Meet a Farmer: Dave Loquaci of Madera Agriculture Services
Many farmers in California farm multiple crops, and Dave Loquaci of Madera Agricultural Services is no exception! He farms a range of crops including prunes, wine grapes, almonds, and dried on the vine Selma Pete raisins. He also helps other farmers through farm management services, permanent crop consulting, development, planning and harvesting services. This Cal Poly graduate is passionate about serving California’s agriculture community on issues effecting farmers and has served on many boards representing our state’s farmers.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Dave: My least favorite thing, filling out forms and doing book work. There are a lot of regulations that we have to contend with so it creates a lot of administrative work for us. Today we are also pruning on the farm.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of farming?
Dave: We farm all permanent crops and my favorite part is watching the season develop. Right now we are pruning bare trees. When the bud forms in the spring and the fruit sets, then we harvest. I like to take the crop from the beginning to the harvest and then do it all over again. I enjoy going through all the seasons with our crops.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Dave: Personally, at this point in my life, one of the ways I give back is sharing my experience. I’m on the board of directors for Sunsweet Prunes Cooperative, and also serve on the Madera Irrigation District Board. One of the things I do that I am most proud of is serving on the Madera County Ag Boosters. We’ve raised and donated $1 million to benefit local youth in their agricultural endeavors.
CA GROWN: What drew you into farming?
Dave: I’m the fourth generation in a farming family. I went to school at Cal Poly and majored in food technology and processing. Instead of going into the processing area, I went into farming. I grew up with farming and it is what I love doing. My brother is in the business with me and I have two nephews that work with us, so it is a family business.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or past times when you are not farming?
Dave: Probably a multitude of things. I like to go to the SF Giants games. We like to travel, mostly in the United States. Probably what I do the most of is clay target shooting.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start farming?
Dave: I would say that if they want to get into production agriculture; go find a good farming company and work for them. Get some hands-on experience first to find out if you like it. Then if you are serious about it, maybe start looking for leasing ground. You can do it, but get experience first so you can see what it takes, and then you can start small on your own. To get into large scale farming, it’s tough due to costs.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do on the farm to be sustainable?
Dave: We have drip and micro irrigation on everything. We have soil probes to tell us what our soil moisture is so we don’t over irrigate. We do have some solar. We try and manage the business end so we can remain profitable and so that we can stay in business. We try and be good stewards of the land and our resources.
Photo Credit: Mark Janzen