Western View: The Almondnac

Taylor Hillman Features, Tree, nut & vine crops, Western View

almond grove-california
Len Wilcox talks about blogging about an almond grower.

I’d like to tell you about a new project I’m working on; I’ve been given the opportunity to write a blog that follows an almond grower through his year. The blog is sponsored by the Valent USA Corporation, and I’m to report on the highs and lows, the decision points, and the effort and worry that goes into growing a crop in California.

It’s a tough business. A lot rides on every decision made. Farmers have no need to go to a casino; they gamble every day they farm.

Almond growing is also a unique business, and the people who do it are just as unique. It is a lifestyle and a calling; only someone who loves what they do would tolerate the long hours, the risks, and sheer hard work involved in bringing in a crop. It’s also a family-run business, more than most other industries, often with sons and daughters and aunts and uncles filling the various roles in the operation.

Which is good, because when Valent asked me to look for an almond grower that exemplifies the California Farmer, I did not have to look far. My son-in-law Brett Bonomi fit the bill exactly.

According to the 2012 USDA Ag Census, there are approximately 6,800 almond farms in California. About half of these farms are comprised of 50 or fewer acres, and tended by a grower much like Bonomi.

He’s a second-generation almond grower who is making a life and building a heritage on 60 acres of sandy loam south of Fresno. Working closely with his father, he embodies the independent, family grower. He has a wife and two strong boys who are living the life and already show that they want to be in the family business.

I’d like to invite you to stop by and check out the blog, and perhaps follow along as we grow the 2015 crop of almonds. The blog is online at thealmondnac.com.

I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West.