YUMA, Ariz. (KECY, KYMA) - The agriculture industry has been a staple to Yuma county for many years, and so has the organization committed to keeping a steady force with a lasting impact.
For this week’s exclusive episode of “Back To Ag. Roots”, 13 On Your Side's Arianna Shell spoke to a farmer who has been around Yuma agriculture for many years and has seen its history grow and change.
When you look at a Yuma county farmer, there is more than likely a long line of agriculture history that runs in their family.
This is true with the second generation farmer of Mellon farms, Doug Mellon.
Archie Mellon, Doug’s father, was stationed in Yuma during WWII and in 1945, he decided to call our townhome.
Archie began farming in the Gila Valley and over the years expanded the operations to include the Yuma Valley.
“We were the first ones in the south Gila Valley to grow produce - lettuce - because we had freshwater,” said Mellon.
He had three sons including his middle son Doug, who began farming with his dad at a young age, acquiring his first farm in 1961.
Since some choose not to take on life in the ag industry, I asked Doug what made him want to take after his father’s passion.
“To answer your question of why we’re still in agriculture, I guess because we don’t know any better,” said Mellon.
After growing to love farming more each day, Doug and his wife created Doug Mellon Farms, Inc. in 1976.
“We’ve been buying farms and leasing ground ever since. That was a 200-acre farm. I think the boys farm round 6,500 acres today,” said Mellon.
Just like Doug’s inability to escape his love for agriculture, his three sons incorporated Doug Mellon Farms II, Inc. in 2008 and have assumed the management of the operation.
“I was raised on a farm and when I came back from college, it was just something I already knew so I got involved in it. Then I had three sons. I raised them on the farm, they all started with their own little farm, and they all worked on the farm, and all three of them chose to come back to the farm,” said Mellon.
Since Doug has lived around a farm his whole life, I asked him what has changed over the years, from his father’s farming days to his.
“The major changes are in technology. It’s science, with the herbicides, the insecticides that we have today to control the worms or control the bugs. In Yuma Arizona, I feel we can grow any crop that there is a demand for,” said Mellon.
Over the past few weeks, we have learned that the agriculture industry has changed, that is certain, so what advice does Doug have to give to the future farmers of Yuma?
“The main thing is farming changes, it changes all the time, and so you have to be used to changes,” said Mellon. “That’s what I would tell a young person of agriculture, is get used to change and accept change, and go with the flow when things do change,” he added.
Mellon Farms has over 6,000 Acres spread out over the Yuma Valley, Gila Valleys, Yuma Mesa, Dome Valley, Wellton, and Tacna.
Other than their own challenges and rewards of farming, what does Doug think about the next 100 years of agriculture in Yuma?
“I think it’s going to stay strong and get stronger,” said Mellon.
As the second generation founder of Mellon Farms, Doug is a perfect example of what Yuma agriculture stands for: a strong commitment to the land, the community, and their people.
“My grandkids and my great-grandkids, pay attention to what’s going on around you,” said Mellon. “Keep their eyes open, there are all kinds of opportunity and it’s all presenting itself, we have to feed the American people, I think that’s our job,” he added.