NEWMAN - A local family farming operation has evolved with the industry, shifting in response to new trends while retaining diversity.
And, a new generation has joined the operation started by Mannie Rose, as sons Brett and Justin have roles to play as well.
Mannie, a 1978 Orestimba High graduate, is also a pest control advisor who works for Mid-Valley Agricultural Services in addition to looking after his family’s fields and orchards.
Brett came on board after completing his studies at Fresno State in 2018. In addition to working on the family farm, he operates a custom spraying operation which started while he was in college.
“I always had the dream of starting my own spray business and coming back and growing the family farm,” Brett remarked.
Justin, who completed his studies at Fresno State in 2016, is currently an agronomist with a bio-nutrient company and is also participating in the 2020 almond leadership program sponsored by the Almond Board of California. Justin also helps out with the overall direction and management of the Rose family operation, providing recommendations on matters ranging from fertilization and pruning to planting styles.
Mannie acknowledged that his sons have introduced new ideas and practices to the farming operation....”things that weren’t taught 20 and 30 years ago that are now common technology.”
Those advancements, he added, include use of GPS, automated irrigation systems and more.
“(Farming) is a lot more efficient now,” Mannie said.
Mannie was raised on his family’s Upper Road ranch. After graduating Orestimba he went on to study plant science for two years at Modesto Junior College, got his pest control advisor license upon completion in 1980 and went to work for Cerutti Brothers. He worked for Cerutti for 11 years, and shifted over to Mid-Valley Agricultural Services.
He also established his own farming operation, which his sons grew up around.
“We started farming in 1980, little fields here and there,” Mannie explained.
Eight years later, he purchased what is now his home ranch on Sanches Road as the operation continued to evolve.
Initially Rose grew silage corn, alfalfa and green beans.
Demand for green beans dried up when freezer plants closed, he said, but the operation stayed with silage corn and alfalfa, growing commodities needed by the dairy industry.
The evolution continued, and has now shifted to include almonds (which were put in six years ago) and grain corn as well as some alfalfa and wheat.
Mannie said the family’s almond acreage will increase as another block of land transitions to orchards.
“A lot of row crops are not economic to grow any more,” he explained.
Through his work as a pest control advisor, he was already well-versed in almond production when planting his own trees for the first time.
“We had the opportunity to get into it, and so far it has been good,” Mannie said.
While California agriculture faces a number of challenges, the Roses said, they are optimistic about the future of the industry.
“There are so many varieties of crops (grown) here that other places can’t,” Brett said. “It seems like there will always be a need for agriculture in California.”