From the Farm – CSU, Chico Meats Lab

Written in Collaboration with Zach Bauer, Meats Lab Student Employee

As many know, Chico, Calif. is home to California State University, Chico and the over IMG_20170217_141643214800-acre diversified University Farm. The Farm gives students hands on experience in the many studies offered in the CSU, Chico College of Agriculture. However, few know that The Farm is home to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected Meats Lab.

The Meats Lab was built and started operating in 1969. At which time, it also started selling its farm-raised and processed products to the public. In the mid 1990’s, long time Meats Lab Manager, Jim Holt, saw the need to establish a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan. The Meats Lab started putting into place a HACCP plan before it became USDA law in 1996 following e. Coli outbreaks in fast food. Now, students in the College of Agriculture can get HACCP certification and learn to develop functioning HACCP plans for the industry.

Though the College of Agriculture has several Meat Science courses that utilize the Meats Lab, many other courses use the Meats Lab for feed trials, hands on learning about animal systems and more. The College of Agriculture is home to Dr. Michael Chao, who earned a PhD in Animal Science with specialization in Meat Science and Muscle Biology. With Dr. Chao’s background in Meat Science and current Meats Lab Manager James Richardson, the team sees the Meats Lab continuing its path of an educational environment.

Today, the Meats Lab has an in-house smoker to cure sausages, bacon, smoke turkeys for Thanksgiving and allow experimenting with new sausage recipes. Students are employed in the Meats Lab supervised by James Richards and sell the products they process and make. The Meats Lab always has a selection of sausages, steaks, roast from beef, pork and lamb available.

The Meats Lab is open to the public from 8 AM – 5 PM on Thursdays and Fridays so you can meet the students and buy farm fresh products right there. For more details on products the Meats Lab carries, visit the website. You can also follow the Meats Lab on FaceBook.

Leg of Lamb
• 1 (5-7pound) boneless leg of lamb, untrimmed, and lamb tied with net
• 2 tablespoon of olive oil
• 4 peeled garlic cloves
• 1.5 tablespoon fine sea salt
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
• 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
• 1/4 cup dry red wine or beef broth

1. Put rosemary, garlic and olive oil in a food processor and chop to paste and mix with sea salt and pepper.
2. Put lamb in a lightly oiled roasting pan, then rub paste all over lamb.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F.
4. Roast lamb in middle of oven until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of meat registers 140°F, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Transfer to a cutting board and let stand 15 to 25 minutes (internal temperature will rise to about 150°F for medium-rare).
5. Add wine to pan and deglaze by boiling over moderately high heat for 1 minute, filter out the brown bits. Season pan juices with salt and pepper and serve with lamb.

Food Safety Recommendations from Dr. Chao:
Most pathogens can be effectively controlled by cooking to an internal temperature of 150°F. However, we need to be aware of cross contamination. Do not put the cooked leg of lamb on the same pan or cutting board that you used to prepare the raw materials. Also, wash hands with soap before serving the food. Finally, do not leave leftovers in room temperature for over 1 hour, put them in the refrigerator immediately to avoid potential microbial growth.

BCFB is Now Taking Applications for Scholarships!

Butte County Farm Bureau is now accepting applications for Gerald M. Geiger Memorial FB OnlyScholarships. The Scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors who plan to major in agriculture in college. Applicants must meet the following requirements to be considered for a scholarship:

  • Must be a graduating senior living in or attending high school in Butte County
  • Have a 3.0 GPA or higher
  • Planning to pursue a major and career in agriculture
  • Complete an application with a one page brief essay, written by the applicant, outlining his or her goals and objectives and a current letter of recommendation which includes the name of the applicant, comments on the applicant’s character and abilities, and an opinion of his/her ability to profit from a college education. (Note: A parent or relative cannot be considered as a reference)

Completed applications must be received no later than 4:00PM Friday March 31, 2017 at the Butte County Farm Bureau office 2580 Feather River Blvd, Oroville, CA 95965. Late or incomplete applications will not be considered. If you know of a graduating senior in Butte County who will be majoring in agriculture, please have them contact Shay at the BCFB office (530) 533-1473 or visit the BCFB Website.

The Butte County Farm Bureau Gerald M. Geiger Memorial Scholarship is a program of the Butte Basic CMYKAgriculture Foundation


New Member Benefit from Western Square Industries.

logoWestern Square Industries has been a longtime supporter of Farm Bureau and recently joined the Butte County Farm Bureau as a member. A family owned business since it was founded in 1978, Western Square Industries has put quality and customer service first in providing essential products to agriculture.

Western Square Industries offers a variety of agricultural products including: light duty gates, wire filled gates, utility bow gates and panels, heavy duty gates and panels, feeders, field trailer, harvest bins and shade trailers. They also have one of the largest powder coating facilities in California where they use the Tuff Guard process that sets their products apart. All of the products made by Western Square Industries are custom made in Stockton, Calif. shade-trailer.jpg

As supporters of Farm Bureau, Western Square Industries offers a 10 percent discount on its shade trailers to current Farm Bureau members.

“We chose to do this to support Farm Bureau members and help them stay in compliance with California law regarding shade for employees,” said Ron Colombo, Western Square Industries.

Heat illness prevention regulations continue to change annually. Farmers are now required to provide shade adequate for all employees to be under, fully covered and normal sitting posture once field temperatures reach 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Western Square Industries builds structures meant to last through time, use and elements that meet regulation requirements. They can help you figure out the best structure for your operation.

For more information contact Ron Colombo at (209)481-9254 or email You can also learn more at

Sohnrey Family Foods Offers New Benefit to Farm Bureau Members

Butte County is lucky to have several farms that have remained within a family for sohnreyfamilyfarmslogoadjustfinalmultiple generations. Keeping a farming tradition alive in family is a difficult task, but the Sohnrey family has managed to do so by putting family first. In 2014, the Sohnrey family realized a long time goal to have its own brand to sell to local consumers. Sohnrey Family Foods was born and is now a full operating almond processing company with a unique gift shop right on the farm.

“We decided to start Sohnrey Family Foods when we had enough family members to not only keep the farms running but also to start and run the gift shop,” said Derek Sohnrey. “Our hope with this business is that as our family keeps expanding we can continue to create enough jobs to keep everyone involved with our family business.”

Sohnrey Family Foods specializes in creativity by developing innovative flavor profiles for its products. For instance, they have exciting flavors like Maple Bacon Almonds and a new Snickerdoodle Almond Butter. To support other local producers and the community, Sohnrey Family Foods also carries locally made olive oils, hand crafted wood products, art and much more.

The Sohnrey family has also been longtime supporters of the Butte County Farm Bureau and Sohnrey Family Foods is no exception.

“Farm Bureau does so much to help protect and promote agriculture,” said Sohnrey. “Agriculture and farming is our way of life and it is nice to know that someone is helping protect that for not only us, but future generations to come.”

The Butte County Farm Bureau is very excited to welcome a new member benefit from Sohnrey Family Foods to other Farm Bureau members. Farm Bureau members now receive 10 percent off of their purchase in the Sohnrey Family Foods gift shop.

“We wanted to support the people that support Farm Bureau,” said Sohnrey. “This is just one way that we can help give back and support Farm Bureau and its members.”

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, keep Sohnrey Family Foods in mind when shopping for your significant other. They can create the perfect local gift with having everything from wine to chocolate covered almonds and locally made candles they have what you need.

You can visit Sohnrey Family Foods and meet the Sohnrey family in the gift shop located at 41 Skillin Lane, Oroville, CA 95965 (Off HWY 99 between Durham and Bigs) or shop online at

You can also follow them on social media through the following:

Grower Day 2016 – Nov. 3oth

The Butte County Farm Bureau and the Butte County Agriculture Department are excited host the 3rd Annual Grower Day on Wednesday, November 30, 2016 at the Silver Dollar Fairground in Chico, CA. The Continuing Education credit program has been approved for 3.5 hours of CE Credit for Private Applicator License holders. Along with the 3.5 hours of CE Credits, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program update will also count for the Outreach Opportunity requirement to remain a member in good standing with the Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition.

You will want to join us for outstanding education program, great trade show of area ag businesses, complimentary coffee and donuts in the morning, FREE boxed lunch at Noon and cookies during the afternoon break. Everything starts at 7:30 AM with registration, the trade show and coffee and donuts.

Here is the program for the day:


7:30     Registration, Trade Show, Coffee & Donuts

9:00    Welcome & Update from the County
Louie B. Mendoza Jr., Butte County Agricultural Commissioner

9:15      Navel Orangeworm Management
Elizabeth “Betsy” A. Boyd, Assoc. Professor in Plant Science CSUC

9:45    Controlling Pests in Walnut Production
Emily J. Symmes, PhD, UC Cooperative Extension

10:15   Break and Trade Show

10:45   Pesticide Container Recycling
Bill Graves, Green Planet Plastics

11:15   DPR Worker Health & Safety Regulations
Sidney Hilton, Department of Pesticide Regulations

11:45  New Regulations – Pesticide Applications Near Schools
Rick Strider, Department of Pesticide Regulations

12:15  Trade Show and Free Lunch

12:45  Sustainable Groundwater Management Act
Jack Rice, California Farm Bureau

1:30    Cookie Break and Trade Show

1:45    Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program Update
Kayla Zilch, Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition

2:15    Trade Show

3:00    End of Day – Thank you for coming!

We have a FANTASTIC list of sponsors and exhibitors already lined up for the Trade Show. Spaces for the trade show are still available. Call 530-533-1473 for details.

Chico Electric
Pacific Gas and Electric

Peterson Cat

Business Sponsor
North State Electric & Pump/ North State Drilling

Ag One Solutions
Agra Marketing Group
Agromillora California
Alternative Energy Systems
Bidcal Online Auctions
CSU, Chico College of Agriculture
Dave Wilson Nursery
Deerpoint Group
DeRuosi Nut
Duarte Nursery
Farm Data Systems, Inc.
Farmers International, Inc.
GIG7 Crop Insurance Services
Hortau-Simplified Irrigation
North State Electric & Pump/ North State Drilling
North State Solar Energy
North Valley Ag Services
Northern California National Bank
PBM Supply & MFG. Inc.
Trece, Inc.
Tri Counties Bank
Water Right Technologies, Inc


Sutter County RCD Positions Available


The Sutter County Resource Conservation District (SCRCD) writes and implements grants, works under fee-for-service contracts, and provides technical information for partners at all levels of government, private sector, and non-profits throughout the Sacramento Valley.

They are currently working to fill two positions. Interested individuals should send a cover letters and resume to



Likely full time position.

 District Administration and Management
– Invoicing on all SCRCD agreements
– Work with Admin Assistant to stay up-to-date on financials
– Preparing and presenting progress reports at monthly Board Meetings
– Attend appropriate stakeholder meetings to represent SCRCD
– Inform Board of pertinent information as it comes in
– Update website and social media page as necessary
– Coordinate and/or participate in local outreach events

NRCS National Air Quality Initiative (NAQI) Program
– Manage incoming applications, create conservation plans and submit for TechReview to Area Office, certify payments, witness destruction at local destruction yard, schedule and attend field appointments, assist Farm Bill assistant in answering general questions about program

NRCS Irrigation Water Management
– Assist NRCS contract holders with their Irrigation Water Management records following the installation of their new system via phone, in the field, or in office
– Education and outreach

Butte-Yuba-Sutter Water Quality Coalition (BYS)
– Serve as a contractor as the Education and Outreach Coordinator for the local subwatershed under the Irrigated
– Attend SVWQC meetings to represent local subwatershed and to gain information to then report back to Members
– Assist Members with their requirements via phone, email, in-office appointments, and oral presentations
– Coordinate education and outreach to Members via newsletters, e-newsletters, and special meetings


  • Organized, high work standard, efficient, diligent work ethic
  • Friendly, patient, professional
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Publisher, Excel, Word)
  • Time management
  • Effective, proficient and eloquent writer
  • B.S. in Agriculture
  • General knowledge in conservation planning
  • Self-motivator, optimistic
  • Independent
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Supports the District’s mission and vision
  • Task oriented
  • Works well in team setting


NRCS Liaison
Likely a part time position.

Duties and Responsibilities
 – Answering telephones and directing calls
– Aiding the Farm Bill Assistant with incoming office traffic
– Provide information on programs and application/contract process
– General office tasks such as making copies, preparing mailings, ordering supplies, etc.
– Must be organized, punctual and friendly. This is the first person contract holders see when coming into the field office
– Represent both the NRCS and SCRCD in the highest regard
– Other tasks deemed necessary by the NRCS Farm Bill Assistant


  • Organized
  • Friendly and professional
  • Knowledgeable in agricultural basics
  • Self-motivator, always looking for next task at hand
  • Patient
  • Task oriented, effective prioritization
  • Willingness to learn details of several programs and associated application process
  • Takes direction well
  • Works well in a team setting
  • Eye for detail
  • Excellent communication skills


Fall and Winter gardening

If you are a member of the Butte County Farm Bureau than you are familiar with the regular UCCE Master Garden Column by Bill Parish in each issue of the BCFB Farm News. We’re sharing the September/October Column with all you this month. If you’d like to me a member please call the BCFB office at 530-533-1473 or visit

Although the arrival of cooler fall temperatures is a blessing to most, it also signifies the conclusion of the generous summer garden. But the beauty and bounty of a winter garden must not be dismissed.  For an eye-catching winter display, consider planting a vibrant border of leafy greens, such as rainbow chard, red leaf lettuce, or blue curled scotch kale.  Edible flowers, such as pansies or calendulas, planted amongst the vegetables will offer splashes of color throughout the season.


*The following is intended as a rough guide toensure success in the garden and, therefore, fresh food on the table!  Please be aware that planting and harvest dates may vary, depending on location.  For more information visit the Master Gardener website at



Transplant broccoli and cauliflower through mid-September.  Swiss chard, radishes, kale, parsley, and cilantro can be transplanted through late September.

Direct-sow or transplant lettuce every couple of weeks for a continual harvest.

Plant garlic and shallot seeds through October. Hardneck garlic comes in a wide variety of complex flavors; Softneck has a milder flavor and tends to store better than hardneck.

Direct-seed or transplant spinach.


Enjoy the bounty of summer: tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots, Swiss chard, eggplant, green beans, summer and winter squash, peppers, corn, and melons are all available to harvest.

September marks the culmination of most summer fruits, such as peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots, and apriums.

Apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, olives, kiwis, grapes, and figs will be available at least through October.


Remove and compost any exhausted summer vegetable plants.  Diseased plants should be thrown in the garbage to avoid passing along unwanted pathogens.

Add fully-decomposed compost to the garden in order to provide nutrients and improve soil structure.

If cabbage loopers, aphids, white flies or other pests have been a problem in the past, try using row covers in order to protect the crop.

Protect grapes from hungry birds by draping them with bird netting, or something similar.  Hanging mylar strips or old CDs may work, as well.

Hand¬-pick caterpillars, snails, and slugs off crops.




Continue planting radishes, lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, and garlic.

Direct-sow snow and snap peas from late October through mid-November for an early spring harvest.

Consider planting a nitrogen-fixing cover crop, such as fava beans, to help improve the soil.  Don’t forget to plant a few to harvest, as well!

Onion seeds can be direct-sown through mid-November.  Short- and neutral-day types will perform the best in our northern region.


Depending on the weather, some of the summer crops may still be producing harvestable crops.  Otherwise, carrots, Swiss chard, and lettuce will be the main producers.

Apples, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, olives, kiwis, grapes, and figs are available.


The brown marmorated stink bug, a serious pest of fruits and vegetables, will likely be moving indoors looking for a warm place to spend the winter.  Exclude them by making sure all cracks are sealed and doors are tight.

Of Note: 

One of the most common mistakes in fall gardening is over-watering.  As the temperatures decrease, so do the water needs of each plant.  Adjusting irrigation according to weather will not only keep crops healthy and happy, but will aid in the conservation of water.

Controlling Winged Water-Primrose

Best Management Practices for the control of Winged Water-Primrose (WWP)

Winged Water-Primrose (Ludwigia decurrens) is a non-native weed that was identified in Butte County rice fields in 2011. In February of 2016, the California Department of Food and Agriculture Division of Plant Health’s pest ratings made the determination that WWP is an “A” rated weed pest and a “P” rated seed pest (prohibited). These ratings have the potential to impact certified rice fields and the movement of seed as well as the export of rice to other countries.

After the initial identification of Winged Water-Primrose in Butte County, it was determined by Farm Advisors and the Agricultural Commissioner that the distribution extends over several square miles. Most infestations are along borders of rice fields and irrigation and drainage canals.

WWP flowers and produces seed capsules at every leaf node starting when the plant is small (~ 1 foot tall). Seed capsules contain thousands of seeds which are viable before the light brown seed coat is formed. Early monitoring and control are essential. The seed capsules can float on the water surface and are readily dispersed along irrigation canals. The seed can germinate in shallow water or moist soil. Based on field observations WWP will germinate from mid-May through mid-September. Season long vigilance is required. Once established, WWP will survive in a flooded rice field and set seed. Also, part of the WWP root system floats in the water. Root segments will quickly produce new plants. Care must be taken when physically removing the plants to ensure that root segments are not allowed to move in the water canals. This suggests that mowing of levees as a means of control may potentially increase dispersal of this weed. Field observations also indicate that WWP is spread by tillage and harvest equipment.

Results from UC Researchers Albert Fischer and Jim Eckert preliminary research on this weed: “Behavior of Ludwigia decurrens (winged primrose willow) and herbicide options for control” are available via the UC Rice Blog .

In an effort to manage and control WWP and stop the spread, the Agricultural Commissioner is requesting that Best Management Practices (BMP’s) be followed. The BMP’s were developed by stakeholders including UC Extension, Rice Experiment Station, irrigation districts and rice industry representatives. The ultimate goal for the the Winged-Water Primrose project is eradication of this invasive weed, however, in the short term our goal is to “manage and control” the weed.


Best Management Practices for the control of Winged Water-Primrose (WWP)

1. Monitoring and Surveillance of WWP:
a. Staff from the Agricultural Commissioner’s office and Rice Experiment Station will
conduct routine surveys of fields and ditch banks beginning in mid-April through
September. We ask for your full cooperation with this project, including easy
access to the fields in the control zone.
b. Any potential or suspected WWP locations should be reported to the Agricultural
Commissioner at 530-538-7381 or to the Rice Experiment Station at 530-868-5481.
This process will allow for verification, monitoring, and recording of WWP sites.

2. Use of Herbicides to control WWP: Herbicides options may vary depending on the location
of the weed (e.g. field edge, in the field, production system, ditch bank etc.). Follow all
herbicide label requirements, the application of herbicides must comply with the label for the
site to be treated, rates, and timing. The UC research report mentioned on the first page
presents results on herbicide efficacies to control WWP.
a. Treatment of WWP sites will be done in cooperation with participants including
confirmation with grower, land owner or agency.

3. Water Management: Maintain continuous flood and recommended water levels in fields
(checks) that have been found with WWP. Leather’s method, pin point flood, dry down weed control techniques provide suitable conditions for the growth of WWP.

4. Rogueing: When needed, rogue WWP plants, as well as floating shoots, and place in a
plastic bag at site. Promptly dispose plastic bags containing WWP at designated dumpster
at BUCRA “Riceton” facility (8am-3pm) or at the landfill. Do not carry the rogued WWP around in the pickup for a few days. Circumstances where rogueing may be preferred include: infestation across a field, organic rice fields or if plants have already produced seed pods. Herbicide treatment does not appear to kill the seeds. The plant may be dead but the seeds remain viable. Care should be taken to remove all of the floating root system when rogueing to discourage vegetative propagation.

5. Burning: The Agricultural Commissioner has contacted the Butte County Air Quality
Management District (BCAQMD) to prioritize fields/checks/ditches and drains containing
WWP for burning. BCAQMD burn permits are required and air quality restrictions must be

6. Tillage and harvest equipment: All equipment that has entered WWP areas or sites, should be cleaned (washed) at site prior to the movement out of the WWP area/site. It is
recommended to till and/or harvest the fields where WWP has been found last.

Certified Rice Seed: Growers should only plant certified rice seed, since the pest is not permitted in seed production fields or in any class of certified rice seed. Farm saved seed originating in the control zone is not recommended. Varieties of rice that are not in the official seed certification program should not be used if the seed source is from impacted areas.

 A map of confirmed WWP sites/locations and pictures of what WWP looks like at different growth stages can be found here. We will provide udpated WWP information and links at our website. Should you have any questions, please contact Robert Hill, Evan Padgett, or myself at 530-538-7381.

This information was provide by Louie Mendoza, Butte County Ag Commissioner to all property owners and operators  who farm rice on April 28, 2016 .  You can find the full report with additional images on the Butte County Ag Commissioner Website. 

BIT Workshop June 1st

BIT Program Update on June 1

The California High Patrol will provide an overview on the Basic Inspection of Terminals (BIT) Program to Butte County Farm Bureau members on Wednesday, June 1 at 12 PM at the BCFB office in Oroville. Lunch will be provided for those who RSVP their attendance. A law signed in 2013 approved changes to the BIT program that went into effect on January 1, 2016.

The new changes include the addition of a class of vehicles not previously included in the rule; category (J) commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) between 10,001-26,000 pounds. This means that standard box pickup trucks or pickups that have an “altered” bed (flat bed, utility body, etc) with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds that are used commercially (associated with commerce or business) will be subject to the Motor Carrier Permit program which will then trigger the BIT program. Operators of category (J) vehicles will also be required to track hours of duty status as well as 90 day vehicle inspection records.

Category (K) includes any commercial motor vehicle (as defined in CVC subdivision (b) of Section 15210) with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds or a commercial motor vehicle of any GVWR towing a vehicle with a GVWR of more than 10,000 pounds. If you use a vehicle for your farming, ranching or affiliated business that meets the description above for Categories (J) or (K), please plan on attending this upcoming workshop. Call the BCFB office at (530) 533-1473 to RSVP for the meeting. There is no charge to attend for Farm Bureau members.

Photo courtesy of Holly Foster, Foster Ranch