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A “C” Crop of Another Kind

Posted on March 4, 2013 at 7:40 AM by Iowa Corn

Two weeks ago, a group of Iowa farmers traveled to Tulare, California for the World Ag Expo. For farmers, it was a must to get out of the city and visit with local farmers. Ryan Hopper, a citrus farmer from nearby Exeter, California was an excellent host.

Starting at the Red Bard gas station, the group grabbed a few Mountain Dews and headed out to the citrus groves that have been in Ryan’s family for 4 generations. Some of the trees in the orchard were planted in 1939! The corn farmers in the group were naturally curious about irrigation, frost, acres, fertilizer, equipment and weed control- many of the same issues they worry about on their farm of a different kind of “c” crop.

Ryan’s farm consists of 180 acres of navel, cara cara oranges, and tangelos. He has one lemon tree on his home place, “just for fun.” The corn farmers in the group were amazed that just 180 acres could support his family (Ryan’s wife works as an Agriculture Teacher in Tulare). But, when the harvest crew showed up with ladders, baskets, and small clippers to hand harvest, the corn farmers in the group suddenly thought 180 acres of fruit laden trees sounded like more than enough!

After checking out the orchards and cutting open a few tasty samples, the group headed to Visalia Citrus Packing Group, LP where Raul Gamez spent a lot of time answering questions with the group- even during one of the busiest times of the year.

A couple interesting facts from the tour included:
  • Citrus can be traced back to the farmer and the farm it came from
  • Premium designations are generally shipped overseas
  • Any imperfection on the outside of the fruit sends it straight to juice
  • The oranges we saw are ripe from November-April, but are treated on the trees to keep them juicy for when they are needed
  • Customer preference dictates varieties and even packaging
  • Newly planted trees won’t be ready for harvesting for 10 years

In closing, Farmer Ryan, even though he was a citrus farmer, shared the same position as corn farmers, Dean, Denny, and Roger from Iowa, “I enjoy talking to people and teaching them about farming, because it is important that they know and understand what I do.”

Comments
The corn farmers in the group were naturally curious about irrigation, frost, acres, fertilizer, equipment and weed control- many of the same issues they worry about on their farm of a different kind of “c” crop. <a href="http://www.bchvacsystems.com" rel="nofollow">Vancouver Heating Contractor</a>
Elizabeth J. Neal | noreply@blogger.com | 08/21/2014 at 08:55 AM
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