CROWS LANDING - Farmers and ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley fuel the local economy while helping feed the world.
Behind one of the world’s most prolific agricultural producers, however, is a network of businesses and service providers who help keep the wheels of ag turning.
Among them is a small Crows Landing welding shop which traces its roots back decades.
Delgado’s Welding Shop, operated by second-generation owner Arnie Delgado, is part of that critical support network serving farmers and ag-related processors.
Delgado took over the operation from his father Fidencio (who still works part-time at the shop) in 2013 and has continued providing the welding and fabrication services on which his clients rely.
Family ties to the business stretch back decades, to the years when long-time owner Ken Tyler had the shop. Fidencio Delgado worked for Tyler for about 30 years, his son explained. The younger Delgado grew up around the shop, he related, and during his youth was able to try his hand at welding.
“”We used to come and clean the shop, and (Tyler) would let us use the welding machine,” Delgado explained. “We would make toys.”
The shop sold to another owner around 1990, and then Fidencio Delgado had the opportunity to take over the business two years later. A year or two later Arnie, who had been working previously at Newman Flange, joined his father in the welding business.
Throughout the years, Delgado said, the commitment to serving the ag community has continued.
The shop provides a variety of fabrication services for its customers as well as welding, he noted.
“The welding is easy. When you are fabricating something you have to have experience because when you heat up metal it tends to pull,” Delgado explained. “You need to know all those things.”
He and his father fabricate parts for a variety of equipment and machinery, including tillage implements.
“Sometimes farmers come in and have old equipment that they can’t find a part for. They will bring it in and we will make it for them. If they need it, we make it,” Delgado stated.
The custom blades which bean growers attach to tractors to cut their bean plants for harvest are a specialty at the shop.
“My dad is the only one around here who does the bean knives,” Delgado explained.
In addition to the shop work, Delgado will travel to weld in the field as needed.
He is available for after-hours and weekend work as needed to keep his customers up and running - particularly during the planting and harvest seasons when farmers are at their busiest.
“That is when they are all in a hurry to beat the weather,” Delgado remarked. “You cannot compete with the weather. It controls everything.”
Delgado took over the shop during tough times, he recalled, and farmers helped him through the rough patches - sometimes paying him in advance for his work.
“All the farmers have been very supportive,” Delgado reflected. “I am grateful for all the customers we have.”
He, in return, strives to meet their needs.
Satisfied customers, Delgado shared, are his greatest reward.
“The thing that motivates me is when the farmer comes and you do the work and they like it,” he commented. “Helping people is the motivation.”