Employee Spotlight: 10 Things to Know About Bobby Bellew, Director of Farming
Let’s celebrate National Farmers Day! A day to acknowledge the people who take pride in the hard work it takes to be a part of growing healthy and nutritious vegetables that feed the world. To help us celebrate, we had the pleasure of catching up with Bobby Bellew, Director of Farming at Ocean Mist Farms. He gave us a sneak peek into his day-to-day happenings out in the fields as well as personal anecdotes about life outside of work. Discover it all in this edition of our "Employee Spotlight!"
1. How long ago did you get started at Ocean Mist Farms and what is your current position? How has your experience prepared you for this role? How long have you been a farmer?
I had the opportunity to join Ocean Mist Farms at the end of October 2020 and have had two years of great experiences. My previous work experience led me to where I am today. I started as a PCA (pest control advisor) right after graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and moved into farming about four years later. I’ve been farming now for over 17 years and can honestly say that I can’t imagine doing anything else.
2. What does your typical workday look like?
This is a tough question to answer because honestly, no two days are the same. I try my best to map out my day the night before, but things inevitably come up that take me off course. It is all part of the job and something you get used to. My days usually start between 5 - 6 AM and finish when I’m comfortable leaving for the day, typically around 5 - 6 PM. The work is never done, you just have to decide when is a good time to stop. I try to keep a decent balance between field and office work, but there are times when one needs more attention than another. In the midst of it all, I've also had the opportunity to be part of the Culinary Institute Association (CIA) student tour here at Ocean Mist Farms where I was able to pass on my 17 years of knowledge in farming. The unpredictability of my job keeps things interesting.
3. What internal departments and external people do you work with?
As the Director of Farming, I have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of departments. Internally, I work with human resources, sales, marketing, food safety, occupational safety, shop, harvesting, and most office departments. Externally, I work with our seed suppliers, fertilizer and chemical companies, tractor dealerships, governmental regulatory agencies, and landowners to name a few.
4. Which crops do you oversee daily? What are some challenges in your role at Ocean Mist Farms today?
I have the pleasure of helping our farming department grow artichokes, Brussels sprouts, spinach, head lettuce, romaine, romaine hearts, red leaf, green leaf, butter lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, Cardone, and celery. I may be forgetting something since I get to work with so many of Ocean Mist Farms' wonderful products!
Quality farming requires managing a multitude of things like keeping up with regulatory agency demands, water concerns, and the rising cost of doing business are challenges that we deal with constantly. Fortunately, here at Ocean Mist Farms, we strive to meet those challenges.
5. What are three major reasons you feel agriculture is important?
From my vantage point, the importance of agriculture can be summarized as:
- People need to eat
- It provides valuable jobs
- It provides an opportunity for economic growth as well as stability for our community
6. What motivates you every day and how does that impact your day-to-day?
Seeing the impact of the changes we are implementing at Ocean Mist Farms unfold on my fellow employees as well as the industry as a whole, motivates me daily to keep going. Knowing I am helping to provide a superior product to the consumer puts a smile on my face!
7. What are your three favorite things about farming?
Farming has so much to offer, but I can say certainly that my three favorite things about my job are:
- No two days are the same; there is always a new way to do something
- You get to be outside (definitely my favorite thing)
- No day is ever boring!
8. What three words best describe your role?
9. What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have ever received was given to me by my dad. He said, “there are 24 hours in a day, use them wisely."
10. How do you spend your free time outside of work?
Outside of work, I spend my free time with my family - Jamie, my wife of almost 20 years, my daughter Macy (17), and my son Austin (15). I also enjoy hunting, fishing, and riding motorcycles. Basically, being outdoors will always be my choice if given the option, though taking trips to Prescott, AZ to visit my daughter Macy at college will soon be added to my list of things to do pretty quickly!
One more tidbit to share! Bobby noted that if he could be a vegetable, he would be an artichoke. Why do you ask? Because they are a little rough on the outside, softer on the inside, and they are at their best under pressure!