Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California, east of Fresno. I achieved an A.S. in Business Administration from Cuesta Community College and a B.S. in Agricultural Business from California State University, Fresno. I went back to school last year to complete plant science courses to be eligible for my Pest Control Advisor license through the CA Department of Pesticide Regulations.
What is a typical day like as a Farm Manager at AgIS Capital?
There is no typical day for me: I dedicate time between the AgIS Capital office in Turlock and time out in the field reviewing our clients’ permanent crop assets. I strive to provide a “boots on the ground” element for both our clients and the team at AgIS Capital. I hold the opinion that I am not able to farm or oversee a third-party manager from a desk, and to fully understand a specific asset I need to walk fields and observe how things are progressing. No matter the asset, I dedicate myself to getting to know the intricacies of each asset within our clients’ portfolios. I provide our team the details that are necessary in making sure our clients’ assets perform in accordance with underwriting. Due to my time in the field, I can provide detail-specific information that others on our team need to construct accurate budgets and calculations.
At peak developmental crop stages, I fly drones to provide data on crop health as well as provide tree and vine counts. After flights, I generate reports and send them to various colleagues who use them to make management decisions for each asset. These counts provide us with net farmable acres, a critical number that is used in many other considerations. I am also involved in oversight of a platform of leased properties that includes almonds and walnuts. During wine grape harvest I supervise a crew of tractor and harvester drivers and document which customers received which grape varietals for outgoing loads from 11 pm to 6 am. Copies of load tags are sent to the office the next morning so that our operations analysts can correctly document yields and revenues.
What do you enjoy most about being a Farm Manager?
A huge element of the job I absolutely love is the variability of each day. Often, you must improvise and go with plan B or C. Year-to-year varies; in my mind I see farming as an ever-changing puzzle, and I acquire more tools to mitigate unfavorable situations as time goes on. My job is very hands on, and I enjoy that as well. Working with “Best in Class” farm management companies and implementing cutting edge technologies to be more efficient is exciting to witness and be an integral part.
It would be difficult for me to put a price on the degree of freedom the job entails. All the beautiful places our clients’ assets tend to be located does not hurt either. From the fresh breeze of coastal vineyards, to the wide-open Sacramento valley orchards, I appreciate the diversity California has to offer daily. It seems that the longest days I spend in the field tend to provide the best sunrise or sunset photographs, and I do my best to share them with colleagues and our clients.
Why did you choose Agriculture and what helped you to make that choice?
From a young age I was taking naps on the garage floor and handing my dad wrenches while he worked on family vehicles. When I was 13, he started making wine as a hobby. Dad swore up and down that he would never have an interest in growing grapes. A stubborn, teenage version of myself with no family in farming aimed to change his view. My passion for farming was realized during my senior year of high school due to a shop teacher who pushed me to reconsider my future. In college, I had internships in different realms of agriculture. With each step up, I got more hands-on, and enjoyed it more. I now know for certain I could not be anywhere near as content in Engineering as I am in Agriculture.
What is the most interesting part about your job at AgIS Capital?
The most interesting part of my job is learning and streamlining different farming techniques that the array of permanent crops require. In college, I found an appreciation for chemistry. Of all the disciplines of science, organic chemistry is the most applicable to day-to-day activities during the growing season. AgIS Capital’s senior-level managers reinforce trends I observe and help further my understanding during the growing season.
Another portion of my time is dedicated to ad-hoc projects for the team at the AgIS Capital Turlock office. These projects can consist of anything from installation of weather stations to moving equipment between assets. I enjoy the variety this element of the job and how engaging the job is as I get to work with many team members.
What do you see in the future for the Agriculture world?
Across the board, I see consolidation. Those who are going to stay in agriculture will need to grow their businesses to survive. Production will continue to be more innovative, using less water, fertilizer, and pesticides while continuing to sustain or improve yields. One constant that will always remain with Agriculture is the requirement of hard work, dedication, and passion. Days in the field will always be long, and a passion for cultivating a quality crop is necessary in this industry.
When you have some spare time what do you like to do?
In my spare time I love to be with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoy outdoor activities such as snow-skiing, wakeboarding, riding dirt bikes, fishing, hiking, and travelling. I have a couple of project trucks that are in different stages of being modified, and I love to play with my one-year-old Australian Shephard.