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Monday, November 28, 2016

Thankful

Thanksgiving was a few days ago now and our stomachs are probably still trying to recover from the turkey and pumpkin pie overload. But I wanted to stop and reflect. On thanksgiving it is amazing the overflowing amount of thankfulness. It seems everyone took to Facebook and all social media to list what they are thankful for. But what happened next?


Well some when shopping for Black Friday deals, some started Christmas decorating Saturday, some fought traffic on Sunday and then we all went back to work on Monday. Back to the same old grind, back to the same routine, back to our same old self.


What happened to all those thankful people? We are quick to forget what meant so much to us a few days ago. As we prepare our list of Holiday "wants", as we push people through department stores for that special something, as we load up on holiday gifts, lets stop to think.


So, today I wanted to remind you all today and everyday, to stop and be thankful. Being thankful doesn't stop with the day, the season, the company. Being thankful should continue with us through Christmas and into the next year. Being thankful should be a daily recognition.


Everyday, we all need to stop and take a deep breathe to enjoy the loved ones who surround us and be thankful for all the blessings we have. Today and everyday.

Blessings are sometimes hard to see in a world with so much hate but everyday is a day to be thankful.

I am thankful for this little guy and all the family who support me and love me in this crazy journey.

I am thankful for my faith, the opportunity to believe what I believe, and to know God has bigger plans beyond what I can conceive.

I am thankful for farmers who take pride in what they do, and wake up every morning to provide food for this great nation and world.

Everyday is a reminder to stop and count your blessings and be thankful for all, each and every day!



Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny

Monday, November 14, 2016

Why am I an agvocate?

Today marks a milestone in my life. It seems crazy to me, but I have been blogging for three years now. Most days I feel like I am a newbie and am still getting my feet wet in this whole thing. Some days, I feel like I have been doing this forever and struggle with what and how to say things. Blogging has taught me one thing though, I am an advocate for agriculture. An agvocate if you will.


Writing this blog is merely one aspect of being an agvocate. I blog, I am active on social media with agriculture discussions, I do agriculture interviews for magazines and newspapers, I serve on a number of boards and committees that represent agriculture. But why? Why am I an agvocate?








Lately, I have noticed more and more that not everyone understands why people agvocate. I don't simply do this because I woke up one morning and it sounded fun. Some days, it isn't fun at all. The days people question my agenda, my desire, my passion, those days make me mad. But something I have come to realize, it that not everyone gets it. Not everyone loves what they do. Some look at their job as a mere job. Some look for negative in others. Some are jealous.


I take pride in what I do. I grew up with a passion for agriculture, it was instilled in me by people who loved what they did. My parents and grandparents loved farming, it wasn't a job, it was an opportunity to enjoy your daily life. I always knew I wanted to love my life as they did.


Agriculture is loving the land, cherishing the land that allows you to prosper from it. I learned at a young age, that if you loved the land it would love you back. You treat the land well, and it will do well. Or we wouldn't be able to pass that land on. One day, if my children so desire, I want them to have the same opportunities I had. If they want to farm, I want there to be a farm for them.


California is in a tough place. California agriculture is struggling to survive. Farmers are a dying breed. Without families and individuals sharing what we do and how we do it, we will cease to exist. My great Grandfather settled in Chico, California from Italy. He came to California to be a farmer. He came to a new land with hopes and aspirations that he knew America could offer him. Today, farmers' hopes are to simply stay in business next year. If I don't share my story, who will?



Agvocating gives me a means to share my love and passion for agriculture. It is a chance to share my story. Share me. Be authentic. Be myself.


Not everyone will like it. Not everyone will appreciate it. But I don't do this for others. I don't share for you. I share for me, my future. If I don't share my story, someone else will. And then it won't be right. If I just sit back and let others talk, my message won't be told; their message will be.


California agriculture has to succeed. I have to succeed. My livelihood and my children's future depends on it. Agriculture and farming are not a job to me, they are my life. Farming is a way of life, a lifestyle. A lifestyle that teaches work ethic, responsibility, dedication, appreciation, and love. My dream is that some day my children will also learn those qualities the way I did. By being an agvocate I am planning for the future.





Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny







Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Inside Look: Weiss McNair, Nut harvesting equipment

I have found myself to be quite the tour junkie lately. Any chance I can get to see the inside look of how things are made or just learn different processes, I am so there! I had the opportunity to have an inside look into one of the leading nut harvesting equipment manufacturing facility's and I couldn't help but want to share it with all of you. This is not an endorsement or paid post, this is my honest opinion of a farmer tour I received.



Weiss McNair is a leader in nut harvesting equipment manufacturing. The company began in 1966 and they have grown to have quite the extensive portfolio of tractor-pulled and self-propelled harvesters, self-propelled sweepers, tractor mounted blowers, and tractor mounted sweepers. Their equipment is designed to be used in a variety of nut crops including almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, chestnuts and jojoba beans. Because everyone is looking for jojoba bean harvesting equipment, lol!
They are based out of Chico, Ca and while a majority of their equipment is sold in the nut growing regions of the United States, they also have equipment in Canada, Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Australia, Spain, France, Italy, Israel, Portugal, South Africa and Turkey. I know what your thinking, that's it?




Now, I think that's pretty impressive for a small town manufacturer. To be honest, growing up this manufacturer was right in my backyard and I had no idea the extent of their business until I toured their facility myself. Who knew such precise and top notch equipment could be made in a small town?
My family has always done business with Weiss McNair and I guess it just never dawned on me that their equipment could be used to help farmers so far away as well as right here in California.


The tour was pretty cool and overwhelming with lots of large equipment and metal everywhere. I will do my best to explain the manufacturing side of how these useful machines are made, but boy was it impressive.





My tour began with the laser cutter. This massive monstrosity precisely cuts down the metal to be used to build their equipment. The operator simply tells the machine what size and dimensions of metal it needs and this cutter gets busy. This machine saves time and man power of the previous method of hand cutting the metal. I really can't describe how large this metal cutter is, but it was huge.
Laser Metal Cutter
 The finished product is precisely cut pieces of metal that can now be welded together to form a piece of equipment. Here Mr Terry Allread, Director of Manufacturing, shows one finished piece that will soon become a side door for a nut harvester.
Mr. Terry Allread showing a finished piece.
All of those precisely cut and welded pieces come together to form different nut harvesting equipment. Magic! It is crazy how metal, nuts, bolts and welds come together to form such diverse equipment.
Stack of blowers to be used for sweepers


 These blower blades were once sheets of metal waiting to be cut by the laser. Now, they are cut to size, and the holes were cut for bolts. The blades and the associated pieces of metal have all gone from a flat sheet of metal to a useful tool in the harvesting of almonds.



Sweeper engine and machine coming together
Now the frame of the sweeper has to be assembled, which includes a lot of welding!! This helps make the space for the engine to be mounted into the new machine. This is just the start of assembling the sweeper. There are A LOT of hydraulic and electronic components that come next.

Open cab sweeper
Completed low profile enclosed cab sweeper
Completed Tractor pulled V sweeper
Next, there are multiple options that a sweeper can be made into for finishing the machine. Growers preferences vary depending on use, locations, and crop. And this is just sweepers, the same process occurs with all other nut harvesting lines they manufacture.

California Special nut harvester

From the raw materials that they start with, to the finished product the manufacturing of these machines is precise and a very sophisticated process.  It's hard to describe in words just how massive and impressive this facility was. If you ever find yourself in Chico, I suggest you stop by and check it out for yourself. I sure do have a new appreciation for those sweepers sitting in our shop yard. And just maybe now you have had an inside look into one component of nut harvesting equipment.






Until Next Time,
Almond Girl Jenny