family background/Eduardo is second-generation in agriculture and is working on a degree in agricultural science from Columbia Basin College. He’s the son of Alma and Jose Garcia.
crops/apples and cherries
How did you get your start?
Growing up, I would join my dad during his workdays on Saturday and Sunday, which were the only times I could go. I met a lot of people at that time who helped me get to where I am today.
I also remember following him around and falling in love with trees. It’s unique growing up with them and finding something to pursue on my own, different than everybody else.
What do you enjoy about farming?
I mostly work in apples and cherries, and I wouldn’t say either of those are easy to grow, but they are fun. It’s a lot of fun because there’s always something you’ve got to work on with the trees or needs to be solved, like some type of pest or disease.
What can I do each day to solve stuff like this? Do I put in sticky traps to monitor what’s going, or do I recommend a change in the spray plan?
That kind of challenge keeps me moving, making that next plan, that next step. It’s important to stick with the plan and be as precise as possible.
What’s challenging you at work?
Right now, there are a lot of cherry trees struggling with X disease that’s transmitted by leafhoppers.
The pathogens just kill off the trees, going from one to another, and if you don’t get it soon enough, it will completely destroy your crop and orchard. There’s no easy solution, but I keep on top of scouting for the pest and infected trees to cut them out.
What are some of your goals?
On the job, I’m learning ways to produce more crop on our Central Washington farms. The industry will need to grow more food in the future, and I hope that I’ll be able to increase the amount of fruit grown with fewer trees.
What I’m trying to accomplish in life is finishing school. I had the opportunity of having a mentor early on in my job. He told me that the fields might be a better place to learn, but getting the schooling is where everything really comes together.
How has your college experience been?
Something that caught my eye was how tree genetics works. I like how they grow, develop and how they produce their crop. It was so fascinating. Getting a degree helps everybody in their own way, and it depends on what you’re trying to finish with.
There are a lot of classes that may not pertain to what I want to do in a career, but it doesn’t hurt to learn about other things. That information may help in the future. Not only does the degree help me become a better fieldman, but I hope that I’ll be able to have my own farm and acreage to live off of.
What advice do you have for other young growers?
Everybody has their unique roles. Not everybody’s going to enjoy what I do. But if you find something that you enjoy, you’ll have fun. If you’re a type of person that likes to work outdoors, it’s a pretty good job.
One thing that I’d recommend to anyone wanting to work in this industry is to find a mentor. Having a person that will help you understand what’s going on in your path as you push forward.
A mentor leads you to the right places and encourages you, even if things get tough. Stay curious and continue to educate yourself with modern techniques and technology.
—by TJ Mullinax