We are all familiar with the delicious and abundant produce available to us and tastefully presented in our grocery stores. Yet what do most of us outside the ag industry really know about the operations of today's ag industry? What actually goes into getting that fresh romaine or broccoli to our stores? What are the issues facing today's ag industry? What does the future hold?
AgKnowledge gives local community leaders a unique, hands-on experience to see the inner working of the agriculture industry. As Program Fellows, participants in the program commit to nine months encompassing nine day-long sessions. These intensive sessions provide Fellows with a broad understanding of the agriculture industry and its local, national and global impact.
AgKnowledge is an insightful educational experience that provides a rare look into the actual operations as seen from a variety of points of view. The Program Fellows gain a personal understanding of the hearts and minds of the people who have dedicated their lives to agriculture—ranchers, growers, processors, and the thousands of local employees.
Experts both within the agriculture industry and outside speak to a wide range of topics and issues. This broad spectrum approach ensures a balanced and informed educational experience so that participants may gain a solid foundation on the key issues facing the agriculture industry.
We are currently accepting applications for Class X of AgKnowledge an executive agricultural leadership program. If you feel that you could benefit from this program please complete the application and submit it by February 17, 2016.
Program Overview- AgKnowledge 2016
Class X Agriculture: Sustainability/Viability
March: Introduction to Monterey Agriculture
We welcome the class with a snapshot of California and Monterey agriculture's current issues.
April: Who Are We? Heritage & Health
We begin the day appreciating our generational and cultural heritage. "Know your farmer". We have an opportunity to market fruits & vegetables for the health of our community, the nation, the world. Understanding our community is the connection of our Ag heritage to our future health.
May: Science &Technology
Ag science & technology: Air Resources and Climate Change. Technology and innovation --from research to equipment some of the latest and greatest, what are intellectual property right? What is the newest information in Ag and where are we going from here!
Our water supply -the reservoirs, irrigation, and flood protection with a tour of the water recycling plant, water supply and quality information included will be on agricultural water use, groundwater, conservation practices, monitoring and regulations.
July: – Agricultural Workforce
Agricultural Workers: Labor Issues- insights from diverse speakers regarding immigration reform, farm worker housing & health, labor unions, the ag industry , our workers that produce and harvest crops.
August– Food Safety & Security
What are the issues and challenges regarding food safety and the California Leafy Green Marketing Agreement? What does food security mean to California agriculture? What impact does quality assurance have in the field, at the processing plant, and shipping to the customer?
September North Monterey County
North Monterey is very different than the Salinas Valley: the Elkhorn Slough, many smaller farms, strawberries, and mushrooms, dairy.
October– South Monterey County
You will meet families that have cattle ranches, and viticulture including wineries and other south county business, driving down the Wine Corridor and discussion around transportation the inter-connection of this County.
November – Monterey County Agriculture. "Graduation Day." Program Review.
Key Note speakers will cover current issues that assist you in connection with the many experiences in the program. You will be asked to reflect on your own highlights, share those with the group. We will host a reception in your honor and you will receive a Graduation Photo.
"Day with a Farmer"
This day will be pre-planned with a grower, shipper, or rancher and you. You will meet your farmer/shipper/rancher early in the morning and spend the day in the truck with the farmer/shipper/rancher observing their operations and having real "one-on-one time". This is your opportunity to have many questions answered and a richer experience through this program. You will provide us with a one page report and photos of your experience.
AgKnowledge Program Overview- CLASS X
Mission Statement AgKnowledge 2016
The mission of AgKnowledge is to educate and enlighten the Class Fellows about the heritage, diversity, stewardship, complexity and interdependencies of Monterey County Agriculture.
The purpose of AgKnowledge is to provide policy makers and community leaders the opportunity to "walk in the shoes of a farmer", to see Monterey County through the eyes of those directly involved in the many facets of agriculture, to be a more informed consumer and to encourage AgKnowledge graduates to extend to others the knowledge and awareness they have gained through participation in the program. It is the hope and expectation that the Class Members will better understand the heart of those that work the land and/or otherwise contribute to the production and distribution of agricultural commodities.
Over the next nine months your seminars and your Day with a Farmer will take you throughout the diverse geography of Monterey County with farm and agribusiness tours as well as "hands on" experiences covering topics such as; diversity of crops commodities, field and food safety, marketing, technology, politics, regulations, labor, immigration, cultural diversity and a history of the industry and some of the families that make up Monterey County Agriculture.
The intent of the program is to provide you with a context for Monterey County Agriculture:
- Historical beginnings and/or current overview
- Geography and land stewardship
- Crops, technology and economics
- Generational families, cultural issues, workforce
- Complex Issues - providing different points of view
- Impact on the communities - developing common threads among each of the seminars
- Annual Crop Report
- Marketing materials provided by companies, resource and regulatory agencies
- Materials from each seminar, maps, speaker bio's
- AgKnowledge evaluation survey for each session (completion required within two weeks after each session)
Emphasis on some of the following major crops of Monterey County:
- Row crops-vegetables
- Wine Grapes
- Nursery (landscape, floral, plantlets)
- Food Safety and Security
- Regulations affecting agriculture, including competing regulatory interests
- Supply, quality, regulations and politics
- Groundwater protection, salt water intrusion, overdraft
- Immigration, labor issues, cultural influence of the workforce (past, present, projected)
- Pest prevention, detection, eradication, integrated pest management, pesticide use (synthetic & natural), conventional and organic farming methods.
- Technology, research, opportunities
- Global markets, world competition and trade issues
- Trends in the marketplace
- Industry consolidation
- Public Relations
• Consumer attitudes
• Health and nutrition programs
- Air Resource Regulations
- Urban/Ag Interfacing, Ag Buffers, Conservation Easements, Williamson Act
- Land use issues affecting agriculture
- Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) or Genetically Engineered Organism (GEO)
- Ag Tourism
- Education (certificates, degrees, extension, life-long learning)
- Day with a farmer
The goal of AgKnowledge is to assist policy-makers and community leaders in developing an informed appreciation of the broad spectrum of issues affecting agriculture. Fellows will better understand the people, the families, the history and the interdependencies of the agricultural industry. AgKnowledge will bring Class Members a face to the agricultural family; they will see common values with their own families and understanding the overall economic backbone - the "us" factor: All of Monterey County will enjoy a better quality of life with a healthy and sustainable agricultural industry.
The program will provide the Class Fellows with educational presentations, tours, hands-on experiences and panel discussions with speakers from diverse backgrounds and different views regarding the complex issues that affect and comprise the agricultural industry.
The long term goal is that AgKnowledge will develop and sustain community understanding and support for growers, ranchers and all those involved in agriculture in Monterey County.