It’s not easy driving through Siskiyou County’s Scott Valley in far Northern California.

It’s difficult to keep your eyes on the road. The small, idyllic valley of hay fields and grazing cattle and horses is encased by the snow-capped peaks of Marble Mountain Wilderness to the west and to the east is a smaller range. Forests of tanbark oak, madrone and Douglas fir define the edge of the 28-mile long, six-mile wide valley that sits at 2,500 to 3,000 feet in elevation. It’s dotted with small towns and small family farms.

Deer are everywhere and around each corner; you are distracted by the opportunity to capture a view of mesmerizing Mt. Shasta, the 14,179-feet high snow-capped citadel that defines far Northern California where the Golden State meets Oregon.

There remains a frontier feel to this part of California, reminiscent of the Gold Rush and westward migration of the 1800s. It still feels like this is where a young man could get his start.

Farmer Brandon Fawaz of Ft. Jones, Calif., did just that. His Scott Valley agricultural career began early as a freshman in Etna High School in Etna, Calif., one of the four towns in the valley.

He bought a well-used harrow bed; rebuilt it “piece-by-piece” as part of an FFA project and started his custom farming business, hauling hay bales. It was a cabless and gasoline-powered bale pickup wagon, but he was young and didn’t know better.

“I really did know better because I had asthma and hay fever,” laughed Fawaz. However, that didn’t stop him from his taking the first step toward his goal of working in Scott Valley agriculture.