Good Fruit Grower

February 15

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38 FEBRUARY 15, 2016 GOOD FRUIT GROWER LAST BITE More Young Growers at Ryan Bond grower / The Dalles, Oregon age / 35 crops / Cherries, pears and apples business / R&D Orchards, K&K Land Management family background / Ryan is a second-generation grower managing about 800 acres, primarily consisting of cherry and pear trees in The Dalles and south through Dufur into the Tygh Valley. " " " " " What was your path to farming? I started helping out on a farm in Royal City, Washington, when I was about 12. I remember swearing that I was never going to be a farmer. So I went to Washington State University for golf course management. After a few years working at courses, my dad's boss called offering a job running an orchard in Oregon. Two months later I was suddenly in charge of 200 acres. Thankfully I had good neighbors and I worked for good people. What were some of the important things you learned at the start? I had to learn how to work with people. Being able to work with a crew when you're 23 years old and you're the boss – boy, that's a lot of power. For me it seemed like, "It's going to be my way or the highway, and I'm not going to bend." I learned early on that it's awful tough keeping a crew happy. That's something that I'm still learning. Where do you see areas for growth? I've transitioned out of being the guy sitting on the tractor to being the guy that's making sure the crews have what they need to operate the tractor. I'm focused on time management because we may get done spraying a block and the next thing I need to do is drop into the offi ce to fi ll out the spray record. Because if I don't do it at that time, the chances of me getting that spray record down with correct information is a little slimmer. What were some of your struggles? Early on I lost a block to Pseudomonas and another to fi re blight. It hurts. It's not a pretty thing to go out and see the trees that you've poured all of this time and energy into die. You were the one on the tree planter putting them into the ground, you rolled out the irrigation tubing, you were pruning them as little babies – then they all die because of fi re blight. You've gotta move on. What would you tell new growers? You're doing this because it's a pride in ownership deal. That's what it takes to be a farmer. Especially a young one – you've gotta have pride in ownership. You can't approach farming like it's just another job, because it's not. It's a way of life. " Farming's not easy. If it was, everybody would do it. PLAY scan to watch the interview SPONSORED BY by TJ Mullinax More from this interview and other Young Growers at

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