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Latest News in Shafter, CA
Derric Kirschenmann, a young grower from Shafter, California
Good Fruit Growerhttps://www.goodfruit.com/derric-kirschenmann-a-young-grower-from-shafter-california/
family background / Derric decided to work alongside his family over a decade ago to grow the business north of Bakersfield. The diverse family farm grows several types of grapes for wine, raisins and fresh market along with other crops such as almonds, row crops, cotton and grasses. age/30 crops/Grapes and diversified crops business/Kirschenmann Bros. FarmingHow did you get your start? During high school in the summers, I’d do whatever needed t...
family background / Derric decided to work alongside his family over a decade ago to grow the business north of Bakersfield. The diverse family farm grows several types of grapes for wine, raisins and fresh market along with other crops such as almonds, row crops, cotton and grasses. age/30 crops/Grapes and diversified crops business/Kirschenmann Bros. Farming
How did you get your start? During high school in the summers, I’d do whatever needed to be done around the farm. We had a lot of row crops back then and I remember pulling sprinkler pipes a lot.
At that time, we were farming nearly 4,000 acres of ground. Now, we’re pretty much out of the row crops, with only about 300 acres, and everything else is permanent.
After high school, I went to college for about a year. I realized school really wasn’t for me. Farming is the only thing I’ve wanted to do.
What is your current path on the farm? Our grapes are my primary focus — from spraying to controlling crews all the way through harvest to making sure everything gets out to the distributors.
I didn’t go to a trade school to learn about farming; I’ve learned by trial and error. There’s challenges in that path, of course. When I’m told to call a mechanic to fix something, I can’t.
We can’t do that nowadays because of how much stuff costs. One of my challenges is trying to find ways to do as much as we can ourselves.
What projects are you working on? Labor is probably the biggest problem now in California. Our goal recently has been to cut all our contract workers back to 10 hours a day to save on our overtime fees, and our grape crews are being cut to eight hours a day.
We hope we can get the same amount of work done, but in reality, it isn’t going to happen. I’ve been experimenting with some of our spray crews where we’ve cut them down to six hours with two shifts, one in the morning and the next crew coming in the evening.
We hope we can do it. Before the recent increases in labor costs, we were running crews on 12 to 15 hour days. Back then, our family would be out working before and after the crews arrived.
Now it seems we’re working even more because we have to make cuts to our workforce hours.
Even if the crews head home at 4 p.m., I know I’ll be out past 7 p.m. because the work’s still got to get done. That’s just how it is.
Is mechanization something you’re looking at? The small farming companies and mom and pop farms — the labor problems could break people. Because of it, I’m trying new ways to get rid of our crews.
For instance, if there’s a mechanical pruner or vine tying machine, we’re going to need them. The task of tying canes onto the wires has forced us to look at machines that could do the job.
In your area, what crops challenge you? All our neighbors grow some type of wine grapes and the variety we’ve been working with is Petite Sirah. I’d consider it one of the toughest varieties to grow around here.
The grape clusters are really small and the ground we grow them in is very sandy, forcing us to water more often then we’d like. Doing that brings challenges.
With the small berries it grows, if you water too much, you blow the berries out, which makes wineries mad. That vineyard takes more time to work than our table grapes.
Every year, we’re watching that crop so much closer for problems, hoping to get all of the grapes off to the winery.
Our new plantings are all T-trellis with drip irrigation, built for over the row sprayers, mechanical pruning and harvesting.
We’re also trying some new soil amendments that can hopefully hold water a bit longer. This crop is important, and when it’s grown well, it’s worth a lot of money.
What advice would you give younger growers? The first thing I’d tell them is they need to learn Spanish. If you don’t learn and you want to farm, it’s going to be tough.
The next thing is to pursue a business degree. I’ve realized that understanding the numbers well is a skill that really helps the business. I’m not saying ag business either — you aren’t going to learn ag in a book — you’ll learn that out on the farm.
California bill would put small, rural schools on ‘equal footing’ with larger schools in CIF football championship games
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A proposed bill in the California Senate would mandate that all high school football state championship games be played at neutral sites.Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) introduced bill SB-486 on Tuesday.The bill aims at ensuring rural schools be treated “equally” when it comes to host sites for California Interscholastic Federation football champio...
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A proposed bill in the California Senate would mandate that all high school football state championship games be played at neutral sites.
Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Bakersfield) introduced bill SB-486 on Tuesday.
The bill aims at ensuring rural schools be treated “equally” when it comes to host sites for California Interscholastic Federation football championship games.
The bill comes months after Shafter High School played and lost a CIF football championship game on a field that was wet and muddy hosted at Orland High School. Shafter head football coach Jerald Pierucci was furious following the game and went on a tirade against the CIF about the playing conditions.
“It is a shame on the CIF that they allow a state championship game to be played on a field like this when you got Division 1 and 2 teams playing on turf. It is crap that you allow this stuff to happen,” Pierucci said following the game on Dec. 10.
Orland High School won the Division 5-A state title game, 20-7.
In lower divisions, higher-seeded teams host their division’s championship games.
The bill would add Section 33353.8 to the Education Code to read: “The California Interscholastic Federation shall hold all state football championship games at a neutral location that is comparable to the location of all other championship games.”
“Games need to be played on an equal footing and not relegate rural and small schools to unequal treatment,” Hurtado tweeted.
Five of the 15 high school football state championship games were held at a neutral site — Saddleback College — in 2022. According to the bill, college stadiums typically have turf fields that are less impacted by inclement weather and have access to better medical facilities.
Hurtado said there are enough college facilities in the state to host the championship games.
“By requiring state football championship games to be held at neutral locations,” the bill reads, “all teams will get a fair and equal playing experience.”
Liberty High School played its Division 1-A state championship game at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
Smuckers identified as tenant at huge Shafter warehouse
JOHN COX email@example.com://www.bakersfield.com/news/smuckers-identified-as-tenant-at-huge-shafter-warehouse/article_b4ca7b8c-7299-11ed-bbc5-473ac18d1638.html
A Fortune 500 food and beverage manufacturer best known for its fruit preserves, the J.M. Smucker Co., has leased a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Shafter that it plans to use for sorting and shipping goods across the western United States, according to two people briefed on the transaction.The lease signals continued strength in Kern County's expanding distribution sector, more so because it is one of at least three buildings developed on a speculative basis by Los Angeles-based The Wonderful Co. at its Wonderful Industrial Park ...
A Fortune 500 food and beverage manufacturer best known for its fruit preserves, the J.M. Smucker Co., has leased a 1 million-square-foot warehouse in Shafter that it plans to use for sorting and shipping goods across the western United States, according to two people briefed on the transaction.
The lease signals continued strength in Kern County's expanding distribution sector, more so because it is one of at least three buildings developed on a speculative basis by Los Angeles-based The Wonderful Co. at its Wonderful Industrial Park in Shafter.
"In terms of demand, we see no let up from tenants that require very large and efficient industrial real estate," Joe Vargas, president of Wonderful's real estate development arm, said in a September news release that outlined the deal without naming the tenant.
"In fact," he continued, "we're already underway with another 1 million-square-foot speculative building and have two tenant proposals in hand, as well as a speculative 400,000-square-foot building that will likely be leased before the building shell is completed."
Wonderful declined Friday to comment on the transaction, while the tenant also known as Smuckers did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
But two local industrial real estate brokers confirmed Smuckers as the tenant, including Senior Vice President Oscar Baltazar at Colliers Tingey International.
"It's a done deal," Baltazar said. "The space has been leased."
Wayne Kress, executive director for industrial properties at Cushman & Wakefield in Bakersfield, said he was aware a lease had been signed but couldn't confirm the tenant was Smuckers.
"I'm not surprised, given the high demand in the Inland Empire and the severe lack of (industrial property) supply down there," Kress said. "We seem to be in an acceptable area that still allows them to serve their customers."
Other distribution hubs are in various stages of development around Kern, but none have experienced as much success as the more than 10 million-square-foot Wonderful Industrial Park, where Ross Stores operates on more than 3 million square feet on 130 acres, Target has 2 million square feet across 80 acres and Walmart occupies 630,000 square feet on 60 acres.
Other tenants there include American Tire Distributors, Formica and Essendant, now part of office supplies company Staples Inc.
Smuckers is expected to begin operations at the site in the first quarter of next year with more than 150 employees assigned to the property at 3800 Fanucchi Way.
Wonderful's September release said the warehouse has 40 feet of clear height, 215-dock high doors and parking expandable to 1,000 stalls as part of the 70-acre property.
The release said goods shipped from the facility will travel to destinations including Nevada and Washington.
Assembly members, Shafter questioning the High Speed Rail Auth. asking for $10 bil. more
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The price tag to build the high-speed rail has risen throughout the construction process. After the California high speed rail gave an update on progress and funds needed, Assemblyman Jim Patterson in Fresno County says these prices keep escalating out of control."Here is another business plan that says this initial segment, $4 billion dollars more, "Jim Patterson, Assemblyman, for the 23rd District, CA-R, said. "27% increase in the costs since last year,""If you ...
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — The price tag to build the high-speed rail has risen throughout the construction process. After the California high speed rail gave an update on progress and funds needed, Assemblyman Jim Patterson in Fresno County says these prices keep escalating out of control.
"Here is another business plan that says this initial segment, $4 billion dollars more, "Jim Patterson, Assemblyman, for the 23rd District, CA-R, said. "27% increase in the costs since last year,"
"If you want to extend the construction to Merced and Bakersfield it's up 41% or almost $10 billion," Assemblyman Patterson, said. "We also are learning there's no longer enough money to build this Merced-Bakersfield without a lot of funds coming from someplace else other than the state of California."
He says the high speed rail asked the Biden administration for money and they were denied.
Chad Givens, Shafter Mayor says the state of California is in a budget deficit, so the funds are going to have to come from somewhere.
"They're going to have to go federal infrastructure and transportation divisions and that is our taxpayer money," Mayor Givens said. "That's $10 billion that can be used in a lot of other places to improve the quality of life for our residents, our town, our city, our state."
Givens says it's effecting ag too.
"The right of way acquisition is only going to increase in price," Givens, said. "You can't expect a farmer to not plant his crop. There's nothing been given to our residents."
Assemblyman Vince Fong tweeted this:
"Californians have lost faith in this project, and the legislature has lost faith as well; it's very frustrating. We need to end this project, take the resources and invest it in better things."
A spokesperson for the California High-Speed Rail Authority gave Eyewitness News this statement:
"The project update report is a thorough and credible document that puts cost projections based on inflation and scope impacts. These projected costs include big investments in the central valley with our future stations, including Bakersfield. These are direct investments into local cities for transformative infrastructure. High-speed rail has created over 10,000 good paying construction labor jobs in the central valley, including 1,891 jobs going to residents from kern county. We continue to work closely with our federal partners to pursue additional funding to finalize work in the central valley."
Givens says the separate Los Angeles to Las Vegas high speed rail project is moving fast and smoothly in it's beginning plans and could very well be finished before the original high speed rail project in the central valley.
Givens says in October the High Speed Rail Authority asked the City of Shafter to sign off on the High Speed Rail Authority receiving $60 million in federal grants for the Madera to Bakersfield leg. Givens says HSR assured the city that the rail authority would be good financially.
The city did not sign off, due to wanting more answers to questions, overall transparency and wanting the High Speed Rail Authority to work with the city as opposed to dictating their plans to them.
He and the city do not understand the need for the $60 million when they indicated they had the revenue to complete the project, and now today they are requesting support for help with obtaining $10 billion from the federal administration because they do not have the funds for completion.
California High-Speed Rail seeks funds for Bakersfield Extension
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) in the US has applied for $67m in new federal funds to ramp up key safety upgrades along the rail line in the Central Valley.The Authority is seeking the grant to enhance six current railroad grade crossings in Shafter, California.Part of the Federal Railroad Administration&rsq...
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) in the US has applied for $67m in new federal funds to ramp up key safety upgrades along the rail line in the Central Valley.
The Authority is seeking the grant to enhance six current railroad grade crossings in Shafter, California.
Part of the Federal Railroad Administration’s FY22 Railroad Crossing Elimination Programme, the $67m grant will help phase out six at-grade crossings of the BNSF freight railroad within the City of Shafter.
It will help advance the Bakersfield Extension by building two grade separations at Poplar Avenue and Riverside Avenue.
The financing will also help complete the design and purchase of right-of-way for four additional grade separations at Fresno Avenue, Shafter Avenue, Central Avenue, and East Lerdo Highway.
Furthermore, it will enable continued funding of the Central Valley Training Centre in Selma, California.
If secured, the capital will enable to carry out work on the first major structures in the Central Valley outside the current 119 miles under construction.
The Authority CEO Brian Kelly said: “The nation’s first high-speed rail system will improve the communities it serves.
“These federal funds will enhance safety in Shafter and prepare the community for high-speed rail construction – supporting living wage jobs, providing small business opportunities, enhancing economic development, and improving mobility while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
The Authority also has a pending federal grant application for around $1bn to acquire new electric trains that can operate at speeds of over 200mph, besides advancing design on Bakersfield and Merced Extensions.
Additionally, it will be used for the completion of a full double-track system on the initial 119-mile segment and for building stations.
The federal funding will allow to speed up the construction of electrified high-speed rail between Merced and Bakersfield by this decade’s end.
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