By Justen Ollendick, Arizona Farm Bureau: Well, for the final time I bring you one of Arizona’s wisest and down to earth ranchers from up in Mohave County. Phil has many years of ranching experience under his belt, and shared some deep thoughts into business advice. He is a longtime supporter of the county youth programs, and one that prides himself in his big game hunting guide abilities!

An interview with Philip Bravo – Peach Springs, Arizona

Part of an ongoing series about Arizona Farming & Ranching families.

Tell us about your farm, ranch, or agribusiness operation(s): It’s a cow/calf operation that spans over an 80,000-acre ranch that runs 700 head altogether.

Bravo is a real advocate for youth and also for involvement in organizations like Farm Bureau to make a difference in our industry.

What changes have you seen within your operation? Have they been for the better? There has been a big change in technology. The biggest thing on this operation is from how we used to vaccinate to how we do it now. There’s a great big change there. What were the methods you used before? Well before when we vaccinated we used a different type of vaccine than what we use now, since different kinds of vaccines have been brought into the programs. You now have a choice as to what you choose to use, how you want to take care of your cattle.

What is your educational background (i.e. Degree(s), certifications, honors)? I’ve just been a rancher my whole life. I worked on several different ranches; I worked in Utah a little bit, Nevada, and ranches here in Arizona. I used what I learned from each ranch and brought it back to use here where I am at now.

Will anyone in your family – younger generation – pursue farming, ranching, or agribusiness? I am a fourth-generation rancher. My youngest son is going to take on the business. We are working with him right now so he can learn how to manage the ranch. He will be the fifth generation.

What are your community activities? I am part of a native research team that looks at problems on the reservation within the farm bill to figure out why the farm bill isn’t helping the different reservations. I was also president of Mohave County Livestock Association for 6 years or so, and the county Farm Bureau president as well.

What do you love the most about farming, ranching, or the agriculture industry in general? It really is a great way of life. You’re your own boss…sometimes you’re not as good of a boss as you think you are, but Mother Nature teaches us that.

What do you enjoy doing, and what is one fact/achievement that nobody knows about you? I’ve been a big game guide, which I pride myself in. I love to hunt. Now I also read somewhere that you are a big time supporter of the Mohave County 4-H Youth, tell me about that: Yes I’ve been a big time supporter of the 4-H youth, but I’ve kind of backed off since my children are older now and haven’t been quite as involved. But I still go to the sale and purchase animals to help support the kids. We designed programs through the Mohave livestock Association to give each kid a prize, that way there wasn’t one kid who got it all. They all deserve to be recognized. That’s what I think 4-H is about, it’s not about being one big winner.

Why are you a Farm Bureau member? Well, I saw what my friends were doing, I saw that if people were to get together that they can make a change. I think that Farm Bureau is one of the largest programs with the most people involved, and it gives us a big voice across the country.

How will the next generation of agriculturalists have to operate? That’s hard to answer when we don’t know what changes are to come. I think if they stick to the basics, that they’ll be able to operate. The hardest part is what changes are to come.

What is the best business advice that you’ve received and/or have given? Or, what business-oriented advice would you give young farmers/beginning farmers? When you start a business, you take control of it. You don’t slack off, you don’t let anybody try and do it for you. You have to do it yourself, get hands on. There was a gentleman from one of these universities and he said you’ve got to get dirty doing the work. If you think about that, it’s very true. Start from the bottom and build your way to the top, that way you’ll know all aspects of the business.

Editor’s note: Phil is a member of the Haulapai Tribe, previously serving on the council. The Hualapai Tribe is a federally recognized Indian Tribe located in northwestern Arizona. “Hualapai” (pronounced Wal-lah-pie) means “People of the Tall Pines.” In 1883, an executive order established the Hualapai reservation.

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