AgVenture 2012 Off to a Great Start
October 2, 2012 • Elizabeth Larson
LAKE COUNTY, Calif. – The 2012 AgVenture program got off to a wonderful start on Aug. 24 with a day dedicated to the Lake County Pear industry.
Debra Sommerfield, Lake County’s deputy county administrative officer for economic development, set the stage by explaining the importance of agriculture in the Lake County economy. She was followed by a day of speakers and field trips.
Class members heard firsthand about the challenges and opportunities in growing pears from Diane Henderson of Henderson Orchards. This was followed by a visit to her orchards where harvest was in full swing.
Broc Zoller, The Pear Doctor, provided an in-depth look at the important role that research has played in helping growers combat orchard pests with more eco-friendly solutions.
Myron Holdenreid charmed the class with his knowledge of the history of the pear industry in Lake County.
Lunch was sponsored by Scully Packing and Adobe Creek Packing and prepared by the Saw Shop Gallery and Bistro.
Toni Scully joined the session as the lunch speaker to explain the packing shed operation. This was followed by an amazing tour of Scully Packing sheds which were in full operation packing pears.
After the tour, Pat Scully, general manager, Scully Packing Co., explained the marketing process for pears.
Jack King rounded out the day with a discussion about immigration and labor issues that impact the pear industry as well as agriculture as a whole.
Students in the class were clearly impressed with the day. One student wrote “Fantastic! Great information and completed the learning circle by actually seeing what the speakers were talking about.”
The second session of the AgVenture program focused on wine and winegrapes. The day started at Umpqua Bank with presentations from Kris Eutenier and Scott De Leon.
Eutenier gave an overview of the many responsibilities that the agriculture commissioner’s office covers including pesticide applicator licensing and reporting, invasive pest detection, and bioterrorism prevention in our food chain.
De Leon focused on water issues including the irrigated lands program and County work on improving Clear Lake.
During the field trip to Beckstoffer Vineyards, Glenn McGourty gave the class an informative lecture on the history of wine from ancient times to the current Lake County wine industry.
While enjoying the stunning view from the top of Beckstoffer Vineyards, the class heard from Eric Seely, deputy county administrative officer for special projects and Randy Krag, viticulturist for Beckstoffer Vineyards.
Seely explained the requirements for establishing a new vineyard and used his experience with Beckstoffer as an example. Krag discussed Integrated Pest Management in the vineyard.
Lunch was sponsored by the Lake County Winegrape Commission and prepared by Chic le Chef. Shannon Gunier, president of the Lake County Winegrape Commission, gave the class a quick lesson in the role of the commission in marketing grapes grown in the county.
The last stop of the day was at Gregory Graham Winery. Sitting at tables in the back of the winery, the class heard from Graham about the compliance requirements for a winery and then enjoyed a tour of his crush pad and barrel facility.
Two more AgVenture sessions are scheduled for 2012.
On Oct. 19, the class will reconvene at Riffe’s Meeting Room at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake. This session will focus on the walnut industry in Lake County.
Marc Hooper, pest control advisor with AgUnlimited, will address cultivation of both conventional and organic crops in Lake County.
Sky Hoyt, retail vegetable grower and part-time Mendocino College agriculture instructor, will talk about the challenges and opportunities as a fruit and vegetable grower and retail agriculture marketing channels.
Paula Bryant, vice president and commercial relationship manager for Umpqua Bank, will cover crop financing and lending practices.
Rick Coel, Lake County Community Development director, will review land use issues, the ag element of the county’s general plan, urban/ag interface, the Right to Farm ordinance, and value-added agricultural uses.
A tour of the Suchan Farm and Nursery, Upper Lake, and an overview of the walnut industry, including nursery, orchards, and dehydrator operations by Alex Suchan will conclude the day’s session.
The final AgVenture session for 2012 will be held on Nov. 9 at the Saw Shop Gallery and Bistro in Kelseyville.
Sen. Noreen Evans will address the class and talk about the legislative perspective on agriculture in California and the impact of invasive pests.
Other presenters for this session will include Emilo dela Cruz, mill master for Chacewater Winery and Olive Mill in Kelseyville, and Jennifer Keithly of Keithly Ranches, Kelseyville. Field trips are included with both presentations.
Members of the 2012 class include: Rob Brown, Lake County supervisor; Bernie Butcher, owner, Tallman Hotel; Judy Cortesi, retired small business owner; Linda Hedstrom, housing and economic development manager; Lori Holmes, renal dietician and school board member; and Tibor Major, attorney.
The class also includes; Stacey Mattina, owner, Konocti Realty and mayor of Lakeport; Gary Olson, broker/owner, Big Valley Properties; Matt Perry, interim county administrative officer, Lake County; Fr. Ron Serban, pastor, St. Mary Immaculate Parish; Rebecca Southwick, development/public relations officer, Sutter Lakeside Hospital; and Claudia Street, executive director, Lake County Farm Bureau.
Generous sponsors for the 2012 series of seminars include the Lake County Winegrape Commission, Adobe Creek Packing, Scully Packing Co., Umpqua Bank, the Lake County Farm Bureau, the Lake County Winery Association, and the Lake County Marketing and Economic Development Program.
Additional support has been provided by Saw Shop Gallery and Bistro, Tallman Hotel, Gregory Graham Winery, Chacewater Wine and Olive Mill, Vigilance Vineyards, Lake Parts, Lakeport Tire & Auto, Broc and Sharon Zoller, Mark Dellinger, Margaret Silveira and Terry Dereniuk.
Transportation for the field trips and site visits is being provided by the Military Funeral Honors Team van with support from the Kelseyville Olive Festival.
The AgVenture program coordinator is Terry Dereniuk, a graduate of the 2010 AgVenture program. Members of her steering committee are Annette Hopkins, president of the Lake County Chapter, California Women for Agriculture; Paula Bryant; Shannon Gunier; Toni Scully; Diane Henderson; and Michelle Scully.
More information about California Women for Agriculture is available by writing to P.O. Box 279, Finley, CA 95435 or visiting them on Facebook at Lake County California Women for Agriculture or on the web at www.lakecountycwa.org .
- Recently appointed as District Conservationist, USDA...In his winemaking, Arpad Molnar sources grapes from two...What’s the key to taking a one-thousand-acre mountain...
- With major wildfires occurring every year in California,...More than 60 growers, vineyard consultants, and pest...