By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau’s Intern: David Stambaugh is a long-time Arizona farmer and rancher who prides himself on hard work. Over the years he has worked to create lasting relationships and meaningful transactions with the public and other farmers and ranchers.
While Stambaugh may talk more about his ranching first, his farming operation includes cotton, wheat and other small grains, alfalfa and, of course, beef.
An ongoing series about Arizona agriculture’s farmers and ranchers.
Interview with David Stambaugh of Eloy, Arizona.
Tell us about your operation. I’m a farmer, I’ve been farming since I was a kid, and I’m now 49 years old. Right now I live in Eloy, and I farm cotton, wheat, and alfalfa. This year, though, I’m just farming wheat and alfalfa. When I was growing up, my parents raised the same crops; cotton, wheat, and alfalfa. We did pinto beans at one time, and we’ve done vegetables; some broccoli, and corn. I also have some cattle, about 30 head, up on some rangeland.
David Stambaugh branding cattle.
Do you use any practices that highlight water conservation, soil health, or anything of the like? On the farm in Eloy we use level basins and we irrigate with tubes so we can water every other row.
What is your agricultural and/or educational background? My dad taught me, and he was my education. I was farming when I was 18 years old, my last year in high school. I did half a semester at CAC, and while I was doing that I was farming. I didn’t necessarily have a major, but I was getting all of the first classes I needed out of the way to then go to a university. It just never happened.
My hands-on experience taught me more than college could.
Will anyone in your family – younger generation – pursue farming, ranching, or agribusiness? I have one daughter who went to OSU, and she was doing ag there. She changed her major in the middle of college, and she’s a teacher now. She married a farmer in Oklahoma, so they live there now.
We have twin boys, and one of the boys is into welding and construction, while the other one is here with me on the farm. We have a senior in high school now, she’s going to New Mexico State. We also have a sophomore in high school, and he’s not decided what he wants to do yet, but he does a lot of work on the farm.
What do you love most about farming, ranching, or agriculture in general? Freedom. I get to be my own boss. I like being away from the city and watching the crops grow from seed to harvest.
What do you enjoy doing, or what is one thing no one knows about you? For me and the family, our favorite thing to do is to take the camper down to Rocky Point and lay on the beach. We also like to go to the lake with our jet skis, and just take some time to do nothing. To us, Rocky Point is the best vacation because you can take the camper down for $25 a night. You can’t get a hotel for that.
Why are you a Farm Bureau member? Because Richie Kennedy and Mike Norris make me [he explains with a chuckle]. Farm Bureau does a lot of work up in Washington and they help keep us from being overruled. It’s a good thing.
How do you think the next generation of farmers and ranchers is going to have to operate? That’s a tough question. I think they’re going to be lucky to operate. To be a good farmer you need to be out getting your hands dirty, not sitting in an office looking at your farm on a computer.
What is the best business advice you’ve ever given or been given? Watch your money.
Editor's note: In Meet Arizona Agriculture's Bar 7 Rancher we profiled his cattle operation a few years back.