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Embarking on Your (Ag)Venture

Brad Johnson


Learn how to find ideal property. Price? Location? Climate? Soil? Zoning? Land in the family? Buy or rent? If leasing, learn how to go about the legal parts of lease agreements. What to buy, and how to set up infrastructure for efficient systems. 


Brad Johnson

Owner and Operator of Wooley Farms in Gridley, CA



  • January 26, 2017
    4:00 PM
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Well good afternoon. Brad Johnson my wife beauty. Will be farms is our farming. So this this. Class this time we're talking about embarking on your AG venture not sure who invented that term but things one of the at Agra boards members. So finding ideal property price location climate soil zoning land in the family buyer rant. If you're leasing how to do the legal parts. I'm not sure we'll get into too much of that but certain types of lease agreements. Making do with the land you have ever chucked are for efficiency. We talk about post-harvest handling. And how we set up our system for propagating harvesting washing packing and shipping. So location. QUESTION I was asked is it we find ideal property. Yes. What price within your price range or economics of what you grow or bring or bring capital from ever places. Or from the momentum of time and money already in your business. Make friends with your neighbors who are getting older with no family or interests. We have acquired property this way and in some cases at the right price as a for at the right time for a good price. So what about location. Close to markets. Yes. But we have shipped on airplanes and ships so it depends on what you're growing. I think it is important to be close to more important possibly close to services. We are close to grading stations like for grading your Firth. Dehydrators can lease refrigeration services all within it's closer distance. If you don't have those or event. You're growing. So if you have a forklift in a truck and trucking you can get stuff there. I like being at least near a main trucking route to get the service of trucks to come to our farm and pick up with some kind of turn around and there were to turn around to get their trucks in and out near cities. Yes or towns. People need to eat. But you can cover one hundred to two hundred miles pretty fast with a vehicle. And good climate. Yes we have a good climate in California for a lot of crops. So I know sure about climate where you guys are other people might be. But what else is out there besides California. Oh OK I thought we were the only place a group of them. OK. So climate may dictate more of your growing options or you may want to modify your growing with say who poses. We do that somewhat but not to a large degree. We have stressed the edges in our area and produce pineapple. At our place for fun when analyzing the soil here is something I would do if possible talk to longtime neighbors. I've lived in the same place all my life and talk to those born as early as one thousand nine hundred and later. I know about some of the land and weather in my immediate area some areas flood some don't grow things well some excellently some souls are better for some crops and others prunes peaches so interest walnuts rice vegetables cattle etc are not all adapted for the same soil. It can take years to see what takes place. I currently see land for sale near mine that looks great because we have been having dry years and it was planted then. But if we get a parole long wet spring. Whoever buys it without knowing it will lose a lot of trees. But also there are some pretty accurate soul maps. I have a piece of. City that has an area that doesn't grow things well and a few years ago I hired a farm advisor to help me with my or geisha in planning. He brought out some soul survey maps made before my time and they showed that small area of my field having different Saltire I was amazed at the accuracy at this. For such a small area from for long ago I think this came from. Maybe the extension office. It's an office. Least in our area and they actually have on our wall that our extension office soil profiles. So they've taken chunks of soil and made a map on the wall with actual dirt box of dirt that shows you the profile of that type of soil that names it what it is. So you can have that as a reference. Another thing. Another thing we do of possible is take a backhoe out and dig various holes to check the sole profile. And yes do soil analysis and get help with that from someone who knows the detail of that you can discuss with the experts but also just walking the fields. And observing. I grew up on the same land I'm farming today. So it's difficult to relate to what someone else is looking at yours is most likely different. This is an interesting vision Ilam WHITEHEAD When she relates what she when she was looking for land. Before I visited her bomb the Lord gave me a dream in my dream I was taken to the land that was for sale encouraged dong several of our brother had been solicited to visit the land and I dreamed that as I was walking upon the ground. I came to a neat cut furrow that have been plowed one quarter of a yard deep and two yards in length. Two of the brother who had been acquainted with the rich soil of Iowa were standing before this furrow and saying this is not good land the soil is not favorable. But one who has often spoken counsel was present also and he said false witness had been born of this land then he described the properties of the different layers of earth. He explained the science of the soil and said that this land was adapted to the growth of fruit and vegetables and that of well work would produce its treasures for the benefit of man. It later turned out to happen as she had dreamed. I find it very interesting that the one who spoke to her explain the science of the soil. The best consultant you could have but I wonder I wonder what was said and I look out here on this ground out here. I don't know what the souls like I look at I think Man this looks awful Sandy. But then you look at the trees it's growing must be pretty good in some ways for the trees are huge. So it's got something there. Zoning. Yes check on zoning I think in our area forty acres is a current minimum. But it seems have all kinds of exceptions. I'm not going to spend a lot of time on this though we have been seen. We have seen property chopped up and it makes it more difficult for farming because new people move in as. As a nice place to live and complain about the dust smells spray or noise. The Farm Bureau advocates for the right to farm. You're not acquainted with that the right to farm in the United States the right to farm laws in the United States deny nuisance lawsuits against farmers who use accepted instead of farming practices and have been in prior operation even at these practices harm or bother adjacent property owners or the general public agricultural nuisances may include noise odors visual clutter and danger structures all fifty states have some form of right to form law and you can ignore that and with a pedia where the form is one. Probably the best thing is to make friends and educate newcomers. About your processes. And in the family is how many farms are continued and that is how it has worked for me. But also having someone in that place ahead of you who knows the value of investing in farm land is helpful. My Montana grandpa. My mom her brother and sister were those and I always consider farmland a good investment. And we're always on the look out my dad joke and has jokingly said. I don't want any more land just the piece next to me. There are a lot of older farmers the average age as I understand it are sixty to sixty five years old maybe some that are looking for someone to educate and bring in. That is perhaps one of the best ways to get started. We watched a neighboring farmer he had no children farm his land year after year we kept in touch made friends let him know if he wanted to sell his land let us know and eventually he did when he no longer wanted to form. Sometimes you can get the first right of refusal meaning it gives you the option to buy the property before it is told to another buyer. There is a range of how that is implemented so that maybe something available to check into it has come up in our circles as a way to have the first option to buy as I drive around or observe from the air. I say there is a lot of land out there in my area I can't think of any houses or land. That has not changed hands to someone else for the next generation. During my time and it will happen again. Yes well. I'm afraid to look any more right now. Seriously I haven't. I mean we've heard anywhere from twenty to thirty thousand dollars an acre. Maybe. Maybe in our area where we were buying land Maybe back when it was maybe maybe three four five six thousand seven thousand or an acre. Maybe the farm now you know we haven't looked because it's in our area we live in a a rural community that every once a move in go to the local school. So although it's a residential people want to move in and have a little place in the country. So it's high prices people depend on the farming a lot of people don't depend on the farming for their income. So we have to price it on our in our low at our level we have to try to price it in terms of what we can afford what we grow and unless we're bringing capital from something else. We already have just sitting around you know some farmers do you know they've made it pretty good. They just keep leasing is one of the ways we made transitions from ownership in our family with lease purchases buying over time as part of an estate plan. I have had seventy five twenty five or eighty twenty leases on orchards paying landowner twenty to twenty five percent. Depending on who pays what with use it the landowner paying for capital improvements and water. Depending on source for other leases I've heard of or been involved are cash per acre or percent of the gross with other land care arrangements. I think leases can be all over the board depending on crop location in relation to owner they can be formal or verbal depending on your level of trust. Regarding growing practices. I say this may be a little off the track here use the tools that make sense if you're not tied to a set of market rules. This is maybe I got this in the wrong place. I think the judicious use of a wide range of products can be useful working toward an economical balance of course of direction. I think Don't worry if what you're doing isn't up to snuff to what you think everyone else is doing do the best you can and learn for planting trees we have deep reapers and back a back hoe to make the job easier. Yes there. Yes So that would be something you have to work out with the owner say for example if you're if we're leasing a piece of property on a basically if we're lease it at a seventy or eighty percent. You know it to say a seventy percent. You know it's a year year lease if they don't if they've done bought the trees and done although it's their land and they're doing a couple permits. That's a year year and it only if then if we would make an investment say we're going to put in say some nutrient that's going to be a five year caucus you know who see what five years a new piece of ground say you're in of lime or whatever around then we have to just go the owner and say look we need to work out this out if we're going to do this because we're going invest another five years in this we need to have some kind of a way to to you know we're doing all the work harvest the crop taking the income that we're giving them a that that twenty to twenty five percent of the crop and that and that's a go. She will to a certain degree. You know say it's drying we dry prose they pay the person you the drying. They buy the water they buy the trees that go back on the land if they're going to if they're going to replant they pay for the trees that we plant on the property because that's there's going to stay with the land that kind of thing. Yeah. Well one of the early years I farmed a piece of ground about six acres and made maybe two thousand dollars all summer. I don't think that was net. I was probably better off to go get a job in terms of money and I would have paid for a good disc if I had purchased it ahead of season because the crop production would have been so much better. I had prepped to if had I prepped the ground properly. As it was you should have seen my early tears. I mean years of farming because of poor soil prep and the planting shoes sealed the dirt off slick and the seed roots grew sideways where the plantings you slick the dirt trying to find a way down. So I had read this but this is kind of what it meant you know let it lead God's Glory Be Kept ever in view and if the crop is a failure Do not be discouraged try again but remember that you can have no harvest unless the ground is properly prepared for the seed. Failure may be wholly due to neglect on this point and that was the case for me that year. I shoveled chicken house manure into and out of the pick up that fertilizer to my soil. We eventually bought all forty gods drum truck to get more made a bucket on the forklift on the front of a tractor for a front end loader. So we could get a real one. I did not make good friends with some of our neighbors with wet manure hauled in for composting. So a little bit about propagating I know this kind of busy screen as asked to maybe ask a little bit are propagating systems. So just just to cough show you a little bit here. Maybe this is from era to many of you. This is a jumble on the top. But this we live right here. Well let me start over here this is one way we do it. We just take a double pleasure holes in the trays and put them the seed in by hand. And then we move that to our greenhouse this system is kind of halfway between high production and low. So this is in this. Re right here. We've tried to decide what kind of trader use we've settled on this when we started with these this one here is forty eight one hundred twenty eight or ninety eight or ninety six sells per trade this Dibble right here. You can't really this is the old wooden dows you turn it over presses holes in the soil for the seed then this trough right here hold our seed. This is a little vacuum cedar so has little needles all the way along here at different intervals and you blind it up with your seed trays I suck up the the slow pump right here as a foot activated a lever you put that this goes on the ground and I activate this in my foot. I just suck up. Seeds out of the straw for and and set it right over these holes and and then release it and it drops them in and I just push this tray underneath the underneath here as I need another line I push on or need in a and is. Pick them up drop them in pick them up drop them in you can automate this with a bigger system and do like on one hundred trays an hour or something like that we just do this by hand with this little vacuum tube and this whole thing. There's another one you can you can add different sized trays and different needle holes. This one down here is actually a pretty neat deal. We made this jig. So we fill this with dirt puncher holes. Then we set this jig over the trays you can see right here and there's two sliding plates of Plexiglas one with the side on the top of the side a seed you want to plant and the bottom is a bigger hole. And you offset them shake all your seed into the size of the top hole you want to seed to go into and and then just tip it over and let all the X. or seed run off to the side. And then you slide the Plexiglas over and it lines up with the bottom hole drops all the seeds in it wants. So you can plan a full tray all the one time you know thing we don't like about that is with expensive seed you end up planning a lot of seeds. Times you get doubles maybe triples in there for years. If you're whole sizes not quite right and then you've got a thin amount so if you have cheap seed that works good with tomato. If you buy it's seeds not very expensive. So that's just a little. The way we get seed into the trees. BLOCK more I think is that like more I think they make the trees too. There's that of a tree company. There's not a real great slider to look at but this is then we what we do for our heating of our greenhouse we run. Hot water through water through these water heater little circling pump here this draws a water cold water and basically don't draw cold water in once it's heated but and then it just circulates into out into this one and up this one and then down to the greenhouse over here and then we just run. We just made a is a homemade deal we just made some took some drip tape and we we run a hot water through our dictate. And we don't have to get real warm in our area because we're in California and it's not just to keep it where it doesn't freeze or you know springtime. This is a double poly film. GREENHOUSE So it keeps the pretty well and then we just set those trays unshowy very well because it's a popcorn were put into dry but these are all for drying trays we set them up on this or we set him right down the ground. So we can put nine trays on here all at once on these used trays and we can move our trays nine at a time rather than single if we're going to take them out of the field or want to move around the grain house while they get trying to pick up each one at one time it takes two people to move nine but better than you know one of the time. So that's just kind of a. Simple. I don't know I know it's come a mass here but to get your mind on that but hopefully explain it. OK I don't know. That just had to be popcorn. We picked we harvest our popcorn and then we just put in there dry because the greenhouse is HOT our greenhouse is our summer drier. Yeah there they got the house gone. It's just on. Yeah. Well it's the popcorns inside the house is we've harvested it already. And it we're just and we're going to pull the husk off and then shell it. So it's there it's just underneath the house. We just said I'm on the trays in the greenhouse. So now I'm going to talk a little bit about how we handle our material after we after we. Harvested so post office handing my think about this is what happens to the fruit after it separated from the plant or picked and how do you get it to the market in good condition or package the way it is wanted. So to clarify my qualifications on this topic. I'm not an expert educated by the book as a producer handler. These are there. There are books internet in universities for that but I'll be showing you some of what we do in our personal experience of how we handle our products primarily our vegetable crops. We also harbor server plums dry prunes mechanically and outsource the drying and pitting as well as long harvest the holing and drying and shelling. We handpicked or at times machine pick our peaches and ship them to be Canada commercial canner but we are daily involved in harvesting cooling packing and shipping our vegetables to wholesale markets. Over the course of years we have grown four markets many kinds of it. Fruits and vegetables with many unique needs for handling the details are too numerous to cover in a few minutes. But here I will try to answer. I'll try to answer questions if you may have as well our operation is relatively homemade and much of it has been learned as we go we have been growing for market various vegetable crops with many varieties within these kinds melons watermelon tomato eggplant cucumber squashed okra peppers beets cabbage scale Turnus basal and a few other miscellaneous types. We have evolved in our knowledge and infrastructure. Current state those of you who have a lot of money. I guess I could build it by the book right the first time. Ours is over time and still not right. I will be running through photos and speaking to aspects of our operation pertaining to harvest and post over us both being related to this topic. In other words what you do to pick the fruit gives the market in good condition. Something the note in this picture somewhere packaging we use precut for corner boards. That's nice precut corners. I mean it's precut precut straps they're all precut fit for the size a go around us a got that thing to tighten up right away you know how to cut it. And then corner boards for holding the boxes in and wieners new pallets and then we use in plastic wrap all talk about the brown paper pack a little bit later. One of my early goals was no carts in the fields to increase speed and efficiency of harvest and move product to be cooled and packed faster though there a system for hand picking fresh market tomatoes without carts. We have not risen to that scale except when we grew determinant varieties. We no longer grow those we just happen to be picking with carts right now the zucchini because this is our first pick through and it wasn't as efficient to be used or conveyor belt. We modified our carts for field picking cucumber and tomato with overhead shade cover for the fruit and people similar to our conveyor wagons meaning adding a top shade cover to the carts for the afternoon sun. These are a few of our current styles. Before and after so you can see we took we just took these carts these are some we've just used over the years different types. We stuff on here we're doing a wheelbarrow and we welded a flatbed on that and then we just put these overhead frames on here and put change over it. So we have shade. When we pick tomatoes like now we have shade in here we run these carts down through here. And so it helps quite a bit. So our homemade conveyor harvest system. We have designed our feel layout with nine road sections about fifty feet across and planning to bed plant and cultivate three rows at a time and put roads between sections allowing our compares to reach half way across for picking here you can see our roadways between maybe a little hard to tell but here's the road nine rows and then there's another road here. We'll show you how we do with that. So this allows us to move product from field to shade quickly and gives the added benefit to shade workers and compare with umbrellas or such things we made this can vary out of scaffolding from Lowe's and others from aluminum ladders and another from scrap electrical wire scaffolding it is powered by hard rock from the tractor textual plywood and regular comp roofing cuts the heat on the trailer cover the conveyor can swing back parallel on trailer for roading I have now seen these types of men of these types manufactured for purchase. So I think they make them commercially now you can be gotten into build them. We just did our own thing. So more pictures of how this work here we're packing feel cucumber so we just bring the cucumbers into the wagon. The girl on the right she's packing them. You can see the boxes we kind of made a little place to stack the empties and then little tables on the front so we can pack and then we'll talk about these wagons later they're kind of converted from something else. It works well for eggplant watermelon zucchini ambrosia and search take tomatoes. We use moist burlap on top to keep the produce covered and hydrated during transport you can see the wood is composite up there but on the bird I pulled it off so you can see the fruit. For the picture. We modified these trailers from obsolete to made awakens when sauce tomatoes were to hand harvested in bins. They have roller conveyors and work well for bends and fork of handling we added top and sides sidewalk way. Though not pertaining to harvest these provide a very very good way to stick our tomatoes of fish. We can put in three rows at a time and pound them in downhill so to speak a little hard to see. Things have roller conveyors here we just put these on the side and added the top. So we can slide our boxes in and out of air system and then we can use a fork up to unload everything. We load our stakes on the trailer and you can walk all the way up and down the sidewalk pounding stakes in on this side in the opposite side and one guy in the back counting the center row so we just go down the row and Connor stakes in with. Three at it. Three at a time. Another style lower profile we had a colossal extensions last year for morning or afternoon shade. We still have the other side to install We did it last year. So this is an old picture. We use this one mostly to pick and feel packed zucchini. This is incredibly helpful on hot days. It works well for hayrides. We're considering these wagons as an avenue to work in the cool of the night by hanging lights from the conveyor and canopy. So we can work night time pick where cousin the work in night with other crops such as when we machine harvested peaches we would start around eleven pm when the heat is out of the fruit and finish the next day around eleven AM when the days begin to heat up. It is a good way to use the natural cooling of the night to get the heat out our days can get over one hundred degrees for many days on end as it is ideally better to get the days. Pick done well relatively cool fitting on crop and system available so night Harvest is a consideration for us. Search for certain crops where you've been carriers and forklift to move product quickly. This can transport. Six to seven bins at a time and many bin cares can move a lot of product quickly. This is another form we work for this is those That's our equipment but we use that on another ranch. We don't have that and we sold all that stuff but don't move your fruit too quickly. Then we like plastic bins except for be in slippery this style is. The best framework for us because politics will fit underneath this better this tight micro plastic makes it but that they make one with a high high center for policy X. So in your cooler these work the best. If you get the other kind you can't get your pallet jack on anything very well and you can just stack these right up in your cooler and it's real nice. And want to when I'm down or whatever. So this is hydro coolers are great system. It allows the heat to get out fast. We've used this when we have larger volumes of produce like melons or eggplant. The bins are stacked inside this and chilled water research over the fruit and cools quickly. So the bands are stacked right in here. The the water runs down through the bends back into this tank and then it research relates back up in and back in again this is the back side this front side. And then there's just a cooling unit that keeps the water cool. So as it washes through the fruit. It cools it down gets the heat out of the system. This is and gives the product a final cooldown after hydro cooling or a standalone way to draw heat out air is pulled through the box vents to that to bring the entire pallet to as desired temperature before storing or shipping. Otherwise the pallet of boxes can become like a brick and retain the heat. You can't see it very well but there's a fan right in here draws of draws a cool air out and back into the cooler you drop these these tarps over the front and then all the air is forced through the boxes. Out of the cooler and brings cold air into the box of them back out and out into the cold box and then that gets you down to the last few degrees that you need if you want to hold it down to say thirty five or thirty two or something rather than try to get all the field heat out in there is. Better get the hydro cooler first and then this to bring it down to the last little bit. We also keep produce warmer trucks come through at thirty two to thirty six degrees and we want to made those eggplant of various things warmer fifty six degrees or so. So we wrap them to keep the cold out some companies want to. Temp tracker. So they can see temp fluctuations while in route. So that's what you see on the right we just attach it to the pallet. And it acts of eight trucks a temperature as it's in the truck additional stage are to make an incredible difference to cut heat when we bring product out to load on trucks and we have a high a large high tensile wire network for additional shading if we need to put up more shade. One major problem is it becomes a big sail and needs to be well fastened Otherwise it is a battle to tame when it is windy. Thankfully we don't get much strong wind in the summer. Jay helps while on the trailer traders as well we use coolers of various sizes and types partly these of evolved over time but also we need different sizes for volume fluctuations and separate coolers for different temperatures humidity and ethylene sensitivity. One is a diesel engine truck cooler we use this for volume overflow and because we don't have enough electricity but it can be difficult to use because in as in and out because first in is last out and on very hot days it needs more air flow as if the truck is moving the other is a forty foot freezer box with the insulation we can keep this fairly cool just using a small window a Bears AC if we don't open the doors often it is good for storing dried fruit or summer time storage of wax boxes the one on the small one is our first cooler they melt van and it's now retired for storage. We salvaged cooler panels to build our coolers they were eight hundred twenty feet long. This was a great find this is one of our homemade coolers I consulted directly with a compressor and condensor manufacture and built it with what we could we use the same panels for the roof and doors as well. Mathematically we do not have enough electricity to build coolers with all the cooling capacity we need. So in order to expand. And and even to do as much as we need with these we need more power lacking electricity limits our growth is maybe not the only thing. But it definitely is a factor. Yes. Most likely I don't know what it is. I just know it's we're not we don't have enough so we have to be able to grow so you know that's a limiting factor. If you've got to keep your produce cool you need a big cooling pack place to cool. We could we could that the P.G.A. wanted just to run a line. They wanted twelve thousand dollars and we we were at the point knowing where we're going to go yet. So we decided well we put the underground conduit in six inches. But we decided not to run a line of put in the system yet so it's just a matter of where we're going to go. How big green together for if at all. And at this point we're not planning on getting bigger. So we've got a poll. Powerful. Yeah. They wanted to they want to twelve thousand dollars to go from polar program. So we underground so we just kind of we drag our feet for a while and didn't do it so I was probably the maybe a hundred feet maybe not in that seventy five feet. So anyway here's our packs Yes we put this shit up in a hurry because we need the cover. We built this from salvage material telephone poles from the local roadway plywood fruit bin bottom From been repaired discard at the local fruit dryer for walls. We didn't have time to put a roof on right away. So we stretched up a custom made seven thousand square foot canvas over the top. As you can see for us covering cooling for post Harvest is a reoccurring thing but this shed was fairly hot with the canvas top. So we tried various coolers to cool the pack area this. One I did not did not work well the one on the right. But the big cool swamp cooler helped a lot. We also put a temp control fans up at the upper end to draw the heat out. Eventually we put a roof on with this twelve inches of plus of dead air space. So we left the campus and we put the riff on top of the canvas. It is a well insulated on top. It is now very nice in the summer are evolving plan for a pax it is one big cooler with product never leaving the packs yet until loaded on a truck. Currently our produce flow is field to cooler overnight. Then to pack shed back to cooler. Then the truck or some sequence like that one of the problems with that especially with tomato is the condensation on the fruit. When we pull it out of the coolers into the heat to pack so to minimize that when we have a big packed day I usually pull all the tomatoes out of the cooler to be packed in the early morning before the day heats up and the temperature is mostly the same some other aspects of our post hours ARV's handling is washing sorting getting it into a box and managing the products packaging flow. We would like to get all of our packages you doing up on a second floor level to do all of our blocks making up stairs and feed our pack lines with some kind of downhill shoe with less congestion on the floor. There are a lot of details of this but some of these machines give us a way to direct flow and sort through. We know it well would fork lift it up there just the pallets and then and Jack from there we have combined different Quitman. We've acquired to do that. We have we've just combine a lot of different women this is a water and brush white. Water and brush wash line and sponge dryer right here you see yours so it comes through here pricing these got these brushes in here and it's got power washer underneath there blows off traction and mud then this dries it right here. And then moves it all. We just marry dissed to the other one. So here it is between and then we just move the product on the next picture I think is coming up how we move to the next one. This has a. This is a two sided bin dumper. So you can feed this line continuously This will dump and this will run as a mark mercury switch that activates this when the when the bell gets low it activates it and when it gets heavy it stops it and then once this band is empty. The other one dumps and you can put a new ban on here. While this and. Going on to the bell so you have continuous flow with nonstop gaps in your in your pack line. So here is just and this is not a real sophisticated packed line this is just a two way belt. So it runs down this way and it returns on this one to parallel bells walked running different direction it's going to big circle and off that we pack off both sides. So you have a this girls pack on this side. We only use one side we don't have a lot of volume and so then we just a few packs and then we once as packs you cite standing in here you can't see it there but the differ in these lame on the role of a role model here and palletized them then we run into cooler. So I just kind of try to make the flow. So multiple We run about fifty five to sixty. In fifty and sixty. We try we don't. My my humidity system I'm getting to that a little bit also explain that to a little bit. So this is a simple zzzzz things still dip tank we use for zucchini or other things that need washing we saw weeds out from a local can. So we use that for our sanitizing dip tank. This pretty busy another piece of quick we have this is actually electronic computer driven for high volume was really made for potatoes. Lets you really answered on the go into this too much but. No. Well last we did one year but we don't try to do this. The thing I like about the system right here. Is this one right. This is the sorting machine comes in here divides into three lanes and runs a product onto the Roark in very belts. You can see it turns or fruit as it goes down the very belt. You can see all sides of the fruit. You have exit belt here for number two and another one for garbage goes the other way. Just a way to get all your fruit sorted in one pass and then it moves on to here dropped on to these can various and then drops into bulk. Boxes here which way these are scales each one. It weighs a now and then you just put on your conveyor belt and palletized from there. This originally made for potatoes has a seeing eye sees all four sides of the fruit as it goes through. So it sees all the bumps and little nicks and what are you all things on the fruit and then tell them where to go when it runs down the line. So it's just there's other kinds we have used over the years. This is called a cone size or if you're looking for some kind of a simple size or we've used this for tomatoes primarily but it's good for around fruit onions. Oranges citrus that concept of that you dump it. If you do if you do a manual just dump your box on here it rolls onto this root this turns. In a circle. That's shaped like a cone. So the first runs to the outside as it runs around this loop is the slots are open at different heights and the fruit then drops out onto the table and we just put like two by four with foam pad on here to divide these sections and as it rolls down here then we just pack along off this table right here on the side packed the different sizes into the boxes. And you can see that's just set up because I was selling this unit and I set up so somebody could see it to buy it. This kind of show the chart we use it on our cooler bar wall it shows. Ideal temperatures for the fruit ethylene sensitivity humidity. That it needs to be stored at and wheezes charge it's kind of short our active What we need to be doing. It's can be relatively important because one time we had a one of our employees put a pallet of ambrosia in with our watermelon. And it made all our water Mungo soft because ethylene you get these online. There are leaks look it up you can get these charts we just pulled it off line I think so. We lost a whole bunch of watermelon when you're because so many put the wrong melons in with our watermelon in now we know this shows you what kinds how how sensitive some fruits are to be stored together and so it's up to be aware of. Yes. Well as the least amount that we can obviously it depends on the market. You know I'd say we got we try to move within a week. Everything out of we rotate we try to rotate everything depend on the crop. You know but because we've got we're storing which we put a plant watermelon. Tomatoes may they may all will pretty well together in the same temperature and same color but it's a it's a problem because we don't have enough space. But yeah probably within a week we try to ship everything and really sometimes we're coming right on the field and put it on the truck that's ideal for us as long as it's cool down. Usually one day we cool it. We pack of the next. And we ship it within that same week that we've done that. What we try to ship it cold. Because a lot of time the trucks will come through and they'll they'll have a Their instructor drivers to check to tip your what we're loading there. They want to know that fruits coal when they load on the truck. And they track that temperature all the way through the the course of the. The produce on the road and when they receive from us when we don't want to blame for warm. You know they'll say you know you guys were the ones that made it go bad. You know so we try to get filled by children and then pack and ship within a few days. But the free market backs up then were backed up. But thankfully our broker. He seems to have he's he's in Berkeley and he has it seems like he has a seeing eye in our cooler because he seems to get trucks there just about the time we're Fulda. And it just it works like clockwork I'm just amazed sometimes I think the seas are cooler is amazing. Anyway. Some are various products and packs. Some might as I didn't need water and we intentionally wet them and packed with wet paper on top and bottom to prevent to retain more Easter such as a plant cucumber squash beets kale and basal we packed bulk turnips radish and beets in perforated plastic bags you walk some wax boxes for our wet packs because all go in there with a hose. This is my humid if. This is my humidity. Humid it humidifying technique. I'll go in there with a hose sometimes it just wet down my cooler with a hose and I One guy told me just take a big bucket of water and leave your little water bucket in there to kind of give it some because it'll you know it dries out definitely dries out I mean you. You've got to keep it wet down and we lay burlap on on some of those bins before we packed it kept to get to the top layer from shriveling are getting you know dried out you know we need one. We just don't. I haven't done that yet. Right. Yet if we're store and tomatoes in there with black boxes. We have a way down the yet be careful really basic of what I do sometimes I'll just go in with the floor. Try to keep if it's got to me things in there and I can't wait. I was going to run the hose on the floor. But it's not the best thing. So this is the post-harvest we really want precious children for eternity. Even us older children. HOUSER we teach our children. I say start them young. Tell your children about America working power of God as they study the great lesson book of nature. God will impress their minds as the children are told of the work that God does for the seed. They will learn the secret of God's grace. We should so train the use that they will love to engage in the cultivation of the soil so far as possible. Let the child from his earliest years be place where this wonderful lesson book shall be opened before him. And in all his works to learn of the Creator. And this one. I don't know if it applies exactly. Deuteronomy six seven and you show teach them diligently unto your children. And still talk of them when you sit in your house and when you lie down and when you rise up. These are my grandkids. So this is one of our fields. We were planning a lot of beneficial flowers a feel watermelon. How we doing on time. No more time with that. OK So you want to see someone harvesting operation stuff I've got if we have time or question you got a lot more time. So this next slide is the kind of joke about how we. And it's kind of little bit of a video. So this just drives on one side of the tree dries on the other. He's taken off the fruit it doesn't come off. So you can see that shakes the tree underneath there's a shaker. And he's just taken off. What is not getting and then the fruit rolls down on to this from the side down the other one. And then this dumps up on the conveyor belt used to come up and just run the fruit back through a band blows. The trash out of the fruit and we take it in from there. There's you can see this chick away chick in the tree. So it's just rotating at different speeds. Not if it's done right now it can't. We've had times with her trees but yeah they're all tree supplies a break but these are these are fairly old trees. You know that this kind of shows you will buy that. So then we haul it out with a BIN carrier and so here's a been Care load where these are all lined up. We've tried to put a memory to shade tree and my daughter stacking them up to go on a truck and that's just a picture the picture of the sugar plums hanging on the tree. This is walnut harvest. So here were shaken moments. So this just a you can't see it with the sly very well. But it's shaking the tree and then in front of their this as well as a little sweeper that sweeps the nuts away from the front wheel. So you don't run over the nut when you drive forward. So that's just of come a basic so that this is just and then this comes along behind. And it sweeps the nuts into windrows that has a fan that blows it off the tree row and then it just brings them into the middle and into a one row into one long row and then this machine comes along and picks them up blows out the trash and that leaves and puts them into a trailer behind it. Yes pretty densely then and then from there. The guy in the back that's that runs in the pinot So he's the bank out man he's picking up exempting this trailer and the fruit the nuts are going into the bank out and he's just unloading on the run has an automatic bumper you bump into it. It runs a conveyor and unload the trailer. So you just bumping into it and running the same speed as the other one to keep it up tight till he gets full and then he brings it out and he is like a big dump truck. So he'll dump that into the conveyor belt. And the arbors or bring the for forward and then one from there it just goes up the conveyor belt and into the trucks and so that dumps it in the truck and then from there the trucks take it into the where we get hold you'll see the next little bit where we gets gets hold this is my orchard here on the Where We are harvesting this is not my equipment. I can afford to buy this stuff at this point. Looks like quick work. Yeah it looks like it quit on me. I'm not sure. So this is the hole or so then it gets dark and dumped into a bottom. Where it gets conveyed up into the hole or and from there it gets the holes get taken off the sticks get taken off of the nuts get washed in the the hollow ones get vacuumed up out of the nets so they're on a hollow nuts and that's a deep that takes the sticks off that this power washes it and then they run into a you can't really you won't see the hole or because it's all covered up. So just this is another way to handle a lot of stuff. So the hole is right. Arnie that silver plate takes the holes all. And then we run through the next. There's all vacuum cleaner right there the next that backing him out the the hole ones. And then it runs on the another conveyor belt and we've got some gals there that are just there picking out anything that's left over that gets missed. So then it goes into a dryer we drive home because there was a little bit green and then get dried down to I don't know whatever percentages. It is a member and. And then from there they just gets. Stored in two Bowl containers we been zur in our case we use huge big bins and then they go into a cracker where the crack can get the meat out and this does get the holes out to the field. You just see the full circle of the holing. This is going back up a field again. No no this is all that's all we have another form. There are getting farmers to. Fillmore's in Gridley and they are the one they have the whole or in the harvesters and they just we just pay them to do that for us. That's what they do. So. That's my wife. Big tomatoes. That's a that's a Marvell you ever had. Those are delicious. So anyway. That's kind of some of what we do. If there's any questions about some of that. So the not has a green hole around it and it runs it through an abrasive. Some kind of abrasive fingers that just rub a mall off the got little things inside there that just rub the holes off. Well yeah what happens is we waited at harvest time wait till the whole splits. So it stuck. It's stuck to this shell until a certain time and then it just breaks loose and lets the nut drop out. And they if they are all dropped out like some of those that's where the hole or takes the rest of them off cuts them take them clean. Ideally we would like to have a rain. Before harvest because the rain then loosens the hole and starts a cracking some people put on ethanol which will then prematurely cracked holes with the hole they spray of mature chemical on there and it makes it split. So you can harvest your your wants early and then. You have some other ones that naturally split and come off later because you don't have the capacity to run all those nets into the hole or at the same time so it's nice to have the harvest spread out. What we do. Yeah yeah. Yeah a lot of our stuff comes from another place because feather packaging is not as well. Going to with with wet products these lot of dry stuff. So we've moved to another packaging supplier like over where they handle a lot more of the wet stuff. Yeah your greens we pack our. Our cucumber or squash. We in we're doing. Eggplant we packed in there for some reason and why because Brock We bought a bunch of broccoli boxes and we just used the because we didn't have the and then so lunch meats that kind of stuff is all waxed. Well the two companies we work for bills small amounts rather crackers you know break down to just a few If you want. And generally the other company work for we preorder we preorder everything. So so you're preventing pre-print in your box they like to have a minimum amount. And if we're just getting generic so they they you hold they have what we call our stock box. So they it's all size and everything same size our of it just says fruits and vegetables or what. Around there and you just put your label on or printed on each box it's as easy as you pack it. And we've got three we liked ever printed because it takes time. So if you're going to stick a label on every box it takes time. So you just if you've got already printed use make and you go you know you know the right stuff on we buy for that year and we try to run out and we will and we and we actually have gotten pretty close. We've we've been running our production of our fields for quite a few years now. How much we get out of per acre and we measure by tenths of an acre on our fields. So I we go by tenths of an acre and how much boxes we get out of that on an average and we can gauge once we set up our timing plan for the year and we got an really it's not what we set up. We try to set up ahead of time. Here's the after we get it planted we know what we have because we ran out of transplants or something else happened and we didn't have quite fill the feel like we thought so we plan ahead. Write it all up order our products and then we generally get pretty close. I usually try to like to Toronto out of my boxes and move into generics stock box if I can because I can return those if I if I'm not going to use them anymore. They'll take the stock market back. Oakum packaged used to be called rentals packaging and they they sold to another company and then we actually picked stuff out of Sacramento from them. So yeah most of what we do we try to have delivered on a truck or a place and everything we sell we try to have taken away our truck from our place. But we're not driving anymore. So we run out of those sometimes and we get them a cash and carry. They're not the. They work but they're a lot more expensive. Yeah you can buy yet tissue we've got to cure from Rick organising or rather a packaging. So yeah I mean you can I don't know just love there's a lot of details to it but over the years you kind of get with it after a while so any other questions you thing people like to. M I can move on and more stuff but it's just it's so i mean. We farm. My wife and I own and farm organically about fifty to sixty acres maybe somewhere and then we lease some land. That's of our own and we just our lease and some other ground. That's not certified about fifteen acres and then I farm. I farm another eighty acres with my brother. So I've got maybe a hundred fifty acres maybe that farming. So we're just down the hill. Yeah so we're we're you know where you the city is so we're just about thirty miles north of the city on ninety nine I would a nine. Yeah yeah. So you're. Yes wonderful if you mean this season. Then you know you go over all that I'm sure you know. Not. Well Were were you going to sell it. Were you going to sell it is worth your market. And I I guess in I started with bull. We start growing stuff that we wanted to grow and we started selling of the same time but you know that meant that you know as we were stuff was coming on. I was on the phone. I'd run around and work around sell stuff you know and that just you know it works but it can work but I would try to find your outlets first. Quite a bit. Well yeah. Well yeah but most of my grounds and orchard so maybe to clarify that a little bit you know we've gone from thirty to now we only do about five acres so what you see most a lot of here is is vegetable. But our fish and seas are in our in our orchards. Because we do mostly with the seams. But our. So we do less and cross because most I'd say eighty percent of our time is in our vegetable business. And it's probably the least amount of ground we farm. So that takes a lot of time and maybe. Maybe our are learning experiences as we get older in this realm of our time with we're cutting back on that and we're moving more to a more efficient. Labor less labor intensive crops. Yes So we're growing like in term. I've got I'm putting on some crops I grow safflower in the summer five open ground it doesn't make me any money but it treats my solo grow wheat I've got we grown in the winter now and some ground that really I don't know what to do with it yet so I'm I put weight on it it doesn't make me much money but it gives me some you know in and helps with the soil. So we're selling those we go to a commodity broker and we buy the sea from them and they buy the wheat from us when it comes off our local combine guy comes in a combine so we for me I don't have that equipment. So but that you're not making a big lot of money you need a lot of land for those kind of crops. You know. So really we're making are we make of a lot of netball not net a lot of growth dollars on the vegetables. It's pretty incredible the amount of money we can make on a piece of ground with with the vegetable deal but it also comes with a cost of time and effort to do it and that's in that's in the organic business I don't know but I don't know about the conventional because I've If you're competing in that venture business in the conventional side. I don't I'm not sure we're you know we're just I'm not involved in that MUST. To some degree. I'd say yes mostly in our custom harvesting business which my brother and I run together you saw some liquid there you know to buy that kind of equipment and if you're going to buy land. You know I like to say I could maybe I could maybe run my business if I'm not buying land. If I have my land. If you have to buy land. I'm not saying I don't know if you can let you have a chunk of money to bring with you right to buy it right off. Then I think you probably carry some cause we cure some debt we carry debt with our our A customer was busy. Yes. Because you buy a piece of equipment back way back might cost you. So one hundred one hundred twenty thousand dollars for a piece of equipment. It takes you. You know five years or more to pay that out. And so you kind of figure that out you know and say well OK and then you add to that and you know so it. But in general yes I think on our vegetable business. We try to run that pretty well debt free. To do that. Yeah. So that helps a lot you don't have a lot of debt but we live with debt. We still have in it's part of our other part of our business we still have debt. You know it's not something we like but it's something we have. Yes. Yes so in we found that zucchini was our first or quickest turnaround. We could put from seed the harvest would be fifty days. So we'd put the seed the ground. We'd be picking fifty days later and have to return. And that was pretty quick but anyway that's what. Yeah we're you know. Let's go now we've tried to stay out of debt. But like I said I was out of the presentation lot of times we step over a dollar to pick up a dime. So I think we're saving it here. But it's costing him more in the long run you don't always see that when you're doing it but when you look back you think I would have been better off to do something different. But at the time you don't quite see it you know so well we don't own the pistachio orchards. We just harvest their net income. I don't know the difference because I'm not. Yes Yes It's been a good crop per You know I don't cry better. I think so. And there's there's a lot of windows very bill in there because you asked me that question. I got to go OK Is that conventional is that organic and what year. What price. You know. But yeah pistachios I generally are probably a more little better and I could talk a little bit more that if you need to we're involved in some possess your ranch is that are pretty credible. The most income bringing. Gross or net. And which year the thing about what do you know other words. What's left over or what it brings in as overall. What's left over is. We've probably done. I'd say the most the most we've done on a per acre basis was on course if you. I'm a couple different things. One was basal but you couldn't calculate that out over an acre. But I would say probably Roma tomatoes as one of our better ones. I'd say one year we and maybe we might have growth well let's grow so I can tell you that if you cover us when we start growing back you Cumbers we did really well with those but what the net is. As an average I'd say we maybe at some point netted about eight thousand dollars were there but the cash flow in that was a lot larger than that you'd be go Wow you only got eight out of that. When you think. Well we got sixty. Thousand gross and we only took eight. But you know that kind of those going to numbers. I think are maybe our best growth dollars by the Romans do the math think I figure we might in about one thousand an acre on one time on an acre Roma tomatoes. But another year last year we lost money so you know what you want to take the market the market makes a difference if you're not getting money for your product is going to cost you because you've got so much junk. So much money to get it in the box of the market. So that's where knowing your cost you know if you're if you're prices there you're just going to be going to spend in the money. 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