Our Family (About Us)
Four Generations of Farming
Terra Gold Farms – farming the earth’s rich soil. AJ Ochoa has been a farmer all his life – he was “born in the dirt”. Even as a small child, he played with his toy tractors in the garden, which he sectioned off for his different crops. When he was in grade school, he joined his dad and uncle out in the fields as much as he could and has been out in the fields ever since. He is a fourth generation farmer, joining a lineage of farmers on both sides of the family tree – farming is in their blood.
His paternal great grandfather worked the land as a migrant worker. His employer took note of his abilities and assisted him in starting his own farm in the Yakima Valley. When his son came of age (AJ’s grandfather), he also began farming in the Yakima Valley, later moving to Warden and farming in the Warden, Othello and Mesa areas. He settled in Mesa where AJ’s father, and later AJ himself, started farming. His maternal great grandparents came to the Columbia Basin with an entrepreneurial spirit. They worked hard to open the land from sagebrush and turned it into farmland capable of raising dryland wheat crops. Their work ethic and progressive, entrepreneurial spirit continued down the line. Bailie Youth Ranch was started; grocery and hardware stores were opened and farms continue to flourish.
Technology has made a huge difference for the current generation of farming and is embraced at Terra Gold Farms. The greatest cost of growing a crop today is the inputs – fertilizer, chemicals and fuel. Technology has helped to increase efficiencies on the farm, which helps to keep costs of those inputs down. Terra Gold Farms has 20 full time employees, which is 25%-30% less than were employed ten years ago, yet they are managing more acres today. Satellite imagery, GPS, and variable rate applications has helped us increase our efficiency by putting inputs where needed. Modern irrigation pumps and circles are in place, which are controlled with a mouse click on a laptop in a pickup, rather than with manual labor moving pipes or starting suction tubes. Technology also helps us in meeting customer demands of successfully passing GAP and SYSCO audits – everything is documented and available at the touch of a button.
Most days, early in the morning when the air is crisp and clear, you’ll find AJ out walking the fields, putting his hands in the dirt and checking the progress and health of the crops. Harvest begins in June with grass seed harvest and continues, practically non-stop, through October as wheat and beans are harvested, along with our potato crops.
Our potatoes are sold to potato processors and fresh packers. One of the benefits of Terra Gold Farms potatoes are that we raise different varieties that can be used fresh or processed in many different ways – French fries, hash browns, mashed, to name a few.
When you do business with Terra Gold Farms, you are doing business with a company whose experience in farming goes back generations and who is looking to future generations to carry on the tradition.
The Ochoa Family:
Jodi Ochoa, AJ’s wife, comes from a long line of farmers in Nebraska and she understands the commitment and hard work that it takes to run a successful farm and provides an invaluable support system to AJ and the company. Austin and Callie, AJ and Jodi’s children, are embracing the technology and learning the farming business from the ground up, logging their own hours working the land. They are learning that being a farmer requires staying power, perseverance, optimism and the vision to see it through.
Terra Gold Farms – farming the earth’s rich soil. AJ Ochoa has been a farmer all his life – he was “born in the dirt”. Even as a small child, he played with his toy tractors in the garden, which he sectioned off for his different crops.
Copyright Terra Gold Farms 2016
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850 North Broadway Ave.
Othello, WA 99344 USA