July 17, 2023 – Twenty-seven students from Japan visited the Clovis East McFarlane-Coffman Agriculture Facility on Monday morning and were treated to all different aspects of agriculture.
The Japanese students were taken on a tour by their American counterparts, visiting local farming activities while also picking peaches, nectarines, and plums from the ag center itself.
Hosted by Laton FFA, the visiting Japanese students have been given the opportunity to view what agriculture looks like in the Central Valley.
This can be quite different, especially in terms of scale according to Laton’s Department Chair for the Agricultural Science Department, Tammy Pilcher.
Pilcher explained that upon visiting a farm with upwards of 9000 “head” or cattle, the most that the students from Japan had ever seen at one time was 400.
“They don’t grow the variety of produce that we do here, one of their requests was to go to a supermarket…They wanna see that kind of stuff.”
Pilcher also explained that the students would be helping to pick nectarines on Wednesday at a different site and when they are back in Japan the following week, the same batch of nectarines would be sent to them.
“The fact that this is where it came from, this is the source. Just the awareness of the global impact that agriculture has here in the San Joaquin Valley.”
Pilcher stated that Laton would love to do this again at some point and mentioned that it is not only beneficial for the Japanese students but for her students as well.
“The knowledge of the impact that our local community has on the worldwide perspective. The fact that some of their parents may have worked in the fields where those nectarines are being harvested and the fact that they’re going to be feeding their friends that came from another country…It puts everything into perspective of the impact that, now I hope you appreciate the importance of what your community does.”
Japanese teacher and translator from the Gifu Prefecture, where the Japanese students are from, Masa Kamide said that from the students’ perspectives, “They have been enjoying [the Central Valley] a lot. It’s so much different than Japan because it’s a smaller scale. Here it’s a whole larger scale and automated with most of the things coming from machinery.”
Masa Kamide also relayed the sentiment of Tammy Pilcher stating, “Some of the crops do go to Japan, so that’s been an impression on them [his students].”
On Clovis East’s McFarlane-Coffman Agricultural Center, Masa stated, “This is quite an impressive setup because in Japan, they don’t have this type of scale, particularly those metal, they don’t do much of that.”
The class had previously been to Yosemite seeing the waterfalls and the Sequoia’s and look forward to continuing their trip until Wednesday, July 19th.
Being their first time hosting an event of this size, Laton looks forward to possibly getting the opportunity again as well as Clovis East.
Many aspects of the San Joaquin Valley’s agriculture affect the world economy, and with this event, younger generations, on both sides of the Pacific, now get the chance to understand and respect that view as well.