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Home Grown Exclusive: 4th generation farmer continues family farm legacy

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YUMA, Ariz. (KYMA/KECY) - The agriculture industry has been a staple of 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”, I talked to a fourth generation farmer whose young life on a farm inspired him to continue his love for agriculture later in life.

David is pictured second from the left with his grandparents and brothers

Meet David Nickerson, part of the 4th generation family that owns Nickerson Farms. 

Being part of a 4th generation farm family means that agriculture has been a main part of life as far back as his great-grandfather!

Pictured: David's great grandfather Oscar Walls

“Farming for my family began in the 1900s. My great-granddad was born in Arkansas and he ended up moving to the Tempe area in the 1920s and he started working on a feedlot there,” said Nickerson. “My dad came along so he’s third generation, and he was kind of the first one to start fresh produce, and now I’m here as the fourth generation,” he added. 

“They were visionaries. I guess they saw great land here and they saw water, two main things you need for agriculture,” said Nickerson. 

David's grandparents, Jon and Carolyn Nickerson. They played a big part in agriculture's success in Yuma and Arizona.

Because of his family’s history with farming, David grew up working with his Dad on the farm, and continues to do so today!

David & friend, Jacob Ware, playing with toy tractors after a long day at school.

“I’ve always loved it. When I was little, I was always playing with toy tractors. I’d have to sneak toy tractors onto the bus because my mom didn’t want me taking my toys to school. Every day, I just wanted to go to work with my dad. I always wanted to drive a tractor. I always wanted to be doing something on the farm, and it kind of just stuck with me. The older I got, the more opportunity I saw in agriculture,” said Nickerson. 

Nickerson Farms makes up about 5,000 acres in Dome Valley. 

“We are actually farming from Tacna all the way to the Gila Valley,” said Nickerson. 

The “Founding Fathers of Dome Valley”

This means on most days, David has his work cut out for him in order to help keep his family’s farm working smoothly. 

When it comes to the farmers of his generation, David thinks they might be a bit on the crazy side. 

“I would say the ones in my generation, I think we're the crazy ones that come back. A lot of people don’t come back to agriculture because it is hard work and you have to be here. So I think we’re crazy but also brave enough to come back and handle it,” said Nickerson. 

And for anyone who may be nervous to enter into the ag business for that exact reason: 

“I would say come into the agriculture industry. It’s way bigger than you can imagine. There’s all sorts of different areas you can get into in agriculture. I think once you get involved in it, you meet some really great people,” said Nickerson. 

Nickerson Farms grows all sorts of crops like romaine lettuce, cauliflower, kale, and broccoli!

You might even be able to spot their broccoli sold under the name Taylor Farms in the grocery store!

As we have learned, agriculture has gone through many advancements and changes over the years, so what does David see for the future of farming?

“In the next 100 years, I think technology is just going to be pouring into agriculture faster than we can comprehend,” said Nickerson. 

Agriculture’s history in the Grand Canyon State stretches back more than 4,000 years and David is a shining example of how that history will continue on. 

Yuma County
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Arianna Shell

Arianna Shell started her position as a Sunrise reporter in August 2018 in Yuma, Arizona.

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