By Peggy Jo Goodfellow, Arizona Farm Bureau: This young direct market farming and ranching family says that the rewards they receive from growing and sharing their harvest with others is indescribable.
An interview with Sharla Mortimer, co-owner of Mortimer Family Farm
Tell us about your direct market farm and ranch
You can find the Mortimer Family at the farm in Dewey where we raise Sweet Corn, Tomatoes, Summer Vegetables, Ranch Raised Black Angus Beef, Fresh Chicken and Holiday Turkey. We also invite our community to the farm in August for the Sweet Corn Festival and October for the Pumpkin Festival! We love to see the fields full of children – learning about their food!
Gary and Sharla Mortimer
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming and/or ranching?
We are relatively new in Agriculture – we started our farm in 2003. The greatest change we have implemented on our farm is the use of Artificial Insemination for our beef cattle. This technology has improved the tenderness and flavor of our beef in a few years instead of decades.
Why did you choose to go into agriculture?
Gary and I both grew up involved in Agriculture. We recognized the strong work ethic, life lessons, and experiences that came from the farm and want our children to have these experiences too. We love being connected to our land and food! The rewards we receive from growing, and sharing our harvest with others is indescribable!
Will anyone in your family - younger generation - pursue farming and/or ranching?
We encourage all of our Children: Ashlee (16), Hayden (14), Kayla (12), Kolten (10) – to enjoy their time at the farm! They will learn so many lessons from the earth that can be transferred to any career they choose for their future. We want them to be happy no matter what career they choose. (Of course, we would love to have them all at the farm forever!)
The Mortimer Gang
Would you ever consider growing an emerging crop or changing your farm or ranch model?
We are willing to change our farming products and farm model to ensure lasting success and environmental sustainability for our farm.
What are your community activities? Why are you involved?
We are involved in the Farm Bureau: Yavapai County President, State Women’s Chair, County Board Member, State Board Member, Young Farmer’s and Ranchers. We are also involved in 4H and FFA with our children.
Sweet corn on the stalk at Mortimer Family Farm.
What is one fact/experience/achievement no one knows about you?
Our greatest joy is our Children! We love to go out on the ranch with them and spend a quiet afternoon together as a family.
What do you think you do really well? Explain.
I sleep really well – after a long hard day of work!
Why are you a farm bureau member?
We have been Farm Bureau Members since 2000. We love to be involved with other people who work the land and can learn tons from each other! The Farm Bureau has a wonderful education program – for youth and adults and helps us to be successful on and off the farm every day!
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate?
They will have to continue to make tough decisions, to protect the land, to follow their passion, and to work hard every day!