Meet a Farmer: Dan Mortenson of San Joaquin Figs
After serving in the Air Force, Dan Mortenson turned his sites on the family farming business where he helps farm some of San Joaquin Figs over 1,000 acres of figs in Central California. Meet this newly-minted father and find out why he loves farming!
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Dan: Today we just put up an owl box because we have pocket gopher problems. Generally, we are doing pruning and weed control in the fields during this time of the year.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of working at a farming operation?
Dan: My favorite part is being outside and I also really like the variety in my work schedule. I get to do a lot of very different things. People that I get to work with are very good people. I started just three years ago, so I have not been in the Ag business very long and it is especially nice to get to work with friendly, helpful, professional people.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Dan: We sponsor charitable events and some charitable golf tournaments. We will help sponsor little league teams of our employee’s children. This past year, we sponsored a team for the Bike for MS Charity Race.
CA GROWN: What drew you into farming?
Dan: I was active duty Air Force for four years and when we decided to leave the service, I went to work for my father-in-law. My wife’s family are 4th generation farmers from Fresno. I started out working in the plant, and then working outside. I like being outside and I love trees. I have fruit trees of my own as a hobby.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or past times when you are not farming?
Dan: When I’m not farming, I play soccer on a recreational league. I enjoy camping, hiking, wood working, and reading.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start farming?
Dan: I would say don’t be afraid to just jump into it. Set goals and work towards them.
Even if you don’t achieve every goal, it will still take you far.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do on the farm to be sustainable?
Dan: We installed a large solar array that is helping to power a lot of our water pumping.
For the last 15 years, we have been transitioning our conventional fields to organic. The sales have been there to support our transition to organic.