Why haven’t you joined?

By Lee Heringer, Butte County Farm Bureau 1st Vice President

The Butte County Farm Bureau is represented by growers, farmers and ag business owners. We at BCFB are a part of the California Farm Bureau Federation, representing everything in the state from tree crops to timber, livestock to lettuce. Without membership at the local level, the County would be ill represented at the State level. That is the definition of grassroots. The BCFB Board is made up of your friends and neighbors. We reside in the furthest north areas of Vina to the southernmost reaches of Wyandotte sub basin, from the foothills to the east and west to the Sacramento River. We are farmers, ranchers, processors, bankers and ag industry professionals who take the time to study the issues and decide what we believe is the best course of action for our members. The county board is open for anyone who wants to take the time to look at the bigger picture and learn, in much more detail, about the industry that supports us all.

We here locally have been able to foster leadership and advocacy, at the local and state level, for our issues and be vocal enough to be heard. Work is being done every day on your behalf. It may not show sometimes, after all it is an uphill battle in California. The work of educating lawmakers, debating issues with regulators and legislators, lobbying for private property rights and against bur- densome laws and onerous taxes are responsibilities that Farm Bureau, both locally and at the State level, have been taking on for decades. We have a full time staff who work tirelessly on our issues. You’ve seen them on the news and you’ve seen them at meetings. They are hard at work defending our existence.

As we all know, it has become a full time job on the farm to simply remain compliant. Laws spring up every day deal- ing with issues we are all too aware of. The Food Safety Modernization Act for example, requires every farm to have someone on staff trained to recognize potential threats to food safety. This goes into such detail that wildlife intrusion into your fields and employee hand washing are included. Another example is the Farm Evaluation Survey and corresponding Sediment Erosion Plan if appropriate. We are lucky to have an irrigated education coordinator in the Butte County Farm Bureau office. In this capacity we are able to act as a local voice to State regulators, and help guide you through the process using public outreach meetings we’ve all attended, as well as shield you from further scrutiny.

Farming has become more than simply planting, growing, harvesting and selling. It has become a nearly daily battle of defending your right to farm, that what you are doing is important and necessary. There aren’t many industries under such an assault. Those that are have organizations defending their way of life and their livelihoods. We have Farm Bureau. Farm Bureau is known as the organization that is in the room when decisions are made. When there is something being decided upon, we have people in the room voicing our side. We may not win them all, but it’s not from lack of trying.

One cannot put their head down and ignore what’s coming. The State relies on farmers to do just that. They view California agricultures diversity of crops as a negative for us, banking on different segments of this industry fracturing and protecting their own. Many regulations and especially lawsuits are first introduced into the more rural areas without a lot of money or legal availability. The idea is to build up these easy wins while the rest of the State doesn’t pay attention, saying “that’s their problem.” Pretty soon, and with a full head of steam, the legal precedent is set and it is everybody’s problem.

Even if you are not interested in the politics, your membership dues go towards progreams you can benefit from, such as Grower Day, which pro- vides growers with valuable information as well as CE credits for PCA’s, CCA’s and BYS outreach hours. The Drive Thru BBQ’s, where all proceeds go to scholarships for local high school students bound for Ag related higher education.

You may not be the type who wants to speak up and voice your opinion, but it is important to support those who do it for you. You might not agree with everything the Farm Bureau does, but the overall goal is to continue the Butte County legacy of agriculture into the future. Join up and show your support for the industry that literally puts food on the table. Become involved, join the board, read Ag Alert, contribute to FARMPAC. Come to some meetings (it’s not a secret; they are the first Thursday of every month).

For those of you who are already members, we’d like to thank you for your support. You recognize the importance of the work being done behind the scenes advocating for our industry. For those of you who aren’t, I’d like to offer an invitation to join the fight, in whatever capacity you see fit. It’s never too late to join. Our membership coordinator, Amy Alves, can assist you with any questions you may have regarding your membership. Call her at the office or chat with any board member you may run into at the next meeting.

Welcome Rachel Castanon to BCFB

Rachel Castanon joined the Butte County Farm Bureau team in early August as a Program Coordinator. Rachel will be managing and helping BCFB staff and Board with our many member programs and eventsIMG_6731 throughout the year. You will likely find her answering the phone and she’ll be the first smiling face you see when you visit our office.  She will also serve as the Butte County Outreach and Education Coordinator for the Butte Yuba Sutter Water Quality Coalition. We are excited to have Rachel as part of our Farm Bureau family and we want you to get to know her a bit better. The following Q & A was printed in September/October Butte County Farm News.

Briefly describe where you are originally from and how long you’ve been in Butte County. 
Since I was born! I’ve been raised in Butte County and now coming on 24 years of living in Butte County. I moved away for school for three years, but always returned home.

Where did you attend school and what was your area of study?
After I graduated from Las Plumas High School, I attended Modesto Junior College on an Agriculture Internship where I was an intern in the Agriculture Division Office. I lived on the farm in a housing complex for all 28 Agriculture Interns where I studied Animal Science and Agriculture Business. After two years at Modesto Junior College I transferred to Oklahoma State University for a year and realized how much I missed Butte County and transferred to Chico State University to continue my study of Animal Science and Agriculture Business.

What area of Agriculture are you involved in?
My involvement in agriculture started at a young age, but bloomed in High School where I was fortunate enough to have the best agriculture teachers who took me under their wing and opened many doors of interest to me. I got involved with breeding cattle, sheep, swine, and communication committees to voice the importance of agriculture.

What other organizations are you apart of?
I am involved with the California Paint Horse Association and I am very excited to be a part of the Farm Bureau organization.

What is your big accomplishment in the last 5 years? Or something you are proud to have done or be apart of?
One of my recent accomplishments that I am very proud of is completing my HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) certification. I was fortunate enough to travel with three other Chico State students and our professor to San Antonio, Texas to compete in the American Meat Science Associations quiz bowl to represent Chico State. I was also responsible for composing and executing a recipe for a shelf stable snack stick as well as creating the HACCP plan to go with it. It was an experience I am very pleased to have in my life.

Where’s your favorite vacation spot?
My favorite vacation spot is Half Moon Bay  because it is a close weekend getaway with multiple beaches to visit and watch the surfers and enjoy some good food. If I get a chance for a longer vacation, I would be on the plane to Hawaii.

If you could meet anybody in the world who would it be and why?
At a very young age I was singing into my karaoke machine to George Strait, to the point where no one could understand a word I was saying. I can most likely still be found singing karaoke to George Strait sounding likely the same. If I could meet one person in the world it would have to be George Strait and I pray it is on his ranch so I can get a tour of it.

What else is there to know about you?  –spouse, kids, hobbies…
I am a very active individual and always on the go or looking for something to do. I train with a fitness instructor and am in the gym on my days off training. I love food so  I am very focused on staying fit. During  summer down time, I am most likely to be found wake-boarding or fishing on the lake. I was born a horse loving girl and still am today. Recently I bought a 2 year old filly that I cannot wait to start showing in western pleasure events. Also, when I get the chance, I enjoy taking a trip to the bay to watch the Giants or just to visit a couple beaches to soak up the ocean air and enjoy some good seafood.

BCFB Statement on Settlement Reached in Duarte Case

For Immediate Release
Colleen Cecil

Statement from Clark Becker, Butte County Farm Bureau President on the settlement reached in Federal case against California Farmer John Duarte:

“I don’t know a single farmer that would have stood up to the Federal Government for as long as John Duarte did. At the same time, we also can’t blame him for settling and protecting his family.”

“When it is your family that would ultimately suffer, you do what you have to do to protect them. The Federal Government assessed the worth of multiple generations of the Duarte family and their agricultural business to threaten John with a penalty so large it would have ruined his life and the lives of his 500 employees and their families. Settling for a lessor penalty was his best case scenario unfortunately, and the Federal Government knew that.”

“We thank John Duarte, Duarte Nursery, Inc. and the Pacific Legal Foundation for keeping the spotlight on the confusing, conflicting and misinterpreted government regulations that businesses are expected to understand and follow and a Federal agency interpreting a clear law to accomplish its own agenda with zero regard for fact, science or humanity.”

Standing Up for Duarte Nursery

On Aug 11, 2017, the Butte County Farm Bureau introduced a challenge to all California County Farm Bureau’s and all State and County Farm Bureau’s in the US to make a donation to the Duarte Legal fund of $10 per agriculture member of each County Farm Bureau.
Butte County Farm Bureau President Clark Becker said, “John Duarte has put his family’s entire livelihood at risk to fight for you – America’s Farmers and Ranchers. He will soon have the opportunity to appeal the judges ruling and it is our turn to support him and stand up to protect our farms.”

What is the issue?
The United States government is prosecuting California farmer John Duarte and Duarte Nursery, Inc. of Hughson California under the Clean Water Act for planting wheat in a wheat field in Tehama County, California. The wetlands in question had been farmed to wheat many times prior, were farmed in the same manner as many hundreds of thousands of other acreages, and are still fully functioning as wetlands.


Plowing is legal under the Clean Water Act, but so far the United States government has successfully argued that plowing is only legal if it does not move soil. The Duarte’s, like other farmers, have yet to understand how plowing can be done without moving soil. If this unprecedented prosecution succeeds, it threatens nearly every farm in the United States.

Who are the Duarte’s?
The Duarte Family is a multigenerational farming family in California. Their main business is Duarte Nursery, Inc. in Hughson, CA, which annually employs up to 700 people and serves over 1,500 farm customers with nursery trees and vines.

What did they do to trigger this prosecution?
In 2012 the Duarte’s planted winter wheat on the property. Wheat plantings and the shallow tillage involved have never triggered regulation, nor required permitting prior to this case. The prosecution got started when a federal bureaucrat confused the shallow 4-6 inch tillage operation with 3-4 feet deep ripping for vineyard or orchard preparation.

In February of 2013 the Duarte’s received a letter from the federal government ordering them to cease and desist all work on the property. The Duartes requested a hearing to establish facts. They were not granted a hearing. Through the Pacific Legal Foundation, the Duartes sued for a Constitutional violation of their Fifth Amendment right to due process. There is direct evidence that this destruction of wetlands suit is in retaliation for the Duartes civil rights action against the government.

What are the penalties being sought?
$2.8M in direct penalty, loss of use of their land, and $20-$30 million in additional mitigation paid to a private third-party organization. These penalties are not based on environmental harm, but rather on the government’s assessment of how much it can squeeze from the Duartes. No farmer or investor in farming could afford these kinds of penalties for a mere wheat crop.

What wetlands are jurisdictional under the CWA?
The Clean Water Act regulates “navigable water of the United States … ” Courts and agencies have greatly expanded what most would consider navigable waters, to include large areas of property that are bone-dry most of the year, except for when they pool small amounts of water in the wet season.

This prosecution is brought under the rules that existed before the Obama Administration promulgated the new rule in 2015- the “WOTUS Rule”- expanding the Clean Water Act. That WOTUS Rule has been stayed by the federal courts, and the Trump Administration has formally proposed the new rule’s repeal. In other words, Duarte is being prosecuted under the definition of “navigable waters” that existed before the Obama Administration’s rule, and which would exist if the Trump Administration is successful in repealing that new rule.

Aren’t farming practices excluded from CWA enforcement?
Yes. Originally very broadly. Federal agencies are attempting to greatly narrow the original intent to include only lands that are continuously farmed to the same or similar crops, and then only if that farming does not involve moving soil. This is unworkable for farmers who must plow their land to plant crops, and adapt to markets. Wheat prices were very low for decades until the global food shortages that occurred between 2009 and 2013. We can recall tortilla riots in Mexico City, the Arab Spring and high food inflation with low wage growth during this period. This narrow interpretation is not only unworkable for farmer; it also threatens national food security and is anti-human.

What are the civil rights issues?
The case started with a Fifth Amendment Due Process claim that asserted that the Duartes had a right to an impartial hearing before they could be deprived of their right to farm their land.

The destruction of wetlands counterclaim was justified by a Federal attorney with the statement, “They’re suing us so we are suing them back.” This is a First Amendment free speech violation against the Duartes.

The Eighth Amendment is usually noted for protection against cruel and unusual punishment yet also protects us from ruinous fines. The prosecution’s stated penalties in this case are clearly aimed at being ruinous.

What has the Judge ruled so far?
That Duartes shallow tillage violated the Clean Water Act, and that the federal government is immune from suit even when it violates constitutional rights.

This doesn’t sound right. Is there more to the story?
No. It really is just a wheat field with 4-7 inch tillage. Field tours are available.

The Duarte Nursery, Inc legal and lobbying teams are in full operation. In California, the legal team is preparing for trial, which begins August 15, 2017. This will be a $500k effort alone.

In Washington DC, the Duarte Nursery Inc. lobbying team is working to access multiple agencies in the Trump administration. This is an additional costly effort.

The Pacific Legal Foundation is prosecuting the Constitutional claims against the U.S. government.

The California Farm Bureau Federation has created the Duarte Defense Account, which has received over $100K in donations from Farm Bureaus and other agriculture advocacy groups nationwide. The Butte County Farm Bureau Challenge will ask for funds to be submitted to the California Farm Bureau Federation for collection and distribution.

If you wish to donate via the Butte County Farm Bureau/California Farm Bureau, donate online here or mail your donations to :
California Farm Bureau Federation
2300 River Plaza Drive
Sacramento, CA 95833
Check Memo Line: Duarte/Tehama Wetland Defense Fund

Protect the Harvest Foundation will be coordinating additional private donations to the Duarte Nursery, Inc. defense.

Donations are being accepted at Go Fund Me.

Resources: Duarte Tehema – Duarte Stands Up Facebook Page


Gall Busters are Busting the Gall in Growers Sides

Crown gall is a disease that has been plaguing walnut growers for decades It costs the industry millions with crop loss, replacing trees and laborious treatments that seem to be never ending. Gall Buster is a chemical treatment for crown gall that hit the retail market in 2016 as an environmentally friendly, worker safe and time saving product to effectively treat infected trees.

Caused by a naturally occurring bacteria in all soils, crown ball is a cancer like growth on the trunk and roots of walnut and almond trees. It acts very much like a cancer in humans and the bacteria changes the DNA structure of the cells infected causing rapid, tumor like growths. It can stunt a trees growth, reduce production and even kill the tree.

Sutter County walnut grower John Lewin experienced firsthand the devastation that can come with a crown gall infection and sought for an economical and safe way to treat the disease. Working with a chemical engineer at University of California, Davis, Lewin developed Gall Buster which has been proven in field test as an effective treatment for crown gall.

“Necessity is the mother of all invention,” said Lewin. “I was exhausted trying to treat the crown gall in my orchard not to mention the costs in time, labor and production loss.”

Lewin planted a new walnut orchard which later became prevalent with crown gall infection. At the time, the only treatment recommended growers was to dig or chop out the crown gall and then burn the effected tissue. This long laborious project could take over 45 minutes per gall. As a small grower, it was a never-ending job.

In 2002, he started mixing and experimenting with treating crown gall in his own orchard. He quickly saw that his invention was highly effective. With neighbor’s encouragement, Lewin sent the product for a field test in 2011 that came back with astounding results of 97 to 100 percent effective. Lewin knew that the product could be valuable to the California walnut industry and started the process to get it approved for use.

“I want to provide a service to other growers,” said Lewin. “Growers need help treating crown gall like I did.”

After five years working with the Environmental Protection Agency, Gall Buster was deemed Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) and approved by the EPA. An additional year to get through the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and Gall Buster was on the market and helping growers.

Since Gall Busters founded in 2008, over 150,000 trees have been effectively treated. Gall Busters, located in Yuba City, Calif. is a full-service company. They can come out and treat the crown gall with Gall Buster for you and sell Gall Buster for growers to self-treat. For more information visit www.gallbusters.com or call Lewin at 1(800)330-5521.

Friday Review – 4.7

Stay up to date with important news of the week with the weekly Friday Review.

California Legislature votes to raise gas taxes, vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year for road repairs and transit [Los Angeles Times]

After a week of fierce debate between opposing interests, the state Legislature on Thursday approved a plan to raise gas taxes and vehicle fees by $5.2 billion a year to pay for the repair of California’s pothole-ridden, decaying system of roads, highways and bridges. The bill squeaked through the Senate on a 27-11 vote and cleared the Assembly with 54 votes, the bare minimum required in both houses. The measure sparked suspenseful wrangling in the waning hours of Thursday, with Assembly Democrats initially three votes short of securing the two-thirds threshold needed to approve a new tax. Ultimately, all but one Assembly Democrat, Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield), backed the bill. View Article

Salinas Valley ag industry coalition agrees to pilot replacement drinking water program [Monterey County Herald]

A coalition of 21 Salinas Valley landowners, agricultural companies and operators have reached an agreement with state water regulators to provide replacement drinking water for some 850 rural Salinas Valley residents whose small water systems and domestic wells have been contaminated with nitrates. Without admitting responsibility for the contamination, the Salinas Basin Agricultural Stewardship Group has agreed in cooperation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to supply drinking water for up to two years starting this month to those whose water exceeds state and federal nitrate standards, according to a release issued Thursday. View Article

Environmental groups suing EPA over allowing continued use of controversial pesticide [Capital Public Radio]

Environmental groups are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to allow the continued use of a controversial pesticide, widely used on crops in California. The groups say the EPA needs to ban Chlorpyrifos….Cynthia Cory with the California Farm Bureau says her organization is happy with the recent move by the EPA. She says the bureau wants five years for risk assessment, even if that means restrictions will eventually be put in place. “We’ll live with that as long as we’re doing it not in the courts but with the scientists and the risk-assessment process,” says Cory. View Article

We Are Farm Bureau – Clark Becker

Farm Bureau members get involved for various reasons. For some it’s benefits, others it’sClark and Kourtney - small
the advocacy or even the networking opportunities. Current Butte County Farm Bureau President, Clark Becker joined Farm Bureau for the discount he received on his Worker’s Compensation Insurance. However, he quickly learned there is much more to Farm Bureau than discounts.

“The biggest benefit of being a Farm Bureau member is all the resources that we have to keep our industry in the fight,” said Becker. “Without Farm Bureau, the regulations that we all complain about now would be so much greater and we would not be able to stay in business. Whether it be at the local, State or Federal level Farm Bureau is there fighting for us.”

His passion for agriculture began as a child growing up on a small walnut ranch in Gridley. Before he started farming on his own, Becker attended California State University, Chico where he earned a bachelor of science in agriculture business. After college, he and a friend started farming rice and a custom spraying operation.

“My father farmed rice until I was five and the farming bug was stuck to me,” said Becker. “I enjoyed working in our orchard and often couldn’t wait to get home from school so I could go drive some type of equipment on the ranch.”

Becker relies on Farm Bureau to be an accurate resource of information for his daily farming operation. He often calls Butte and California Farm Bureau Federation staff for help in addressing issues and knows there is always somewhere there to answer his questions or take the time to find the right answer.

“The resources that Farm Bureau brings are endless and will be a huge asset to you if you so choose to use them,” said Becker “All of us pay some type of assessment on the crops we grow that goes to supporting only that commodity. Only Farm Bureau is there fighting for all of agriculture.”

Though being the president of Butte County Farm Bureau takes a lot of his time, Clark, his wife of 20 years Kourtney and their three boys, Jackson, Charlie and George farm walnuts in Gridley and rice in Butte, Colusa, Yolo and Yuba counties. He is also partners in a wetland restoration and land leveling business that works on duck clubs and ranches across Northern California. In his spare time, he also enjoys spending time with his family snowmobiling in the winter, Jeeping in the summer and hauling his son George to High School Rodeos.

Are You a Farm Bureau Member?

A letter from Darren Rice, Butte County Farm Bureau 1st Vice President

The Butte County Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization led by farmers and ranchers –Darren the people you know. In fact, one of your neighbors is probably on our Board of Directors.

But what does grassroots organization mean? 2016 is a perfect year to reflect on what it means to be a grassroots organization. In 2015 the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) passed the California Legislature. SGMA put in motion a requirement for counties to establish a sustainable groundwater management plan in phases. 2016 was the year that Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSA) were established to come together in 2017 to start working on what the groundwater management plan for Butte County may look like.

The GSA’s represent the people in their areas in the SGMA process. So who are your GSA’s? The irrigation districts were eligible and applied to be GSA’s, however that left a large portion of Butte County growers out of the conversation. Those not farming in and paying into a surface water irrigation district where to be represented by the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation (the County). Concerned growers in the “White Area’s” weren’t being adequately represented, the BCFB pulled members of the agriculture community together to advocate for their need to be represented. This resulted in the formation of the Groundwater Pumpers Advisory Committee (GPAC) to advise the County going forward in how they feel the groundwater management plan should look and to ensure ALL growers are represented.

That is what it means to be grassroots. To start from the bottom, gather people and work together to represent agriculture and growers. That is what Farm Bureau does for you every day.

We work vigorously here in Butte County and Sacramento talking, educating and providing information to County supervisors, legislators and regulators by advocating for farmers, Ag businesses, property rights, water rights and to protect growers from excess taxes like oppressively burdensome laws. We advocate for common sense solutions.

You can no longer afford to just skim the surface of information in front of you. Farming has changed and will never be the same as it was when our fathers and grandfathers were farming. Keeping up with the deadlines and requirements of regulation and rules most of which are government related are going to be part of your daily farming and ranching requirements. People often call the BCFB office and ask “how do you get rid of this regulation?” The short answer is you can’t. We as farmers have a tremendous talent of ignoring an issue until it’s pushed in our face; we can’t do that anymore. Many of the regulations we are burdened with start in small areas. The rest of agriculture turns a blind eye and says “oh that’s that areas problem, it doesn’t affect me.” That’s not true! State agencies and environmental organizations have a time and time again, used the strategy of starting small and ultimately spreading the regulation or law suit across the State. It works because ag traditionally does not unite. It’s time for that to change.

So what can you do? It’s simple: Join Farm Bureau. It’s time for ag to get back to its grassroots, come together from the ground up and effect change. If we all joined together, we would be unstoppable. No more balking at commodity or political boundaries. We need to work together. Coming together, joining our roots to hold each other up is how we are going to be able to protect our future and ensure stability for future generations.

Farm Bureau represents all of agriculture and is the best resource to help you fight for your farm. Though you may have been at odds with certain positions in the past, it’s time to look past that and look towards the future. Get involved! And Farm Bureau can help you so you are not navigating the complicated regulatory systems alone. There is literally an alphabet soup of programs and agencies who are all looking to get something from you. The BIT program DPR, WDR, CVFPP, BRCP, SGMA, CUPA, NMP, SALC and WOTUS. I could go on but I won’t.

I tell you this not because I want to elevate your blood pressure. I want you to understand the need to pay attention, be engaged and keep informed. But how? Open every envelope, read every industry email, newsletter and alert, follow your commodity groups Facebook page, make notes on the margins of Ag Alert and don’t be afraid of conference calls, webinars and podcasts. Learn to use tools like California Farm Bureau Federation Farm Team to communicate quickly and effectively with your elected officials.

As a Farm Bureau member, you have access to lots of information. Please take time to attend the many classes Butte County Farm Bureau offers like heat illness prevention, safety training, CPR training, hazmat transportation, nitrogen management plan self-certification and Grower Day.

At the beginning of this column I talked about SGMA. I wish I could tell you that was the only issue of concern for the Farm Bureau. We continue to fight the invasion of commercial marijuana, the Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program continues to change and require more reporting, heat illness requirements, over time pay, minimum wage, you name it! The issues keep coming and we want to be a reliable resource for growers.

We are your advocate and your partner with the rest of the more than 1300 Butte County Farm Bureau members. If you are a member, thank you for your commitment and belief in Farm Bureau. If you are not a member, please consider joining our Farm Bureau. Please call Kayla Wheeler at 530-533-1473 and she can answer your questions and help you get signed up. You can also join online or print and mail an application.

What are you waiting for?

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