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Looking back toward the future of Agriculture

I sit in my parents’ house tonight like I have countless nights before. Dad and I shared plenty of wine. He got a phone call from an old farmer, Phil, that left this part of the country quite a while ago. Dad talks to Phil about the good ol’ days. My generation would be much wiser if we only accepted that there’s much to be learned about those days.

Phil, who left for Oregon probably 20 years ago, planted pistachios long, long before pistachios were part of a marketing campaign that included the Kardashians, Million Dollar Superbowl Spots and Gangnam Style. Matter of fact, Phil’s motivation to plant came even before disturbance in the Middle East durning the Carter administration drove prices of pistachios through the roof. A few forward thinking farmers like Phil realized that there was plenty of climate just like that of the Mediterranean right here in San Luis Obispo County – maybe we could even echo some of their agriculture. And echo we did .. Pistachios went in and Phil was able to take advantage of political volatility that had a profound affect on food prices. Now his grain farm serves as residence for some grapes and his grain tanks are part of the farm’s agritourism attraction.

Think of the crops that are prevalent and abundant in California that we find, literally, half way around the world. Now think outside of Ag. They have oil, we have oil. They need water, we need water. They are politically volatile, so are we. Change often comes in funny looking packages. I suppose it’s our choice to embrace it, or fight it. Phil chose to embrace it. I’m not sure how he wanted his story to end. I do know that he’s happy on his ranch in his new corner of the world.

Time with my family is always precious. I measure it in moments, hang on to it like it’s sliding off a cliff and remember ever detail possible. Generations before us and generations long gone hold the keys to the future. If we don’t listen, the keys are never passed and we are left pounding on the Future’s Door.

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