One student sat in the driver’s seat of a nut harvester being assembled at Flory Industries in Salida.
Another saw how Hilmar Cheese Co. ensures that its products are safe to eat. Still another learned how Duarte Nursery in Hughson produces young fruit and nut trees for farmers.
Thursday provided a chance for job shadowing through Doing What Matters, a state program based in part at Modesto Junior College. Some of the students were videotaped as part of the effort to spread the idea among high schools.
“Job shadowing is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of what a future career can look like,” said Andrew Skidmore of Atwater, who spent the day at Flory and is state president of the National FFA Organization.
Other students shadowed food processors, such as Patterson Nut Co. and the Traina Foods dried fruit and tomato operation in the same town. Lander Veterinary Clinic, near Hilmar, showed how it helps with dairy cow reproduction and milk quality. Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital demonstrated another side of the profession in Turlock.
E.&J. Gallo Winery of Modesto took part, as did Sacramento firms involved in ag-related law, lobbying and public relations.
Flory employs about 300 people in design, fabrication, sales and service of orchard and vineyard equipment. It mainly serves the booming almond and walnut industries in California but also has customers in places such as South Africa, Peru, Portugal and Australia.
Skidmore plans to study agriculture engineering and entrepreneurship at Iowa State University after his year as FFA president. His twin sister, Amanda Skidmore, is state FFA secretary.
The host at Flory was Kevin Moules, engineering shop supervisor and holder of bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ag engineering. Job shadowing, he said, “gives them a taste of what we do, some exposure to what that job entails.”
The day’s organizers included Lori Marchy, whose job title at MJC is deputy sector navigator for agriculture, water and environment for the Central Valley and Mother Lode.
“Students get to see a true eight-hour workday, to see if that’s a career they want to have,” she said. That could mean, she added, that a veterinary hospital might not be the career for someone queasy about seeing blood.
John Holland: 209-578-2385