As a kid growing up on a farm near Los Angeles, 2005 World Ag Expo chairman, Rob Fletcher, stood out. “None of my other friends had farms,” Fletcher recalls. But instead of feeling different as many a teen would in his shoes, Fletcher relished the family business.
“It was phenomenal to have a dairy in the middle of a big city,” Fletcher says today.
When the future Expo chairman was 16, the family — Dad, Lynn, mom, Alberta, brother, Ed and sisters, Denise and Nancy - looking around for greener pastures to grow their dairy, visited Tulare.
Fletcher remembered visiting World Ag Expo, which was called the California Farm Show at the time. “As soon as I got there, I knew it was where I wanted to be, “ he says. “I thought I was in Disneyland. I couldn't get enough.” That was in 1974.
Brothers run farm
Today, with their father retired, the brothers run their environmentally progressive award-winning dairy on 160 acres in the heart of Tulare. Between them they manage a 700-head Holstein herd and farm 120 acres of corn, barley and sugar beets.
Fletcher and wife, Kathy, are parents to daughter, Kim, an ag communications major at Fresno State, and son, Greg, a senior in high school. Kathy, who does the farm's bookkeeping, is heavily involved as an Orange Jacket volunteer at World Ag Expo. Both sides of the couple's families are Orange Jacket volunteers including parents, children, aunts and uncles!
“Rob has put in 24 years of service,“ Kathy informed us. “I've done15 years as a volunteer. Our daughter started in 1998.”
This chairman's life is a busy one. Up at 5 a.m. for farm chores and on call 24 hours, Fletcher also tries to attend many of the 63 World Ag Expo committees as well as and travel on behalf of the show.
Fletcher pinches himself thinking about how things have played out. “Not only am I a dairy farmer in Tulare, I am also the chairman of the world's biggest — and greatest — farm equipment show.”
World Ag Expo 2005 is scheduled for Feb. 8 — 10. Visit www.farmshow.org for more information.