill has passed, the debate has not stopped. “We have achieved a great deal when it comes to the protection of beef producers and their products, but the work is not finished,” said Greg Buckman, MCA past president. Tofurky and The Good Food Institute are meat substitute companies. They filed a lawsuit in July, 2018, against the state of Missouri regarding the new labeling law. Tofurky states in its lawsuit the new law infringes on its first amendment rights, claiming the labeling law is intended to stifle growing competition from plant-based and lab-grown substitutes. The lawsuit states, “The criminal sanctions in the Statute seek to prevent plant-based and clean meat producers, including Tofurky, from accurately informing consumers what

their products are: foods designed to fulfill the roles conventional meat has traditionally played in a meal.” The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association disagrees. “You can’t sell a Subaru as a Corvette. You shouldn’t be able to sell a product manufactured in a laboratory as something grown by farm and ranch families,” Deering said. Following Missouri’s lead, NCBA began lobbying for a similar law to be nationally enforced. Past President Kevin Kester and NCBA legislative staff members spent time in Washington D.C. advocating for better regulations regarding meat and meat alternative labeling. Part of their efforts include pushing for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) enforcement of labeling regulations. They attest proper enforcement is essential to effectiveness of new labeling guidelines. Previously, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was the sole regulatory body for meat labeling. According to MCA and NCBA, the FDA has a history of lax enforcement and, therefore, is not the choice of cattle producers to enforce these regulations. In April of 2018 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released a statement agreeing USDA should have jurisdiction over lab-grown products. In July of 2018, NCBA issued a letter to President Trump urging

him to ensure the USDA acts as the primary regulatory agency for labgrown meat products. “By supporting USDA oversight of lab-grown fake meat, the President will protect American consumers and ensure that America’s farmers and ranchers are not disadvantaged in the marketplace,” Kester said. Since then, the USDA and FDA have come to an agreement regarding budding cell-cultured meat alternatives. The USDA will now oversee day-to-day lab-grown meat substitute production as well as labeling, while the FDA will oversee the collection of cells, cell harvesting, and cell banks. “Ultimately, where USDA still has the production and the labeling, I think we can count this as a win,” Beck said. Investigations are ongoing about the risk of lab-grown meat alternatives to properly understand various labeling terms for the future. “Having a government-based study that is not biased will provide a degree of clarity moving forward,” Beck said. The USDA and FDA are still working on a memorandum of understanding and work will proceed at state and national levels to ensure proper labeling and enforcement thereof.

Pictured: Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Governor Mike Parson, MCA Executive Vice President Mike Deering and MCA Past Presdident Greg Buckman.

Provided by Missouri Cattlemen’s Association

agcircle

| 15


agcircle

2019 PHOTO CONTEST The 2019 Brock Center photo contest was open to the public, all majors, backgrounds and expertise levels. The winning photo was taken by agricultural business junior Sara Theodozio (cover photo). Cash prizes were awarded to first place (Theodozio), second place (Madison Martella) and a tie for third place (Madalyn Souza and Braden Loveday). Pictures shown are the winning entries along with honorable mentions.

Sara Theodozio Cover Winner

Madison Martella Second Place

Arleah Fields 16 | Spring 2019


Haley Olson

Tyler Wilkerson

Madalyn Souza Third Place

Braden Loveday Third Place

Katelyn Pederson agcircle

| 17


Madison Somerday

Breanna Barker

Madyline Braught Cal Poly Alumni

Tucker Banta 18 | Spring 2019


Emma Blair

Maureen La Grande High School Participant

agcircle

| 19


Camille Silvera

Laila Rollin

Kira Olson

Haley Boyajian 20 | Spring 2019

Madyline Braught Cal Poly Alumni


G E T I N VO LV E D Write for the Brock Center blog

Blog submissions must be agriculturally related, at least 300 words in length and include 3-5 photos. Email brockctr@calpoly.edu to express interest.

Be published in agcircle

Interested in being published in an award-winning student publication? Email the Brock Center to learn more about writing a story for the next issue.

O U R S E RV I C E S We offer free, professional headshots

Email to schedule a headshot appointment or drop by Cal Poly Bldg. 10, Rm. 234 during office hours. Visit www.brockcenter.calpoly.edu for more information.

Digital Media Services

Brock Center Associates are skilled in digital media services such as graphic design, videography, photography, marketing and more. Email us at brockctr@calpoly.edu with your project information.

brockcenter.com | brockctr@calpoly.edu

@brockcenter agcircle

| 21


FROM THE GROUND UP

A GLANCE AT ALTERNATIVE AGRICULTURE PRACTICES Story by Jacqueline Aenlle & Photo by Robyn Bottens

A

dairy farmer from California, Frank Fernandes, describes regenerative agriculture as being, “organic in nature with common sense rolled into it.” Agriculture at its core is an industry that is consumer driven, efficiency motivated and environmentally centered. According to Nidhi Nath Srinivas, a blogger for the Economic Times, agriculture is the most consumer-responsive industry in the world. The agriculture industry is tasked with the responsibility of being more efficient with production than ever before while maintaining a high regard for the quality of land and the impacts of production practices. One holistic management practice that factors in both production efficiency and ecosystem functionality is regenerative agriculture. As stated by Regeneration International, “Regenerative agriculture leads to healthy soil, capable of producing high quality, nutrient dense food while simultaneously improving, rather than degrading land, and ultimately leading to productive farms and healthy communities and economies.” Fernandes and his family are thirdgeneration farmers in California’s Central Valley. Fernandes said about three years ago he began, “looking down the road towards regenerative

22 | Spring 2019

agriculture,” and started incorporating regenerative agricultural practices into his farmland management. By implementing some of these management practices, Fernandes said a farmer can save money by decreasing the number of times machines pass over the field, produce a higher quality crop and retain water to use more efficiently. Regenerative agriculture methods focus on soil health, specifically the five universal principles of soil health. As outlined by an article from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the five principles of soil health are: 1. Soil armor: using crop residue and forage to limit the amount of bare ground 2. Minimizing soil disturbance: implementing low-tillage or no-tillage in your fields 3. Plant diversity: soil reflects above ground conditions. The more diversity above soil, the more diversity there will be below soil in the microbial populations. 4. Continual live root: maintain a live root system year-round is beneficial to microbes in the soils by providing more glucose and energy. 5. Livestock integration: grazing animals in conjunction with your other crop practices facilitates in recycling nutrients, increases plant diversity and increases plant health. By following these five principles

farmers are helping ensure optimal soil health to support a productive, highquality crop. The term, regenerative agriculture, can easily be confused with other terms such as sustainable agriculture or restorative agriculture. As stated in an article by Glen Behrend, an engineer and part of the Savory Regenerating Members Program, “sustainable practices, by definition, seek to maintain the same, whereas regenerative practices recognize that natural systems are currently impacted and it applies management techniques to restore the system to improved productivity.” Hunter Francis, director of the Sustainability Center at Cal Poly, says sustainable practice and regenerative agriculture are movements that both fall under the category of alternative agriculture. According to Francis, the history of these alternative agricultural movements date back to the 20th century when the organic movement really began. He said at this time, people were concerned with the industrial model of agriculture and the use of toxic chemicals in their food supply, and therefore began searching for an alternative. By the 1960’s and 1970’s, this movement had attracted the attention of large retailers who called for a national standard. It wasn’t until


the 1980’s when the sustainability every practice into perpetuity.” with regenerative agriculture will movement caught traction. Monte Bottens, founder of be uniquely catered to operations Francis said, “The sustainability California Ag Solutions, said depending on location and crops. movement called for not only regenerative agriculture is, According to Regeneration sustainable agriculture, but also “significantly different than sustainable International, “increased consumer sustainable development, the use of agriculture.” While sustainable engagement and ethical buying technology that was not as detrimental agriculture allows the application trends suggest a shift occurring in the to the environment, and also the of different soil additives and other market.” This means that conscious consideration of social needs.” human-directed practices, Bottens said consumers are actively searching Francis went on to describe how the end goal of regenerative agriculture for products that are wholesome, sustainability is ultimately a “threeis to, “produce a crop that is nutrient nutritious, and environmentally legged stool consisting of: people, dense with a soil-plant continuum friendly. With regenerative agriculture planet, and profit.” Regenerative that doesn’t require intervention of practitioners meeting the outlined agriculture is the most recent of chemistry- whether it be organic standards, their products will fall into alternative agricultural movements. chemistry or conventional.” this “ethical,” category that consumers Regenerative agriculture and Bottens said he found a passion are trending towards. sustainable agriculture are similar in for working with ecosystems and Fernandes said he can see the encouraging practices of using less natural processes to improve, and not short and long-term benefits behind toxins, improving regenerative soil quality, agriculture and “Regenerative agriculture takes farmers back fostering better is committed to the roots of agriculture and puts the power worker conditions to being at the into nature’s hands.” — and bringing forefront of Monte Bottens attention to the movement social equity. to transition Francis said the to this holistic debate between the true differences just sustain, agricultural production management approach. He said a between sustainable and regenerative models. “By practicing regenerative ag challenge he’s experienced regenerative are on-going, but the desired results producers are ultimately, harnessing agriculture is “a drastic management are the same, therefore, “call it what the power of natural ecosystems, change from current popular practices, you want, let’s just do it.” to mimic nature in order to allow and must be something introduced As the word sustainable implies, nature to improve the ecosystem slowly to each individual operation.” sustainable production methods are and soil health.” Bottens added the Though there are still challenges implemented long-term. A potential implementation of these specific with convincing producers to issue with considering a management principles and management practices abandon current practices and begin practice as “sustainable” results from will, “create a soil and plant system regenerative agriculture practices, the agriculture being a volatile industry. As holistically that eliminates the needs potential benefits to the producers, stated in an article by The Economist, for, insecticides, fungicides, or consumers and land are non“A farmer must constantly juggle a fertilizer inputs.” negotiable. “Regenerative agriculture set of variables, such as the weather, Bottens explained regenerative takes farmers back to the roots of his soil’s moisture levels and nutrient agriculture challenges arise when agriculture and puts the power into content, competition to his crops from the practices require producers nature’s hands,” Bottens said. “Let’s do weeds, threats to their health from to “un-program (their) thinking,” it like nature does it!” pests and diseases, and the costs of and approach things with a holistic taking action to deal with these things. approach backed by systematic When faced with these challenges it is thinking. He said each operation will difficult to say one set of management face its own challenges and successes guidelines will work every year on and ultimately their experience

agcircle

| 23


LEARN BY TASTING ADVANCING FOOD SCIENCE THROUGH LEARN BY DOING Story by Dalton Nichols & Photos by Felipe Vallejo

“Pull up a chair. Take a taste. Come join us. Life is so endlessly delicious.” -Ruth Reichl ith more than 15,000 jars of Cal Poly jam, 4,500 pounds of chocolate and 5,000 jars of BBQ sauce each year, it’s safe to say Cal Poly food products are a dynamic part of the campus food science community. With raspberry jam, blackberry jam and olallieberry spreadable fruit, the Food Science and Nutrition Department (FSN) products are popular with the student body and campus visitors who often make it a priority to grab a jar of the delicious spreads. Molly Lear is the FSN operations manager and has been around the food industry for years. As a Cal Poly alumna (Food Science, ‘04) Lear guided sausage manufacturing and helped produce Cal Poly chocolate. Today, she oversees the jam, bbq sauce and chocolates production lines with student employees

W

24 | Spring 2019

and provides them hands-on experience within the food science industry. “Food is not going anywhere. There will always be jobs within this industry and as long as you have a passion for food, this major is the perfect fit for anyone,” Lear said. The production lines for Cal Poly food products follow strict food safety guidelines, just like any other production facility. Inspected by the FDA and following the Code of Federal Regulations, all the products made at Cal Poly are Fair Trade Certified and ensure the products are created safely and ethically. “Each person in the facility understands and knows the importance of food safety,” said FSN Sales Manager Taran Virdi. Before each production, all ingredients are checked for quality and equipment is sanitized to prevent any type of contamination. Quality control checks are performed routinely during each jam production. Conducting tests during processing is a standard


practice and all students are required to wear the According to an article by the Institute of Food proper clothing in order to enter the processing plant. Technologists, “Food science is the study of physical, “Knowing food is important but knowing the science biological, and chemical makeup of food. behind it plays a larger role than people think,” Food technology is the application of food science Virdi stated. to the selection, Food science majors preservation, have a wide variety of “Knowing food is important but knowing processing, packaging, career opportunities distribution, and use of the science behind it plays a larger role emphasizing the safe food.” than people think.” benefits and importance Food technology Taran Virdi of food. Within the and food science jam production complement one students gain experiences in sales, marketing and another and go hand-in-hand at Cal Poly. recruitment. To truly understand the science behind Whether it be at Campus Market, online or at the food science, FSN students take a series of chemistry bookstore, bars and jars of Cal Poly’s finest products courses for molecular knowledge and even study the are known to make great gifts. “You can find our science behind successful food business. Lear said, “It products all over from Atascadero all the way down is very rewarding to see students’ growth and I enjoy to Grover Beach,” Lear said. being around them. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.” agcircle

| 25


CONSUMER INPUT & PRODUCTION AGRICULTURE INSIGHTS ABOUT THE POWER OF CONSUMER CHOICE Story by Kaleb Roberson & Photos by Quincie Gourley

26 | Spring 2019


A

trip to the grocery store for potato chips can become complicated quickly and without a specific brand in mind, the options can be overwhelming. Coconut or avocado oil, baked or fried, organic and nonGMO are just a handful of different “identities” of the traditional potato chip. Any consumer packaged good (CPG) with ties to production agriculture are frequently updated, adjusted and formatted according to changing consumer wants and needs. The ‘Father of Economics,’ Adam Smith once said, “Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.” While Adam Smith wrote this in 1776, its values hold true today with the ever-so-changing landscape of consumer tastes. Christiane Schroeter, professor of food and agricultural marketing in Cal Poly’s Agribusiness Department, worked as merchandise assistant for companies including Kraft Foods and Kellogg’s. She has seen multiple product trends rise because of new consumer inputs, with her practical and theoretical expertise. “Healthier foods with fewer artificial ingredients, as well as the organic trend, have really taken off in the market,” Schroeter said. A major factor for the introduction of newer products are emerging trends in the market. A trip to the local grocery store proves these trends valid, especially in health food stores such as Whole Foods and Lassen’s. These stores have jumped on the rising organic trend and have made a business out of it. Another emerging consumer trend is going to be sustainability in package design. Häagen-Dazs ice cream recently developed a reusable steel ice cream container to engage with the consumer market driven by resource conscience buyers. “Products with new innovative packaging are targeting consumers who are becoming more conscious of their environmental impact,” Schroeter said. The product differentiation consumers see at the grocery stores such as organic, local, all-natural and non-GMO, are the name of the game for major retailers. While many may think rapidly changing consumer choices are a hassle for retailers, it is actually what sets major retailers apart, through product differentiation and continued variation. Ricky Volpe, an assistant professor at Cal Poly and former economist at the USDA Economic Research Service, specializes in the economics of food retailing. According to Volpe, retailers are constantly agcircle

| 27


working to add increased those in the center aisles. On the conscious of resource efficiency, refrigeration space. production side of agriculture, such as water use in California’s “Quality drives product change the shifting landscape of Central Valley. Now, more than the most,” said Volpe. “We see the consumers’ wants and demands ever, producers are seeking trends that are obvious to almost is a determining factor in what innovative ways to improve, every consumer, such as organic, producers do. Holly Smith upgrade and remain sustainable non-GMO and locally-grown to graduated with a degree in with tasks that have been done for name a few, but there are some agricultural science from Cal Poly generations. In a market where trends in grocery stores that are and is a wine grape farmer. She producers are price-takers instead slightly subtler than others. If has been involved in production of makers, innovation should be you have paid embraced by attention while producers. “Products with new innovative packaging are shopping, nearly “Fail a lot, targeting consumers who are becoming more every grocery as long as it conscious of their environmental impact.” store has been is with the Christiane Schroeter, Ph. D. adding more fruit intention to and vegetable continually smoothies, pre-made salads agriculture for six years. grow and be better always,” and sliced produce in fruit and “We must completely reSmith said. vegetable trays.” innovate ourselves every five The input of consumer tastes Alongside the increasing years,” Smith said. “Otherwise we and desires is ever changing and amount of refrigeration space, will fall behind.” impacts the entire food supply there are more and more products The need to constantly rechain. From the producer to being introduced to the perimeter innovate to meet demands can be the processor to the retailer, of grocery stores. The perimeter difficult for some producers. It can adjustments are constantly made to contains the meat deli, dairy, also lead to advancements respond the mighty dollar. These produce and often a specialty food in production. quick changing wants and tastes counter such as a bakery or a deli. “We emphasize being a leader are opportunities for the entire For producers, this increase in sustainability and advanced food chain to innovate production use of perimeter space means an technology in the field to maximize to a higher caliber. increase of products that have our resources,” Smith said. lower amounts of processing than Today’s consumers are more 28 | Spring 2019


DAIRY PRODUCTS SUBSTITUTES NEW PRODUCTS CHALLENGE BEVERAGE LABELING

Story by Beth Noel & Photos provided by Mariani Nut Company and Quincie Gourley

agcircle

| 29


O

nly a few months into 2019, and food trends are already rising and falling. Is the trend of plant-based milk alternatives here to stay? Mary Brooks worked at the Cal Poly Brock Center for Agricultural Communication and graduated with a degree in agricultural communication. Following her passion for agriculture and marketing, Brooks left campus and took on her current role as a sales and marketing specialist for Mariani Nut Company. She said dairy substitutes are here to stay and “this trend is turning into a necessity for some consumers.” Mariani Nut Company is a family owned company which began growing nuts in the 1950’s and began processing in the 1970’s. Since then the company has become one of the largest, privately-held walnut and almond processors in the world and the first to launch Walnutmilk on the around five walnut halves, short West Coast. chain Omega-3 fatty acid ALA, According to Brooks, Mariani nutty flavor and lower Walnutmilk avoids labeling sugar content. controversy by making its product Colette Micko graduated from one word and uses the term milk Cal Poly with an agricultural as a descriptive word. Brooks business degree. She went on to believes, “the industry will only become a registered dietician and grow in the coming years due to works with clients in Southern demand, innovation and product California. Micko agrees the development… there is an “Look at the label and know what overwhelming number of you’re putting into your body.” consumers Colette Micko driving up the demand for plant-based beverages.” trend of plant-based beverages is There are many options of plant- becoming a necessity for people based beverages which can be used with allergies or intolerances to for those who choose not to drink dairy. She encourages consumers dairy, including soy, oat, cashew, when choosing a plant-based coconut and almond. Brooks beverage to, “look at the label believes Mariani Walnutmilk can and know what you’re putting be the next Almond Milk. The in your body.” She said some Mariani Nut Company reports a clients believe they are choosing glass of Mariani Walnutmilk has a healthier alternative when 30 | Spring 2019

drinking almond beverage, but they do not notice the added sugars in the sweetened flavors. When looking at a plant-based beverage versus the traditional milk Micko said, “milk is naturally high in protein, calcium, vitamin D, and phosphorus while most plant-based sources are fortified to make them nutritionally equivalent to dairy products.” When making the decision to drink plant-based beverages consumers should look at their whole diet for other ways to reach nutritional levels. Samantha Schuessler is a Cal Poly dairy science major from Wisconsin. Raised on a dairy farm, Schuessler was diagnosed lactose intolerant by a gastrointestinal specialist seven years ago. She chooses milk alternatives for her cereal and says, “I recognize that I am not reaching all of my calcium levels.” Just like Micko recommends, Schuessler looks at


her whole diet and adds the extra Schuessler said. Poly are taught that milk comes calcium and amino acids through Micko agrees with some of her from a lactating mammal with a other foods. Understandably, patients claiming to be lactosemammary system. Dairy farmers, Schuessler is quick to defend the intolerant but said they still eat such as Schuessler, are concerned dairy industry. “As my professor butter and cheese. Mind over with these beverages being always tells me, it is not a dying matter to some, but another labeled as milk. One argument is industry it is always going to conflict for dairy alternatives is the consumers could be confused by be here.” war between nut producers and various beverage marketing labels The dairy industry itself has dairy producers on the labeling and believe their choice drink been changing has the same while plantnutritional based beverage values as “Mariani Nut doesn’t aim to take away business sales are on the from our dairy friends, rather provide a nutritious and dairy milk. rise. But some Consumers healthy alternative option to customers.” choose to look at are encouraged Mary Brooks other products to read labels the dairy and recognize industry has to offer. Schuessler of plant based-beverages. Brooks nutritional differences, because all recognizes dairy is being used says, “Mariani Nut doesn’t aim to plant-based and fluid dairy in different ways now, such as take away business from our dairy milk beverage products breakfast smoothies with yogurt friends, but to rather provide a support agriculture. instead of milk and cereal in nutritious and healthy alternative the morning. option to customers.” “In San Luis Obispo, there There is debate of whether are many places opening up ice alternative milk or plant-based cream shops. And even if it is not drinks should be called a beverage, fluid milk, dairy will be there,” juice or milk. Many students at Cal agcircle

| 31


MOVING TOGETHER

THE IMPACT OF GRAZING METHODS AND HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT Story by Kaylee Kessler

M

any people know cattle are out in a pasture to graze. But what other benefits does grazing provide? Depending on the size of the plot, grazing duration and number of cattle, grazing results in many different outcomes. The Rise of Holistic Management Derived from the Greek word, holo, meaning whole or complete, holistic management is the practice of looking at an issue from more than one perspective and includes evaluating multiple factors and impacts surrounding the subject. When applied to agriculture, the term refers to a value-based decision-making framework integrating all aspects of planning for social, economic and environmental considerations, according to Holistic Management International (HMI), the leading non-profit organization focusing 32 | Spring 2019

Photo by Billy Reeves

on holistic management in agriculture. HMI has trained more than 50,000 farmers across the globe in holistic management techniques, from New York to Texas to Kenya, Africa. As reported by HMI experts, holistic management is a key regenerative agriculture tool also sometimes referred to as whole farm or ranch planning. This term, ‘whole farm/ranch planning’ is recognized by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a tool to help farmers and ranchers successfully develop their businesses and simultaneously improve the health of their lands so they can continue to support their communities with quality food. A figure critical to the growth in popularity of holistic management in agriculture is Allan Savory. Savory developed holistic management grazing practices in the 1960s in Zimbabwe, Africa.

According to the Savory Institute, Savory developed his ideas to halt desertification and make a new framework for farmers and ranchers to satisfy their immediate needs without jeopardizing their futures. Twenty years later, in the 1980s, the term holistic management came into circulation. Aside from holistic management being a way to stop desertification in Savory’s eyes, it is also a way to consider and improve social, economic and environmental complexities. Challenges to Holistic Management With the introduction of every new agricultural practice come successes and challenges. Holistic management is no exception, said Marc Horney of Cal Poly. Horney specializes in rangeland research and livestock production and cautions against several points


the Savory Grazing Method (SGM) promotes. Horney said many ranchers following SGM in the mid ‘80s learned the stocking levels suggested actually damaged their operations and jeopardized many ranches who doubled or quadrupled the number of head grazing the same acreage they had before implementing SGM methods. According to a forum by the Society for Range Management, SGM employs short duration grazing and would thus suggest that rangeland productivity should increase utilizing the Savory Grazing Method. Horney said there are numerous forms of successful rangeland management and extension agencies provide recommended guidelines for running a business without any educational price tag. “There are only so many levels that one can focus on at a single time,” Horney said. “I want people Photo by Billy Reeves to know that the holistic approach isn’t the only way to run a ranch, I to successful management and program and the way a rancher want to bring light to establishing soil surveys for wants to run it. other results.” parcels is recommended to develop And don’t forget Mother Nature. Horney explained if an a baseline estimate of productive Horney said there are unfavorable, individual were to compare one capacity prior to making favorable, and normal seasons. ranch managed holistically to one grazing standards. If a rancher is in an unfavorable that isn’t holistic, but is managed Horney said a rancher needs season, he described the “take in an organized way by someone to ask themselves what type of half, leave half” rule. “If a rancher educated about leaves half or their land, it will a little more “I want people to know that the holistic approach be difficult to tell than half of the difference. isn’t the only way to run a ranch, I want to bring light dead grass on “Measuring the pasture, to other results.” the success this helps the Marc Horney, Ph. D. [of rangeland germination for management] next year’s crop is difficult, unless a rancher is livestock would be best suited to grass. But if you allow animals familiar with the productivity of manage the productive capacity of to eat into that, which commonly their land, and how much it can the land. “If there are cows, how happens during a drought, each grow. It can be rather difficult to large are the cows? How much successive season of germination understand what a rancher would they eat is a function of how big gets lower and lower.” need,” he said. “There is careful and productive they are. How With considerable thought timing when vegetation needs much will they eat during their and measurement of available to be mowed down to shift grass time on the ranch?” Horney said resources, a rancher can calculate population.” He added knowing there are many factors that go into acres of soil type, productivity in an operation’s soil types is critical creating a type of management season, how many animals and agcircle

| 33


Photo by Brock Center

Photo by Billy Reeves

Photo by Billy Reeves

arrive at an estimation of how producing beef cattle by retaining roamed and helped shape these many days one pasture can use, an ideal quantity of mother cows California grasslands. We monitor Horney said. and utilizing their offspring for the recovery of native perennial “It makes sense when you have sale each year. With land located grasses to form our grazing a ranch with a lot of variation on in both Monterey and San Benito decisions.” Mundell added the it, and the animals are going to counties, Rancho Cienega Del ranch’s goal is to manage for a naturally move around and use Gabilan entered into an agreement healthy ecosystem and species different places of the ranch more with The Nature Conservancy to diversity. “We have to meet three than other parts of criteria: we must the ranch.” Horney be economically “Our goal is to manage for a healthy added subdividing viable, ecosystem function and species diversity.” portions of the environmentally ranch based on sustainable/ Marc Horney things that attract regenerative, the animals, such and create social as a water trough or fence break preserve the ranch’s legacy of a capital,” Mundell said. creates more effective livestock working, sustainable operation Mundell said he wants to distribution, sending the animals and pledged to manage their bring back perennial grasses that up to the rocky area to eat operations holistically. “Our have gone dormant by using the instead of having them stay goal is to manage for a healthy cattle. Before this practice was by the stream. ecosystem function and species implemented at Rancho Cienega diversity,” said Jefferey Mundell, Del Gabilan, Mundell said set Putting Practices into Action ranch manager at Rancho Cienega stocking was the Rancho Cienega Del Gabilan is Del Gabilan. The ranch uses management style. a cow-calf operation; cow-calf is a cattle “as a proxy for the wild “Set stocking took a certain term that refers to the practice of herds of ungulates that once amount of cattle and put them 34 | Spring 2019


in each pasture for 12 months. parlor and a deli. Lukehart said, “Avila Valley Doing this allowed cattle to use the “We hope to provide a unique Barn utilizes a holistic context, pasture in search of high energy farming experience with a farm decision making framework, plants which led to overgrazing, stand offering fresh, home-grown financial planning, land planning, loss of perennial grasses, loss of fruits and vegetables,” Raven crop planning, and ecosystem plant diversity and a reduction of Lukehart said. Lukehart is a process-based view point on carrying capacity,” Mundell said. holistic management lecturer at management of natural systems.” Mundell shared, “Holistic Cal Poly and co-owner of Avila She added implementing management has shown incredible Valley Barn. The farm has a these components of holistic improvements on our landscape. variety of row crops, orchards, management helps them focus From the recruitment of native animals, to encourage community on their values and enables the perennial grasses, decrease involvement through field trips, family to be better equipped to in plant spacing make business and community and farm “We hope to provide a unique farming dynamics. We have management experience with a farm stand offering fresh, been able decisions. home-grown fruits and vegetables.” to increase our Lukehart Raven Lukehart carrying capacity.” noted, “Many Holistic practices ranches have are still being mastered at Rancho you-pick and on farm events. The seen an increase in diversity of Cienega Del Gabilan. Mundell land surrounding the property plants, wild animals, and microbes said despite obvious successes, includes San Luis Obispo Creek creating a space for the community his ranch management has yet to and coastal oak hillsides offering to hunt, bird watch, or view the find the ideal number of animals biodiversity many farms lack. reemergence of native plants.” the landscape can sustain. “We are Lukehart said the barn’s location And with holistic management limited by drinking water sources is part of the reason the operation processes, ranchers can cut down but have found that each time we uses conservation practices that livestock feeding costs. She said, graze around the ranch with the support production and the “It allows the cattle to survive herd, the grassland becomes natural systems around its border. off the land rather being fed more productive.” “Even with my background at from humans.” Cal Poly, my husband’s experience Holistic management Avila Valley’s Approach on the farm, and my in-law’s many approaches offer opportunities Avila Valley Barn is one of San years of running this business, we for producers of all kinds to use a Luis Obispo County’s busiest still felt insufficient to maintain regenerative agricultural practice attractions. It began in 1985 as a the business far into the future,” that can improve local food quality, single table and umbrella placed Lukehart said. The family sought wildlife habitats, help farmers and along Avila Beach Drive. Today, out information and decided ranchers become more prosperous, Avila Valley Barn is a popular to use a holistic management strengthen local economies and tourist destination complete with approach because combined with preserve local culture, according petting zoo, tractor rides, fresh limited experience in business to HMI. fruits and vegetables, a bakery, management, they struggled to There’s no one right way jams, jellies, hand-crafted gifts, create profitability for their family to produce food. The holistic a pumpkin patch, an ice cream farming enterprises. approach, however, offers farmers and ranchers opportunities to make valuable contributions not only to their bottom line but supports efforts and desires of producers who want to make positive contributions to the environment as well.

agcircle

Photo by Tanner Yould

| 35


agcircle magazine Brock Center for Agricultural Communication 1 Grand Avenue San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 brockcenter.com @brockcenter

Profile for Brock Center for Agricultural Communication

AgCircle Spring 2019  

This issue covers topics ranging from scientific development in food processing to rangeland management to market research put into the infl...

AgCircle Spring 2019  

This issue covers topics ranging from scientific development in food processing to rangeland management to market research put into the infl...

Advertisement