Meet a Farmer: Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch

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Meet a Farmer: Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch

September 9, 2017
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Susan Phillips

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Meet a Farmer: Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch

Meet a Farmer: Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch

Meet Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch. Alex manages a large ranch growing mostly organic products. He is a dedicated community leader and has a wealth of farming knowledge that started at the early age of 12.

CA GROWN: Tell me about the history of the company and your role in it.

Alex:  I grew up in Greenfield, California. When I was 12, my dad started taking me to work on ranches during school breaks.  He would drop me off in the morning and I would help to move irrigation pipes. Those experiences continued until I went to college.  After I joined the college rodeo team, my summers were taken up with rodeo and roping, so I spent a lot of time practicing roping, and less time at the ranch.

After I finished college, I came back and started working on a ranch in King City, riding on the back of a spinach planter. I learned how to make schedules, planting techniques, and managing strategies for crops and people.  After a year, we were able to pick up a lease on an old vineyard that had been abandoned for 30 years.  We pulled out all the grapevines, cleaned up the ground, moved and leveled a lot of dirt to convert those 1,200 acres into farmable land.  Someone was needed to run the ranch, so I stepped up!

CA GROWN: What does a typical day look like for you?

Alex: I get up early with coffee and head out to the ranch. Mornings will find me checking in with my irrigation and tractor foremen and going over the schedule of what needs to be done for the day and for the week.

I visit the lots to make sure everything looks good, readjust where necessary, and schedule whatever else needs to be done. Then I will meet with labor crews and direct them for the day. After lunch, I come back and make adjustments on the irrigation, if needed.  I have a small cattle business that I attend to in the late afternoons.  After that, I am done for the day.

CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?

Alex: I knew I wanted to be outside with a routine that changes every day, and not stuck in an office.  Farming has its ups and downs, but it is the constant challenge that I really enjoy.

CA GROWN: What are some ways you give back to the community?

Alex: I volunteer for several nonprofit groups that benefit agriculture. I am a member of the King City Young Farmers. We organize activities to raise money, and meet monthly to allocate funds to various groups, such as 4H and FFA. We donate 100% of the funds raised, back to the community. I’m also on the Salinas Valley Heritage Foundation board. I have served for eight years, with four of those as president. We raise money to improve the local fairgrounds for kids that show animals at the fair.

CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?

Alex: I grew up in the business. I have always enjoyed being outside. It wasn’t much fun as a 16 year old boy getting up at 5 AM, but once I got out on the ranch, I enjoyed it.  I love what I do and this is a skill that I can take anywhere in the world and make a living.

CA GROWN: What kind of crops to you grow?

Alex: Our ranch has 1,200 acres, of which, 750 are organic. We grow various crops including spring mix, spinach, mustard, kale, arugula, celery, broccoli, and romaine. I am very proud of being able to grow and offer healthy food to families.  

CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not farming?

Alex: Fishing is what I like to do when I have time. I participate in a tuna fishing tournament in Cabo San Lucas once a year. I will take boat trips off shore and fish for big tuna for days.  I go on these trips with friends, and also make a lot of new friends along the way.

CA GROWN: As a California farmer, we know that you have a long list of activities you undertake on your farm to care for the land and its resources. What are one or two ways that you are most proud of, or you feel are innovative ways you care for your land?

Alex: I am very careful with soil – a lot of research is done so as not to over fertilize any of our crops. This benefits farm resources and keeps growing costs under control. We are always working on sustainability measures.

CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a farmer?

Alex: Start at the bottom and work your way up. I consider myself lucky to have had the experience of working on a ranch as a kid. After college when I came back into the business, I had work experience that not many had.  My advice is to start early and build experience.  Farming is a lifelong learning experience.

CA GROWN: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Alex: I have a good life, and I’m really proud of the quality of my crops. Harvesting and getting quality crops to the market is very rewarding.

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Meet a Farmer: Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch

Meet Alex Romans of Las Colinas Ranch. Alex manages a large ranch growing mostly organic products. He is a dedicated community leader and has a wealth of farming knowledge that started at the early age of 12.

CA GROWN: Tell me about the history of the company and your role in it.

Alex:  I grew up in Greenfield, California. When I was 12, my dad started taking me to work on ranches during school breaks.  He would drop me off in the morning and I would help to move irrigation pipes. Those experiences continued until I went to college.  After I joined the college rodeo team, my summers were taken up with rodeo and roping, so I spent a lot of time practicing roping, and less time at the ranch.

After I finished college, I came back and started working on a ranch in King City, riding on the back of a spinach planter. I learned how to make schedules, planting techniques, and managing strategies for crops and people.  After a year, we were able to pick up a lease on an old vineyard that had been abandoned for 30 years.  We pulled out all the grapevines, cleaned up the ground, moved and leveled a lot of dirt to convert those 1,200 acres into farmable land.  Someone was needed to run the ranch, so I stepped up!

CA GROWN: What does a typical day look like for you?

Alex: I get up early with coffee and head out to the ranch. Mornings will find me checking in with my irrigation and tractor foremen and going over the schedule of what needs to be done for the day and for the week.

I visit the lots to make sure everything looks good, readjust where necessary, and schedule whatever else needs to be done. Then I will meet with labor crews and direct them for the day. After lunch, I come back and make adjustments on the irrigation, if needed.  I have a small cattle business that I attend to in the late afternoons.  After that, I am done for the day.

CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?

Alex: I knew I wanted to be outside with a routine that changes every day, and not stuck in an office.  Farming has its ups and downs, but it is the constant challenge that I really enjoy.

CA GROWN: What are some ways you give back to the community?

Alex: I volunteer for several nonprofit groups that benefit agriculture. I am a member of the King City Young Farmers. We organize activities to raise money, and meet monthly to allocate funds to various groups, such as 4H and FFA. We donate 100% of the funds raised, back to the community. I’m also on the Salinas Valley Heritage Foundation board. I have served for eight years, with four of those as president. We raise money to improve the local fairgrounds for kids that show animals at the fair.

CA GROWN: What drew you into the farming profession?

Alex: I grew up in the business. I have always enjoyed being outside. It wasn’t much fun as a 16 year old boy getting up at 5 AM, but once I got out on the ranch, I enjoyed it.  I love what I do and this is a skill that I can take anywhere in the world and make a living.

CA GROWN: What kind of crops to you grow?

Alex: Our ranch has 1,200 acres, of which, 750 are organic. We grow various crops including spring mix, spinach, mustard, kale, arugula, celery, broccoli, and romaine. I am very proud of being able to grow and offer healthy food to families.  

CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not farming?

Alex: Fishing is what I like to do when I have time. I participate in a tuna fishing tournament in Cabo San Lucas once a year. I will take boat trips off shore and fish for big tuna for days.  I go on these trips with friends, and also make a lot of new friends along the way.

CA GROWN: As a California farmer, we know that you have a long list of activities you undertake on your farm to care for the land and its resources. What are one or two ways that you are most proud of, or you feel are innovative ways you care for your land?

Alex: I am very careful with soil – a lot of research is done so as not to over fertilize any of our crops. This benefits farm resources and keeps growing costs under control. We are always working on sustainability measures.

CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a farmer?

Alex: Start at the bottom and work your way up. I consider myself lucky to have had the experience of working on a ranch as a kid. After college when I came back into the business, I had work experience that not many had.  My advice is to start early and build experience.  Farming is a lifelong learning experience.

CA GROWN: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

Alex: I have a good life, and I’m really proud of the quality of my crops. Harvesting and getting quality crops to the market is very rewarding.

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