Meet a Farmer: Bob Ferguson of Ferguson Farms
Meet Bob Ferguson, an asparagus farmer who loves to travel. Bob’s family has been farming since 1904. Bob has some very real talk about what it takes to be a farmer. Check out what he has to say about his favorite thing about farming and what he’s been up to on the farm!
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Bob: It’s another day of asparagus harvest. I checked in with the crew and the labor contractor and checked how our two remaining fields are going. The weather is still fairly cool so that’s good for us. We are starting to furrow out our cornfields and we’re going to pre irrigate here soon. We just finished up our first cutting of alfalfa as well.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite thing about farming?
Bob: I’d say it’s the independence of it all. I like being outside, I prefer not to sit behind a desk all the time. And I like that you get to see the fruits of your efforts. I get to reap what I sow. I like having the ability to start a process and see it through to its finish and getting to reap the rewards. In farming you get to see the results. I also like that a lot of the people I work with or that work for me are my neighbors.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Bob: I donate where I can. I’m working with the community every time I go out and sell by trying to pass the word that locally grown is great and in season. I’m on several boards and charities. I am on a few water boards, a museum board and a reclamation board.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?
Bob: My family’s been farming here in the Delta since 1904. I grew up with it. During the summers as a kid I would come out and work with my dad. That’s how I made my money as a kid, harvesting alfalfa. Vietnam was going on after I graduated college at Cal Poly SLO so I took off to the military in naval aviation. My dad called one evening and asked what my intentions were when I was done. We decided to move back to Stockton. I was very happy I did because I got to spend the next ten years with my dad learning as much as I could about farming from him. I still miss him today. I pretty much just made the decision to come home. And I’m glad I did.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not farming?
Bob: My wife passed away 3 years ago and just this last summer I started taking road trips. I went down route 66 to Chicago. I passed through Yellowstone and the Badlands and I’m planning another trip right now. I really like to travel. I also play golf and trap and skeet shooting is one of my favorite pastimes.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a farmer?
Bob: You better have a lot of money. It takes passion, patience and a strong back and the ability or willingness to understand Mother Nature. Sort of like the sailor if he doesn’t like the rough seas and what the weather throws at him then he shouldn’t be a sailor. It’s the same thing with farming if you can’t roll with the punches then you shouldn’t be in the profession. I was serious about the money, it’s not a fancy lifestyle a lot of backbreaking work; you have to learn how to save and be very conservative.