Meet a Farmer – Gary Robinson of Robinson Family Farms
Deciding to become a farmer is one decision that Gary Robinson has never regretted. Today, Gary, of Robinson Family Farms, grows pistachios and almonds on the west side of Fresno County, near Huron and Three Rocks.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Gary: Mostly I’ve been looking at our orchards. Almond hulls are beginning to split and crack open, and this is a time when we use one of our sprays, so we’ve been monitoring the orchards pretty closely. We usually harvest about four weeks after they split, so this is going to be an early harvest for us this year.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite thing about farming?
Gary: I really enjoy being outside, that is certainly one of the things I really enjoy. I like seeing the seasons change in orchards. They go dormant in the fall, then they start to bloom, then you harvest. There is a sense of satisfaction that I get from farming and seeing the changes.
CA GROWN: How do you contribute to the community?
Gary: I was on the Kings County Farm Bureau Board for a number of years, and went up through the officer chairs.
CA GROWN: What drew you into farming?
Gary: I grew up on a small dairy farm in Hanford, so I’ve always been around agriculture. I wasn’t interested in going back to the dairy because of its size. I went into Fresno State and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural business and a Master of Science degree in agricultural science and management from UC Davis. I started farming for other farming operations and in 1997, I planted my own orchards.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or past times when you’re not farming?
Gary: I enjoy going for walks and hiking. I also enjoy flying.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give you anyone who wants to become a farmer?
Gary: I think it’s a little bit of a difficult business to begin in because of the dollars and cents it requires. Start out by working for someone else, or serving as a pest control advisor so you can see how farmers are doing their craft. If you love it, stay with it and be consistent. Opportunities may come up to where you can start farming on your own.