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Episode 8 Transcript

Michael Hayes 02/17/2021 22

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Planting Seeds – First Generation Students in Agriculture

Time: 52:34


agriculture, ag, people, celina, students, bre, farmers, community, garrett, talking, field, chico state, soils, first generation students, growing, farm, families, story, important, area


Celina Phillips, He-Lo Ramirez, joshuah whittinghill, Garrett Liles, Introduction Music, Bre Holbert


He-Lo Ramirez 00:01

Heytanayem nikki yam sa He-Lo nikki Mechoopda Maidu. Hello everyone. My name is He-Lo and I’m a Mechoopda Maidu. We acknowledge and are mindful that Chico State stands on lands that were originally occupied by the first people in this area, the Mechoopda. And we recognize their distinctive spiritual relationship with this land and the waters that run through campus. We are humbled that our campus resides upon sacred lands that have sustained the Mechoopda people for centuries, and continue to do so today.


Introduction Music 01:02

Introduction Music


joshuah whittinghill 01:10

Hello, welcome to another episode of First Generation One of Many, this is episode eight, and we’re talking about first generation and the agriculture industry. Unfortunately, today, Teresa Hernandez, the other phenomenal host of the show has been stricken with a migraine, and hopefully is recovering and resting well. I’m Joshua wedding Hill. And our mission on the app on our podcast is to create an archive of discussions within about first generation student experiences in and out of the classroom. We hope to continue raising awareness and understanding provide voice for students and alum as well as presenting resources for faculty, staff and students working for and collaborating with first generation students. And in typical fashion we have a quote for today from Masanobu Fukuoka, a Japanese farmer and philosopher who is known for his natural farming and revegetation practices. In olden times, there were warriors, farmers, craftsmen and merchants. Agriculture was said to be closer to the source of things than trade or manufacturing. And the farmer was said to be the cup bearer of the gods, he was always able to get by somehow or other and have enough to eat. So that’s a wonderful quote leading us right into today’s episode. And our three guests were lucky enough to have three today, all working or attending school at CSU Chico. Our first guest is Bre Holbert. She’s a first generation college student from Lodi, California. She currently serves as the CSU Chico Associated Students president, and was recently awarded the CSU trustees Award for Outstanding Achievement Trustee Emeritus Ali C. Razi Scholar. She attends California State University, Chico and plans to pursue a career as a high school agriculture educator. Her goal is to teach in urban inner city settings to shed light on the agriculture industry to students in ethnic minorities, identifying communities and aid them and reclaiming their stories and agriculture. Welcome Bre. Thanks for being here. How are you?


Bre Holbert 03:21

Doing good. It’s a beautiful Wednesday morning. Whoo. Let’s do it.


joshuah whittinghill 03:25

Yes, yes. It is great. Bree and I are on another committee. So we get to see each other at least usually once every week or once every other week. So it’s good seeing you outside of that, and a little more relaxed fashion, I guess, in a sense, right? Even though that committee we’re on is actually pretty fun and energetic. All right. Our next guest is Celina Phillips. Celina is a professor in the agriculture department or the School of Agriculture, the College of Agriculture, however many how high and we want to go through the hierarchy of names. She serves as the program lead for the animal science program. She has a passion for inclusivity in teaching and supporting Chico state’s first generation students. And last semester she led the first ever faculty learning community on working with first generation students. So welcome Celina.


Celina Phillips 04:21

Thank you for having me, Josh. I appreciate it. It’s always fun being here with Bree and Garrett as well. And it’s always good to see my ag people in this times when we don’t always get to usually catch up in the hallway plumose and just to get a chance to visit so really appreciate the opportunity to visit.


joshuah whittinghill 04:39

Oh yeah, thank you so much. And finally, our third guest Mr. Garrett Liles. He is a Chico local. He’s a Chico State alum and a first gen student. His goal is to share his passion for soils to all and have fun doing it unconventionally, but he asks How do you define can And when that became the right way of doing things. So Gary, welcome.


Garrett Liles 05:06

Hey, thanks for having me, Josh. This is a really great event. We’ve been talking about podcasting for a long time. So it’s nice to finally be in this environment together and to be able to record something that hopefully will benefit others when they when they find this resource somewhere down the line.


joshuah whittinghill 05:23

Oh, definitely a will. I know and Garrett and I met serendipitously at a tipping point Student Success summit on campus, the very first year at one of the discussions on tips for faculty quick tips on classroom things. And we immediately hit that hit it off and started talking. And lo and behold, we both were into podcasting and doing a number of things in our classroom around podcasts. And even this last week, last Friday or so he and I were able to present at a faculty development workshop on how to use podcasting in the classroom. And it was a great event there as well. So let’s jump into agriculture. Right. That’s why we’re here. hear more about it, learn about it. And so we have some data to share, and then kind of hear what you think about the data. What does the data say or what does the data not say, is sometimes important when we’re talking about this, like in bre’s, bio, talking about helping different communities reclaim stories in ag, sometimes the data leaves a lot of those stories out. So we have three points of data from the Department of Agriculture. And so first off, I was blown away at this number, since I’m not working in agriculture and don’t know a bunch about the numbers. But Agriculture, Food and related industries contributed $1.1 trillion to the US domestic product, gross domestic product, right? That’s about 5% of the GDP. And the output of America’s farms specifically, was an estimated around that $136 billion coming directly from farms. And that includes livestock and crop. So farms that do that do both. And now another fact in 2019 of the full time and part time jobs in the United States 22.2 million full or part time jobs, that’s about 11% of us employment and connected to agriculture and related industries. And direct on farm employment accounted for 2.6 million of those jobs. Right. And then employment, agriculture and food related industry supported another 19.6 million jobs. There’s a lot of people, whether we know it or not, and don’t even realize it that are working somehow with agriculture or connected to agriculture. Depending on where you live, it may stand out quite a bit more living in the north state. You can’t drive a few blocks even around sometimes in town, and you go past an orchard of something. And as soon as you leave town, it’s right there, you know, you can’t miss it. So if you live like bre talking about areas she wants to go and work into the idea of agriculture is not really visible, when you’re inside of a city, right? It’s difficult to even see that happening or how it really might be impacting you in the sense. So there’s that in our last data, we have to share 13% share food ranked third, behind housing 32% and transportation 17% of expenditures of the average American household. So that’s even up there what people are spending their money on. So you all What do you think about this data? Is it? is it telling us enough? Or what is missing from this data that you’d like to share add to?


Celina Phillips 08:55

Well, Josh, one of the things I think is, um, it doesn’t necessarily share the story. Agriculture has a major impact on our economy, and whether it’s California nationally, however, and if we think about it, we have one of the safest food supplies and one of the least expensive food supplies in the world. And that sometimes doesn’t always get told by just the sheer data. But ag is a business as well as, for me a lifestyle almost because when you get into agriculture, there is a larger number of family farms. I don’t have the date off the top of my head, but family farms and family operations that are multi generational, that are contributing to this employing people and providing food for our society. And so I think I’m just understanding that ag is a major economic contributor and employment contributor and That we have a safe, wholesome food supply available to us, I think that is the take home message from some of that information. And we don’t always get that that safe, wholesome food supply in there. And the choice in our food that we have in this country


Bre Holbert 10:19

wanted to, I definitely think that absence of the story is definitely there. If, as an ag educator, if I were to present those statistics to my students, they would automatically think, Oh, that must be like factory farming. Some of some sort, you know, my job as a ag educator is to develop Well, what I see in my job is, especially with the community I want to work with, is developing credibility, as well as like trust and a sense of relevancy to our students that are coming up through the education system, in learning about agriculture, and like how it’s how it navigates in their life. It’s our food, fiber sustenance every single day. And I think a lot of people don’t realize how connected they really are to agriculture. So when I hear the statistics, I think they’re absolutely incredible. But I would agree something I think there’s a missing story of like, Who are those families? Also, who are those workers in the field? Like, what are their backgrounds? Like? Who are their families? What struggles did they go through to be able to attain that job? And what did they continue to go through? And what policies are in place that are, you know, allowing them to not have like, most comfortable working environments? And or, like, what, what daily barriers are they going through? I’m talking about our migrant workers like that, you know, they they essentially are not getting paid isn’t enough? Like, what are what are what are those stories? And are they included in the picture as well?


joshuah whittinghill 11:50

I love that. You mentioned that for me, after working two decades with first generation students, that means I also get to work with their families and meet their families in different aspects. And, and every semester, whether it’s an advising or teaching in the classroom, I hear from at least you know, a handful five to 10 students who that’s been their experience growing up has been working with their families in field and being migrant workers. But it’s not migrant, they’re at least in a certain area where they’re working in the fields year round, though, and they start even before they’re, you know, 1513, sometimes they’re helping out, and their parents are still doing it. So that’s a very, very present. I think, because of our current situation. With health factors and economic issues and impact on farmers. We’re hearing a little bit more about in the news. We’re seeing what Celina talked about family generational farms, now being impacted where they may not exist anymore. To that extent, and then what Brees touching on that a lot of these a lot of families who are working in the field and doing the work the labor, they’re being impacted, because there’s not enough labor for them to be doing the work anymore. So now they’re being impacted already, like you said, being economically not compensated for properly. Now they’re not getting compensated at all. So we’re seeing major impacts across the field from the people who own the farms, to the people who are working on the farm. So it’s definitely an interesting part and important to hear these stories, Garrett, you’re ready to go I see it.


Garrett Liles 13:18

I think I have a just I’m always trying to, you know, frame some optimism. And we can also look at this to kind of talk about, you know, a step off of what Celina was saying is that ag provides several opportunities for people to have a high quality life that’s meaningful. And I can see that in my job in the College of Ag and meeting people that are first and family that are either coming from agricultural backgrounds, or this whole new wave of people that Bre wants to help foster that are connected to ag all that are just realizing that it’s an important thing for them to understand and to learn about. And I see agriculture as this amazing vehicle for people. And if we can, we can work on some of the inequity issues. I mean, their that’s their instructional, we got to deal with that on labor cost, wages, all those types of working conditions. But the opportunity for people to come in and become educated become part of it. You know, high quality educated professional workforce in agriculture is pretty exciting. I see it every day in class, I see people that are going to do better than what they grew up with, because they’re going to be an Ag and there’s always going to be jobs man because we all need to eat. And it’s it’s kind of you know, that kind of situation. So we can really spin this as as something that in some ways, I see the data that you present as those numbers are too low. We should have more people engaged in agricultural workforce, not less. And across the 20th century, it’s been a story of reducing input cost reducing labor mechanization, and that’s kind of its part but we should have more people involved in the production of food. And maybe food should cost a little more so the farmers are working to make make their ends meet when they when they really should be, we should honor and value what we eat more, right? So the quality of it not just to make it cheaper. So I look at this I mean, it’s I didn’t grow up in agriculture other than being growing up in Chico. And coming into it later in my life when I got my job because I didn’t study agriculture. Specifically, I just see it as this amazing opportunity for people and a way for people to, to get involved in something that’s meaningful that that has a lot of really great aspects to it. And I see it every day with my students.


joshuah whittinghill 15:32

I think for me, I’m not in the agricultural industry in any way, shape or form. But I did grow up or went to high school, at least in a town where FFA was very popular and and a very, you know, lively, robust program, but the community itself was also steeped with agriculture around the area. This is down in the area of the Santa Ynez Valley. And so, seeing it there, I think, from the outside, there’s this stereotypical image of what ag is, right? It’s, it’s a people with boots and cowboy hats and big trucks. But that’s not what agriculture is, like, if that was the extent of it, you would have to take away millions of people who are working in the field agriculture. So. So I think that leads into the question of what is the importance of community in the field of agriculture? How does that play a role? How, how is it important to make sure that it’s fostered, nurtured? And what kind of relationships do you see and have in the field of Ag and see that our first gen students are developing?


Celina Phillips 16:49

That’s a great question, Josh, because I can share a little bit of my story. I grew up in a small town in Nevada. And so it sounds like I’m actually have the three guests you have today I’m I’m the only one that actually does have the production ag background, I grew up on a ranch and community was everything. And it’s so funny, because even if I go back to my hometown, now, I can still the families, the that have been friends for generations. And we have family friends that I know for generations of that family, and they literally know I’ve known them my entire life. And that sense of community. And that feel and the community that goes through in a rural setting the ups and downs of the agricultural production cycle. When rain is plentiful, especially grown up in Nevada, if we had water, things were good and the community was was celebrating the man if, if our four inches of annual rainfall didn’t come. There was I mean, we all fought and battled together. And so I think that community is something that our Chico State College bag tries to continue with is that sense of community in our college that we’re in this together, we battle through things. We have resiliency and grit, and perseverance to try to tackle any of these adverse situations that come our way. This year. It’s been COVID, and all of these things, and how do we battle that and I think that sense of community is critical because I can go about anywhere and touch base with ag people and have an instant connection and those types of things. So I just I think that the sense of community in agriculture and in the rural communities, the importance of agriculture in those communities. Oh lifeblood is really an under told story, so to speak.


Bre Holbert 18:58

I’m with I’m definitely with Selena every, every time I met with a group of Ag people in a room whether it was like the PCA like banquet that we had a couple of years back before COVID and through the College of Ag, I’m not a PCA person I get I dipped my toes in a lot of different areas, mechanics, Animal Science, plant science, plant and soil science. I dipped my toes in a lot of areas. Liles told me it’s plant and soil science so I gotta make sure I throw in this But yeah, I I feel this sense of nurture in home and almost like we’re in this together. But as as a student coming up in agriculture, who didn’t come from an ag background, who’s from, you know, a more marginalized community. I almost see at the agriculture community in a in a different way than I think I’d ever seen it before growing up in a predominantly ag community. I grew up in Lodi, California Wine, grapes, cows only cherries, a lot of orchards, you name it. And it was around my area. But I think growing up in the FFA community, it really brought me into this world of agriculture. And like the real people behind it that I didn’t get to see while I was growing up and surrounded by it. But as I grew into the Chico State ag community, I was continued to be affirmed in that. However, as as someone who’s traveled and gotten to see other avenues across the nation, and how the social issues haven’t influenced how the ag community looks like in terms of people of color and diversity, I almost see that there’s a lack of, like, community amongst our people of color. In the agriculture community, there’s a lot of animosity with, I see students who come into the high school ag programs that say, I don’t want to be a part of FFA, because my parents work in the fields. Or like, there are a lot of like, African American students who are like, yo, like, I don’t, I can’t afford to be here. It’s not accessible enough for me. I can’t afford a jacket, I can’t afford to go on this trip. And so for me, going into the ag community, I almost see that there needs to be more people like us who are bringing up people who are more marginalized communities. So yes, I think I agree that activities really nurturing. But I also think that we could be doing more to bring up and bring up those positive opportunities for our students in a different community as well.


Celina Phillips 21:35

Absolutely. Bre and I have been having some conversations. And for me growing up in ag, I’m hearing from students that come from a more urban or maybe perhaps not as focused on agriculture background, has been huge to help me understand the different cultural lenses everybody’s looking at agriculture with. And I think that has been huge, is to just see that. Not everybody comes into college and majors in agriculture, knowing what sheep are or cattle. And actually, I’m finding those students are exciting to get turned on to agriculture and see the light bulb go off. And they’re going to be lifelong advocates, because they came in with no preconceptions, and just are absorbing everything they can. And I think that is kind of where our current student population is heading. And I think that’s exciting, because I think the potential for change, because of no preconceived ideas. And so the thinking outside the box, I think we’re gonna have a whole new set of Ag thinkers that approach things differently. And I’m excited to learn more from them about perspectives and views and what they see, because it helps me shift my cultural lens. I mean, like, Oh, snap, I haven’t thought of it that way. That’s something. So I think that’s exciting.


joshuah whittinghill 23:08

And I think I want to add the the Ag and our campus is in really great hands with the leadership and with all of the students, faculty and staff that I’ve been able to talk with and work with on different things. When Selena led her faculty learning community, she asked me to be part of the planning committee, and I would bring up different topics or different ideas, and she was so gracious and say, Oh, my gosh, that thought never even crossed my mind of how we’re engaging students that way. And so so and Garrett’s the same. And then Bree, also, you can hear from what you’re saying, that you’re open to hear these suggestions and see how do we do things different. And it’s not just we’re gonna keep doing ag the way it’s been done, because it’s worked for all these years, because as you’re pointing out, it’s worked for certain groups of people. So that’s really important. I think, Celina mentioned how much the agricultural field and the industry in campus and even the department on campus has around this grit and resilience and those kind of things. But beyond that, and maybe even more importantly, underneath all of it is the innovation, the knowledge, the intelligence, the experience, all those things. I see from all the faculty I’ve talked with, I’ve been a couple of things with the previous Dean and the current Dean of the College of Ag and have different discussions, but it’s just how, how much information people in the ag industry have that range. The spectrum is so wide, that that a lot of those skills and the knowledge that’s already there can be used in some of the fashions you’re talking about and just transferring what’s happening in into a different funnel, if you will, or a different way of doing things. Garrett, you’re ready to jump in again. I saw you man. I see you.


Garrett Liles 24:51

Oh, sure. I mean, I I I said I think the the representation on the panel and the perspective might not be As representative, as you think maybe our college and we’re in the university environment, I think that agriculture has to come a long way to try to be more inclusive, not just in allowing people to enter. But ownership of farms, things like that. I mean, there’s a lot of people that have been fortunate for the time that their family got to where they got, they got their property, and there’s a lot of those issues underneath that need to be worked out. And those are not, we’re not going to solve those today. But just the reality that, you know, community community needs, our communities to represent the demographics of our of our country or state, you know, we need to allow people that aren’t historically involved in and not just to let them in, but provide opportunities for them to be part and not just to allow them in as part of the program, you know. And so, I see that a lot in, I’ve come to think about Ag as big a and small a agriculture, you know, agriculture kind of asks, What do we do in practices and what can happen, and then the agribusiness side, which, you know, it’s business, and there’s a lot of people running it that are that are profiting, and that’s not always an equitable thing. So I think just want to bring that up. Because it really is at this point. I mean, we went through a century of expansion in our state, in our country, in agriculture in general mechanization, just as amazing advanced and how we do things. And now we really need to really think about how are we going to make this something for everyone? How are we going to make agriculture something that does include our population, not just those that produce and those that consume the production, right. And I think that’s going to be a really important issue for us to deal with in the next couple of decades, because we’re going to have to diversify, just to keep innovating. I mean, so it gets back to that idea that we can’t just have the same people running it, because we need to have people that have new ideas that allow us to make a path forward. Because as I say, to my classes, like ag is basically the definition of innovation from the plow, and from the beginning of agriculture today, if you’re standing still, you’re going to pass. So it’s like, right now, I think we need to see we need new ideas, and we need to allow them in to make the changes that are going to be needed. So it’s not just a nice thing that looks good. It’s going to be a necessity to keep keep up with population demands, resources, all the types of things that we need to do


joshuah whittinghill 27:18

That’s Yeah, man, that’s great to hear that, like access, right? It doesn’t. And just because people have been led in, there’s there’s an access to all the things that are there that are part of the bigger system,


Garrett Liles 27:33

and perceptions and biases. And you know, what what said in public and acted on and private are very different things. And that, you know, that’s kind of what we’re living in this moment in time, not just COVID. But, you know, politics and the world and people and like, there’s a lot of that going on right now. And you know, we need to move forward as a society. And equity is going to be a huge issue with that not just in lip service.


Celina Phillips 28:00

I just want to follow up because I think Garrett kind of started a thought trend that if we think about like, talking agriculture, specifically, but this applies to what’s happening in society as well. And agriculture has been the root of society in a lot of ways, agrarian cultures, nomadic cultures, how they develop, and he was talking about the technology, the technology, revolutions, machinery, and just how ag has changed and evolved over time. I think that this access inclusivity, and I think our first generation students bringing it back to that, they’re going to provide some of that creative thinking that outside the box thinking, and possibly we now have an inclusivity revolution, so to speak, kind of coming in, like how and I think we’re right on the cusp of figuring that out. And just as we’re going through, we’re redesigning our animal science curriculum right now as a program. And we’re trying to think about what do we need to project or what do we need to have our graduates know, 10-20 years from now? And it’s stuff we don’t know right now. And so we’re working on things like conversations, and what can we do? And how can we create a graduate, that is a critical thinker, thinks outside the box, and is able to think through these problems that we don’t even know are happening yet, you know, as it’s coming. And so I just think that this whole access, equity inclusivity all of these elements is probably our next ag revolution that’s coming. And I think it’s having students that come in excited about agriculture, wanting to learn about it, but just having a fresh perspective, and so it’s an exciting time to be in the college of ag you’re mad at right now,


Garrett Liles 30:01

I just want to jump in on what you said earlier, Celina and I feel the exact same way, some of the most exciting things that come in my class. And my assignments are students that are traditionally trained in agriculture. And that that a willingness and an ability to take a chance or to express themselves in a way that they don’t already feel like, is marginalized, like they can produce something or have an idea. That’s not what it’s already been conditioned by years of riding in the truck with Grandpa, or whatever the kind of traditional model is, you know, and it’s exciting. And one of the problems one of the back to equity and inclusion, like how do we create an educational environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves, not just performing, right? Because that’s really, I mean, I see that all the time. And I know you do all kinds of creative activities, and I’m sure you see the same thing. It’s like, how do you get a student comfortable to the point where they, they’re willing to expose themselves to being creative, creative is like, you know, you’re burying yourself in ways that that is can be uncomfortable. And you know, students have trouble feeling comfortable, without being given a rubric or being like, this is what you need to do X, Y, and Z. So I think we can lead the way in agriculture. And like we talked about, I talked about soils, it’s like an incredible medium to talk about humanity, because we do all eat, and we do all need these things on a daily basis. So what better way to talk about how to make things better than to use agriculture and, and how we utilize natural systems to produce these things, as a way to talk about equity and diversity and all the kinds of things that need to happen to make the world better.


Celina Phillips 31:42

Gary, that’s funny, cause I think that as we go forward, and if we can blend, oh, now I’m on a tangent, but


Garrett Liles 31:47

that’s my fault. I started it


Celina Phillips 31:48

I know you’re good at that I just think of my uncle Dirk. And when he would meet someone, he’d be like, are you a grass man or, or a grouse man? Meaning? Do you graze pastures and, and irrigated pastures? Or do you understand sagebrush range, country and all of that, but just the innate amount of knowledge in that man, so if we can blend in our students that maybe do have that traditional knowledge from riding around with Grandpa or whoever, and then bring in the non traditional students, and I think that melding of perspectives, and creating that safe environment that everybody can share their thoughts, and I think, I don’t know if we’re fully quite there yet. But that’s what we need to work towards. Because then Wow, we can get some of that depth of perspective, and the fresh ideas and really create change. And that’s where I think our first gen students, we have those that come in from strong ag backgrounds. But then then that non traditional and bring it in, are you making fun of me Garrett?


Garrett Liles 32:49

No, I was just I was applauding, your pivot back to the actual you know, the big picture here, what we try to talk about, so


Bre Holbert 32:57

well, if I could jump in real quick, bringing it back with y’all to bring it back to the first generation students. Um, I think back to when i when i was going and coming up into the FFA, and I did not have any agriculture background besides like, you know, my uncle was a great farmer and, but I never worked with him on the farm until I got into high school. And like, I was surrounded by ag in my community, but just didn’t know that I was a part of it in some way. But coming up in the FFA, the first thing I did to get into it, because I had no knowledge was just public speaking, like doing speeches about agriculture, because that was the only thing that I knew how to do that I can help contribute to agriculture. And so I think that in the college perspective, but I really love the College of Ag is doing right now, because we’re offering an ag communications like option, which is really cool. Because I think students who are interested in agriculture, who may not have had that perspective, can come into the college bag and be like, well, like, I may, I don’t think I’m a PCA person or animal science person, but I really love agriculture, and I want to help. Or maybe it is someone who has a traditional ag background. I know that a lot of our older farmers just speaking for my uncle, like he’s not the most communicated guy about why agriculture. And with he’s with his farmer buddies, and they say probably five sentences to each other every time they see each other


Celina Phillips 34:21

with coffee


Bre Holbert 34:22

with their coffee, and their doughnuts. like, you know, big talk for the day. So I think that’s cool. We’re offering spaces continuously, at least in our college to for students who may be first gen who might not come from an ag background, to not only have access through like, curriculum that builds them up to advanced topics, but also spaces that they might feel comfortable with coming in and partnering with agriculture in.


joshuah whittinghill 34:54

Right. Yeah, that’s, I mean, that that’s just like Garrett mentioned, there’s behind the scenes, there’s kind of what’s happening you know, in it. private meetings and then what’s happening in public. And it makes me think of what you’re talking about the skills and the advancement moving forward. One thing is that the innovation, and then the weaving in of, of experiences, from first generation students, they’re going to think about it, like Celina mentioned very differently, because there’s not this preconceived idea of, Hey, this is how you build a soil. This is how you take care of your soil. This is how you grow. And this is how you feed the animals, there’s so many different things that the first generation students are going to bring in from their own personal capital they have that they’ve developed through their experiences. And it makes me think of a report that came out a few years ago, doing a survey of business executives and hiring managers. And in the end, the learning outcomes that they said are desirable for college students to have when they get there. And not in any particular order. But the most important is like having oral communication skills, being able to do that. Being able to think critically is important, have ethical judgment. That’s one thing we didn’t really get to talk on and touch on today, a lot, but the ethical background that people need to have right to be able to do some of the things and make the choices and provide some of this access and equity and be moving forward as also making those advancements. Also working effectively in teams is extremely important. It sounds like that’s important in agriculture, right? And then also written communication is another one. And then finally, are the last two being creative, innovative isn’t a very important skill? And also, what’s the real world application? How do you then take what you’ve gotten so so all those things seem extremely important agriculture and many other fields, but it’s, you know, very central to the our discussion here about agriculture and students and first generation students getting into the field going into the careers, right and leading in these areas. And so, unfortunately, there’s a list of questions. We’re not going to get to.


Celina Phillips 36:59

Garrett and I get to rambling. And so


Garrett Liles 37:03

We got a lot in there. I mean, our organic conversation, we got a lot of it in there, actually. Yes, back to the back to what you just said and kind of blends things together. Some of our some of our best opportunities for advancing communication are going to be from people that are in industry, it’s going to be from because we’re talking about a demographic shift, talking about a historically Caucasian workforce in agriculture, to a non Caucasian majority in society. So how do we take people that don’t have that perception and have them translate and communicate these ideas to the population that’s going to be the purchasers are going to be the consumers of products, that they’re going to be the future of the workforce? So how do we get their ideas included, just to be able to survive and to be able to be effective.


joshuah whittinghill 37:54

And one area that I was hoping to get into maybe this is for another time, we have another episode, and we bring in some other folks from other areas, because I think it’d be great well, and and I think it would be great to have a discussion not just in agriculture, but other fields, and look at what current policy and legislation is impacting our, your field, but also that impacting our first generation students, and the different communities that they all come from, would be a great another discussion, and


Celina Phillips 38:27

Can we just say everything?


joshuah whittinghill 38:30

Right. And so it’s so it, that’s a big one, right? But that was on there, unfortunately, and then you all share it. And I think we got the gist from the most part of why you joined and why you wanted to follow a career and a passion in agriculture, because it’s very apparent for the listeners if you because you don’t get to see and, and meet the three all the time that are here. It’s very apparent from our discussion today, that they’re not only passionate about it and knowledgeable and excited about it, but they’re also compassionate about what they’re doing. So that leads us into a song I want to go ahead and play the first 30 or so seconds. It’s a song called you plant your field by new grass revival in the first couple of verses kind of get to that sort of what’s at the core of working in agriculture, especially for our guests today.


joshuah whittinghill 40:29

that song has a great message and talking about really working and planting and preparing your heart preparing your motivations, what are the reasons you’re doing it? And funny enough, it actually sounds like they’re singing about a little bit about Celina’s story of hoping the rain comes right for the crops but that’s probably not really uncommon for most you know, communities where agriculture and especially farming right is is a thing is and so there’s that it also raises for me the awareness we have to have around gender identity and inside of the field of Ag as well. The very beginning of the song says My father told me right but if we look at our in our panel today, we have two guests who identify as female and women and then in the field itself, what’s happening when it comes to the equity or access or inequity or gender right for women in the field. That’s a whole nother episode even right


Celina Phillips 41:28

that is a huge one because I’ve definitely got some stories to share on that side of it as well. So I think that’s when you should consider doing down the road Josh, that’d be a good one.


joshuah whittinghill 41:42

Yeah, we did just move forward we’re gonna have an episode coming up with an all women panel on being Hmong also I’m first generation that’s coming up so so maybe we’ll have something on that but but it’s interesting for me my personal relationships with people in the agricultural industry predominantly are with women that I know who are doing work who have done work who have moved on from the agriculture industry for different reasons, but majority from from my high school up until now people I know it’s mainly women who I see working in the field and hear from and have conversations with so interesting for me to have that. But um, unfortunately, we do have to wrap up and like I say, in many episodes, we are confined by the social construct of time and and it’s it’s limited unfortunately these days and so if we could we’ll start with Celina cuz I know Celina has to run off to go actually teach which class you’re going to teach today.


Celina Phillips 42:45

It’s my freshmen ag orientation agro 180. Garrett teaches a section of it too


Celina Phillips 42:49

so, 50% of that classes are First Gen.


joshuah whittinghill 42:49

Awesome. Yeah. Garrett and I talked about that a couple years back and other schools because I’ve taught a similar course, for EOP students University, introduction, university life and kind of doing research and things like that and self discovery, but that’s a wonderful class and I hear from the students I’m also the, I work in the opioid Education Opportunity Program, as an advisor and assessment coordinator. And one of the colleges I advise is the College of Ag so I’m getting to meet a lot of the EOP students and hear great stories about that course. So as we wind down and move on, Celina will go and wrap up with our recommendations for the day. So if Celina if you want to go first in case you have to leave Let’s hear from you,


joshuah whittinghill 42:50

Oh yes, yes I’ve talked about that


Celina Phillips 43:37

I threw a couple fun ones out and at because I think we’ve got some serious recommendations coming and a few more fun ones. If you want to learn in a funny way, and I like song parodies, that’s me. That’s how I use them in class all the time, because who doesn’t like a funny song parody? But there’s two there’s the Peterson farm brothers and farmer Derek klingenberg, both on YouTube, that share ag story by redoing current songs. And they’re totally fun. They’re keto friendly, but they do share a message about the connection that farmers and ranchers have with their land and animals. And I think it’s a great way to share a little bit about what we do there. And I also throw out for those that are interested I do have a podcast as well on livestock and how we feed livestock and manage livestock and if there’s interest in that, I figured I’d throw that out as well. And then alternate over to bring Garrett for what they’ve got on recommendations.


joshuah whittinghill 44:46

Okay and before so I don’t forget Can you Celina, can you put the first recommendation in the chat for me cuz I got the Derek klingberg one but


Celina Phillips 44:52

Oh, the Peterson farm brothers. Yeah.


joshuah whittinghill 44:54

Thank you. All right, Garrett.


Celina Phillips 44:57

Well worth a watch.


Garrett Liles 45:00

So, ironically, we haven’t, we haven’t talked about soil at all. So I thought I would bring up a soil recommendation because none of this would be possible without soils that we rely on. And not just for production. But for all the other benefits that come from ecosystems come from soils essentially. So I put into I put in a recent video animation from BBC kind of getting a background, nice background about soils and how important they are. And that’s there. To riff off of the work skills. I put in a nice article from the World Economic Forum that I use in my 180 class all the time about the top 10 work skills that workers need in 2020. It’s been updated, and it mirrors many of the things that that you talked about Josh, and then I just threw in the last one was a riff on the idea of diversity in the agricultural sphere. I added the USDA new farmers website, which talks about what it takes. I don’t have the statistics offhand. But, you know, most of the farmers that are coming into farming are not traditional farmers. There’s there’s a huge issue right now in farming with farm handing farm properties through generations, many people that grew up farming don’t want to be farmers anymore, because it’s a difficult business. So there’s a lot of opportunity for young, young and diverse people to get into farming. So I thought I’d throw that website in there for folks that are interested.


joshuah whittinghill 46:27

Perfect. Thank you. And Bre, what do you have for us today?


Bre Holbert 46:33

Well, as a millennial say I’m going to retweet what Liles said. And please check out the USDA new farmers website. That’s super dope. There’s also grants out there for new farmers who people who are interested in agriculture, who want to buy land, there’s like, it’s not called grants. What is it called? Dr. Lyles? It’s something where they give you money to start a farm.


Garrett Liles 47:00

yeah yeah yeah like yeah


Bre Holbert 47:03



Bre Holbert 47:04

just money.


joshuah whittinghill 47:08

people will find that information on the new farmers website.


Garrett Liles 47:11

There’s lots of programs out like that, that try to help people get in get started. And conservation programs, there’s a lot of different things because the hardest part is getting land because it’s not getting any cheaper.


joshuah whittinghill 47:22



Bre Holbert 47:25

But then I threw in their website and two books. The first book is savage inequalities. I read it in my EDT 302 class, it’s by Jonathan Kozol, it talks about marginalized communities and why they’re sectioned off the way they are and like, how institutional systems come into play, how, you know, there, it was intentional that these communities are set up the way they were, and like how people are working in those systems to help those communities. And another book, it’s called holy s word by Gene Logsdon, and it talks about how manure plays a role in soils. And it’s just really cool way to like digest that for somebody who may not know a lot about soils.


Garrett Liles 48:13



Bre Holbert 48:15

Just the system. get it. That was good one


Garrett Liles 48:21

couldn’t leave that the dad joke in me just couldn’t leave that little alone.


Bre Holbert 48:28

And then last websitefree,


joshuah whittinghill 48:29

Go ahead Bre sorry.


Bre Holbert 48:30

No, you’re good.


joshuah whittinghill 48:31

You have another one.


Bre Holbert 48:33

Yeah, the last episode I put in there is Every state has an Ag in the Classroom. It’s sponsored by Farm Bureau. And essentially, it has curriculum and fun games to help all different ages and types of learners learn more about ag.


joshuah whittinghill 48:53

Alright, excellent. Thank you. Um, I have a couple I’m gonna Garrett just inspired one of them. So the dad jokes I get I have an 11 year old and a 14 year old and I hear some great jokes. Some are the 14 year old some are not appropriate to share, really. But I mean, I could the podcasts are not regulated by any FCC regulations. But you know, the same time. But the 11 year old she tells me other jokes that are actually hilarious, and one of them was related to Ag and eating and food. So here you go. Did you all know that humans eat more bananas than monkeys? I mean, seriously, when’s the last time you heard of a human eating a monkey? See, thank you.


Garrett Liles 49:38

I’m here all week. Don’t forget to tip your weight person.


joshuah whittinghill 49:41

And the funny thing is I tell other people that joke and people laugh and I feel Thank you, sage for providing me with that. It’s a great


Garrett Liles 49:47

you got that one in your pocket for the rest of time right now, if they’re waiting for you,


joshuah whittinghill 49:52

and it’s perfect for for the ag episode, right? So


Garrett Liles 49:55

so I’ll match you so Why Why do they call seagulls that fly over? The sea seagulls?


Bre Holbert 50:08



Garrett Liles 50:09

Cause is it not to be called bagels?


joshuah whittinghill 50:13

To fly over the bay,


Garrett Liles 50:14

I kind of butchered that one on the setup.


joshuah whittinghill 50:18

Okay, that’s how dad jokes go sometimes. But I also wanted, I’m gonna go back and use a recommendation I used in one of our early episodes, but I’m gonna go ahead and do it again here, because it’s very much related to Ag and discussions. It’s called seedfolks. It’s by Paul fleischman. And it’s a wonderful short, maybe 120 or so pages, but each chapter, you get introduced to a new character, and they’re all from different backgrounds, ethnicities, races, gender identity, and experiences. But they’re also living in the inner city. And what happens is this younger girl about 11, or 12, she decides she wants to grow something. And so she plant some seeds in this vacant lot in between some apartment buildings. And then one of the characters we meet is seeing this happen, and she thinks they’re hiding something and doing something illegal. And it turns out that there’s this plant growing, and then eventually, each character gets introduced to like, Oh, I’m going to be part of this. And all of a sudden, they have a vibrant garden growing in the inner city between these buildings. It’s a wonderful book. And like I said, it’s called seedfolks by Paul fleischman. But it’s a great thing, especially around our discussion today about different communities, ethnicity, race, access, equity, stories about that being around, involved with, you know, a garden at this time. So it kind of covers a lot of things. It’s a wonderful, like I said, a wonderful, wonderful book. So I think unfortunately, that wraps it up for our time. Celina has whooshed off into the world of zoom to, or zoomed off to her class. But, Bre and Garrett, thank you again for being here. Celina, thank you for being here as well. I know I appreciate all of your time, energy and commitment to what you’re doing outside of the classroom and in the classroom. But being here, Teresa would say thank you, of course, if she was here. So hopefully the last few days of the semester treat you kindly and you’re able to enjoy some sort of break. A little bit respite coming up. All right. Thank you very much.

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