I hope you enjoyed our cover story about lettuce producer Mellon Farms. I was impressed by the number of acres, the efficiency of the farm, and most importantly, the fact that it is a third-generation family-owned operation. It is wonderful that Archie Mellon, the patriarch of the family, farmed with his son Doug years ago, and now Doug has passed the torch to Colin, Todd and Cory.
Working with one’s father can be challenging, as every generation has their own ideas. It is highly recommended that adult children work someplace else before coming back to any family operation. However, there is an unspoken bond between father and son – or father and daughter – that you won’t find in a business contract. Most fathers beam with pride when their offspring successfully expand an operation or makes positive changes to keep the land in the family.
More than 90 percent of the farms in the U.S. are considered family-run. This figure encompasses all types of farms from vegetable to livestock. If you read the article in our March issue about the Long Acres Potato Farm, it is owned by son Bryan Beck and his father, Clarence. Although the farm covers 3,100 acres, it is still considered a family farm.
There are many examples in past issues of Growing portraying family farms. Reading each article, I can imagine there were times when the first generation questioned if it was worth hanging on to that land to turn it over to the next generation. The underlying message in each story is the guidance a father has bestowed upon his children to nurture that operation. Fruit and vegetable growers lead a busy life in the summer, but on Sunday, June 19, I hope you take some time to spend with your father.
Happy Father’s Day!