What is in this article?:
- Young Siskiyou County grower progresses quickly to career goal.
- Scott Valley an idyllic location in Northern California.
- Orchardgrass extends alfalfa stand life.
- Grower gets three cuttings per year from irrigated forages.
Unusual start for Scott Valley farmer
He did not come from a farming background. His father is a retired California Highway Patrolman and his mother is a school administrator. The family moved to Scott Valley in 1983. You can tell he is the son of a police officer. Asked to spell his name, he recites, “Foxtrot, Alpha, Whiskey, Alpha, Zebra.” Fawaz is Lebanese.
Fawaz has progressed well beyond that rebuilt bale hauler. He:
- Farms 1,400 acres of irrigated hay.
- Has a college degree in business.
- Operates a custom agchem and fertilizer sales and application business and is a state-licensed qualified applicator.
- Provides custom farming services for local growers.
- Was just appointed to his second term on the Siskiyou (County) Golden Fair Board.
- Is past president and still director of Siskiyou County Farm Bureau.
- Is a Scott Valley elected trustee for the Siskiyou County Office of Education.
- Owns one-third interest in a private airplane and expects to complete his check ride soon for his private pilot’s license.
And he is only 30 years old. Still single, but “happily engaged,” his fiancé keeps the books for his enterprises.
He attended community college after high school and was accepted to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, University of California, Davis and Chico State. He was ready to pack his bags for Cal Poly when he was told he could make $19,000 per year with his degree.
He was already earning more than that. “I would have had to let all the custom work go to get an education and I would have had to start over when I came back home. It never made sense to me,” he said. He did not abandon his education goal. He earned a business degree online from a Florida university while he grew his agricultural businesses.
Fawaz agrees it is not easy for a young person to start farming. “When I started, I was living at home. That, hands down, was the biggest help I got. My parents also co-signed a couple of loans so I could buy equipment.” By living at home, he could put all his profits back into the business.
Early on his goal of farming took a bit of a turn. “I leased my first ground in 2004, and the man I got my chemicals from needed help. It worked out for us both. I definitely learned from his 30 years of experience.”
Fawaz eventually went off on his own into agchem and fertilizer sales along with his application services.
“I wanted to become a PCA (pest control adviser), but when I finished my degree, they had changed the rules to become a PCA by then and I had not taken the right classes in college,” he explained. He would eventually like to get his PCA license to bolster his farm management business by taking on larger farming operation. However, for now his plate is obviously full.
Forages and grains are the primary crops in Scott Valley. Northern California forages are called intermountain hay and considered overall better quality than hay from lower elevation, warmer farming areas.