Madera corn lovers rejoice
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Madera FFA members from left, Cliffard Ward, Edwin Rosales, Elvin Orduna, Omar Augustin-Zarate, Gabriela Gonzaga-Zaragosa, and Diana Ortiz-Miguel hoe weeds in one of the corn fields on campus at Madera South High School. (Members not pictured: Jayden Berry, Erick Verduzco, Brandan Machado, Logan Trevino).
Judging by the last time the Madera FFA at Madera South High School held a corn sale, it’s going to be a busy time at the school in the next couple of weeks.
Passerbys may have noticed corn is getting ready to be harvested driving down Pine Street. Madera FFA added more plots for the corn and plan to space the harvest out to October, but hopes to begin selling at near the end of the month.
“We planted in May,” FFA teacher Tim Deniz said. “We will be harvesting in about two weeks. We have a little more corn, like an acre and a half. I have 10 students participating in the project. We have planted over the last several months, six different plots of corn. We planted in sections on about an eighth of an acre. We will harvest about 10 days apart. The first harvest will be at the end of the month.”
Deniz and the 10 students have accumulated about 300 hours of work on the corn fields.
“By the time the project is over, it will be about 800-1,000 combined hours after they harvest and we sell the corn,” he said.
After taking last year off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Madera FFA students are back at it. In 2019, Deniz said they sold out every day in about two hours.
“We started the project in 2018,” Deniz said. “Usually, we started at about 9 a.m. and the latest we went that year was at about 11 a.m. Last year, we had to take off because of COVID. This is our first project with kids since then. It’s good to be out there and see the kids out. We had to deal with all the COVID protocols. It’s starting to relax now we’re outdoors. We’re able to do it, so that’s good.”
The corn sells for three ears for $1. All the proceeds go into a cooperative for all of the students working on the project.
“The students will all pay for the project,” Deniz said. “At the end of the project, all of the profit is split up among the students according to the number of hours they put into the project. Most of the kids have the same amount of hours, but some are involved in other things like sports or vacations. All of the students are working towards getting their state or American degrees. Some of the students only have this project. We also have students who have additional projects.”
Deniz is proud of the community support for the students. He knows the community supports the kids and a lot of the students look forward to the annual corn sale.
“The community rallies around the kids,” Deniz said. “They come to support every year. A lot of them look forward to it. We have a Facebook page to keep everyone updated about the corn. The corn is a variety we got from a local supplier. It works very well for us. We had a different variety in 2019 than 2018. This year, we went back to the variety everyone liked, the one we used in 2018.”
Deniz knows to expect a crowd and hopes his students realize what will be in store once they start selling corn.
“We have about five returning from last year,” he said. “The returning kids know the process. The new students don’t know what to expect. They are all looking forward to selling the corn.”
To know when the first corn will come off the stalk, follow the Madera FFA group on Facebook at Madera FFA Crop Cooperative.