January 12, 2011
Vineyard and Orchard Manager
Since the Michael Fields Agricultural Institute Public Policy Internship, I returned to Arizona and settled into the more agricultural side of my home county. In September of last year I was offered a position as a vineyard and orchard manager. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me to delve into every aspect of my agricultural education, including my stint in policy. Vineyards are more or less a new concept for this area that has previously subsisted off of mining and housing developments in the last years. To say the least, there are a few folk who are unsure of these agricultural developments. Thankfully, there are many who feel strongly that this niche could serve the community in a multitude of ways and are pushing to widen the path for both vineyards and wineries in the area.
I have had the pleasure of being a part of the Verde Valley Wine Consortium which has been leading the way in addressing many issues such as education, economic development, environmental benefits, grants, and local policy concerning the development of vineyards in the Valley. The local community college was encouraged to develop a viticulture course, which has been scheduled for next fall and I have been chosen to instruct it. I feel very fortunate to be apart of this movement and also to have had a bit of background in agricultural policy before entering into it. I have a feeling I will continue to draw off my MFAI experience as a resource in the years to come. Thanks for checking in!