The last few months, and more specifically the last six week since Christmas week of 2022 have been some of the most challenging of my career. Late in the summer of 2022 I took on an expanded responsibility at the company, moving into the role of President and C.O.O. in September. At the same time business challenges, combined with inflationary headwinds and other industry wide dynamics made the operating pressures very present. What made the past few weeks exceptionally challenging was the un-forecasted "bomb-cyclone" that brought almost a years worth of rain to our growing regions in just four weeks. The rains started just after Christmas and didn't really stop til early last week. I always knew that farming is hard ( now who said "Farming is easy??") and that lesson was driven home with distinction in January. We harvest more than two million pounds of carrots EVERY DAY, and that dynamic was deeply challenged by the recent rain event.
I share these "woes" as just one of many California ag companies ( and ag employees) who have had a rough ride and are now quite literally digging our way out of the rainy mess. Its been a tough run and I am so proud of our team battling the elements to do what they could to plant and harvest our carrots between storms, flooded fields and roads, and cold and wet weather that just didn't stop! Its been tough, but the team I have a pleasure to work with, shoulder to shoulder, is an inspiring crew that cares about the land, our carrots and our customers regardless of weather forecast. Its a team of "doers"that inspire me every day and are huge energy driver for me every day. As you can see from the picture to the right, the recently harvested carrots look great, and we are getting back in the fields and the harvest conditions are improving every day!
I don't usually quote song lyrics in my essays, and have never before quoted lyrics from a old Christmas TV special ( "Santa Claus is Coming to Town",) but this jingle and these words kept going through my mind as we faced challenge after challenge these past few weeks:
I know this song comes from a quirky holiday show released in 1970, but the actual words hit home. I share all of this as a way to suggest that we all are facing challenges in our work and in our communities every day. While they may not be "bomb-cyclone" driven, or caused by some sort of "atmospheric river," they are real and can feel overwhelming. These issues and challenges in our lives call on us to respond and take action and as the song suggests, "a good way to start is to stand"! Hang in there and remember...." you will never get where you are going if you never get on your feet."