Starting off a recent slate of fun and educational activities, Escalon FFA members from Ms. Pimentel’s food science class and a couple others from the vet science class loaded the vans bright and early on September 26 and headed to Fresno, CA to tour the Certified Meat Products Plant. There we got to learn about the different machines used when making different types of meat such as, flat meat patties used at local In-N-Out restaurants and gourmet meat patties used at restaurants across the nation. When processing meats, they switch out daily on the type of meat produced. The day we went, they were in the process of making linguica and packaging pastrami to get cooled in a freezer and shipped off to markets all over the world.
After visiting the meat processing plant, we took a short drive down the road to Fresno State College. There we were able to go into the college’s butchering shop and watch the students go through the process of packaging a pig. We were then taught how to make salami. We learned that it takes six to 10 weeks for salami to fully mature and it is ready to eat. Overall, it was a great experience and would recommend anyone that wants to get into Food Science or Vet Science, as a career, to visit these places.
Next, on September 28, Escalon FFA had their first speaking competition of the year, Opening and Closing. We left at 8 a.m. with six teams consisting of two Greenhand (freshman) teams, two open teams, and the officer team. The competition was held at the San Joaquin County Office of Education by the Delta Valley Section, which is made up of 12 chapters. Escalon, as a whole, competed well, bringing home multiple awards. Open team B achieved third overall, with Destiny Reyes, Gianna Bava, Emily Vickers, and Krystal Hannaford all bringing home awards in President, Treasurer, Sentinel, and Reporter. Along with this, Victor Romero, the chapter Vice President, received an individual award. Several Greenhands earned awards as well. It was a successful day for the chapter, and a great introduction to public speaking for many new to FFA.
To end our week on September 29, we traveled to Robert J. Cabral Ag Center, in Stockton for the very first Ag Career Summit in our county. Juniors and seniors in the county had the opportunity to learn about career opportunities within the agriculture industry. Students learned the importance of professionalism, both in and out of the classroom. Most importantly, students chatted with professionals in pre-selected fields of interest about their possible future careers.
Finally, we reviewed paths to becoming productive members of the ag industry.