By Valley Ag Voice Staff

Jason Giannelli, General Farm Manager for Ten Star Farms.

Many of us are proud of what we do and what we create, and Farmers are no exception. Yet, promoting your industry and being a model representative of your profession isn’t easy. However, for local farmer Jason Giannelli it comes naturally.

The Valley Ag Voice was so impressed by the way Jason was constantly promoting the industry on social media, serving in the community, and instilling the profession and values of farming in his children that we went and spent a few hours with him one Thursday morning.

It was just before 9AM when we met Mr. Giannelli at Ten Star Farms. Jason serves as the General Farm Manager for Ten Star Farms, and he had been up and at it before we met him. He made room in his truck, really his mobile office, and we were off.

He is the 4th generation of a local farming family, and his extended family has names like Pascoe and Vandborg. For those in Kern County these names carry years of meaning in agriculture history. Jason said at a young age agriculture was all around him, and it was expected that he would work on his family’s farm.

This instilled in him a work ethic that his father passed down and motivates him today. “I wanted to work hard, but I also learned I could work smarter,” commented Jason. This must be his motivation for utilizing technology and finding the most efficient way to grow multiple crops and manage the precious magical resource, water.

Jason shared a story about his childhood and how he knew agriculture was his calling. He was participating in the right to passage of showing animals at the fair. As they were going around seeking sponsors, he recalled getting called into Rod Grimm’s office with his brothers. Rod challenged them all and asked the boys what they wanted to be when they grew up. His brothers had typical responses about wanting to be football players, but for Jason who had fixated on a file cabinet in the office with his uncle Kevin Pascoe’s name on it, his reply was different. “I want my uncle Kevin’s job,” was Jason’s reply. From that point on agriculture wasn’t just a job it was his way of life.

As we drove through the almonds and made our way to the vegetables, Jason shared stories of his education at Fresno State and his early jobs working for other local farming operations. He has found his true niche at Ten Star Farms. He is lucky if he ever gets to take a week long vacation as he pours his heart and soul into farming. 

Jason frankly stated, “These vegetables are so fragile you have to be on them every day. Americans are motivated to be better and to work hard. The next guy won’t always do it; we have to do it now.”

Our first stop was to check on the fall potatoes, and Jason beamed with pride as he saw how well they were growing. A crop that will likely lie in the ground to late December and then be harvested. He described in detail how they managed every drop of water that was being used to grow the potatoes and all the crops Ten Star Farming markets.

 When it comes to the average Joe understanding where their food comes from, he said they need to be informed: “We know what it takes to farm. It’s important, and people need to know from the ground up how everything works and what goes into producing the food they eat.” 

This explains why Jason serves his industry on many different boards, lending his leadership and his knowledge. Organizations like the Farm Bureau, the Water Association of Kern County and Central Valley Biz Fed are just a few of the groups he volunteers his time with. “It helps to provide a farmers perspective to the groups and industries that participate, but also I am able to learn about new laws and regulations. Water and minimum wage are going to affect farmers more than anything else; we have to stay ahead of the regulations,” added Mr. Giannelli.

As we went into the beet and carrot fields, Jason’s passion and energy were all consuming. He talked about the importance of fungicides and insecticides to fight pests. Examining carrots, he pulled from the field he knew how much longer they needed to be in the ground and where the different pockets of carrots had been impacted by nematodes. It was obvious, he was all consumed by farming.

Jason Giannelli is a Model Farmer, not just because he has passion for everything he does, but because of the way he is engaged in everything. Even his family gets in on the act. In fact, that is what inspired us to write about Jason. Daily, he posts pictures about his farm life on social media, often with his two young children sitting in the rows of veggies, cotton or almonds. By informing the public about the joys, the complexities, the beauty and the struggles of farming, he is helping us all realize the importance of where our food comes from and how fragile its production can be. 

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