Daniel Pacheco strolls through the leafy cotton plants on his 2,500 acres in Marana, admiring the blossoming crop. “It looks really good,’’ says Pacheco, a third generation cotton farmer.
For six decades, the Pacheco family has partnered with UACE to maximize production. Daniel’s grandfather, former University of Arizona (UA) football player Art Pacheco, planted his first crop in the 1950s on what is now part of Pacheco Farm Management. Art’s sons, Patrick and Lyall, joined the business, and Daniel grew up on the farm.
“I was always working here, during school and during summers,’’ said Pacheco, now with two sons of his own.
He studied environmental sciences at the UA. “But I loved farming more than anything.’’ So while many children of farmers opt for different careers, Pacheco spends his time – often 80 hours a week – working the land by day and the office by night.
In addition to 1,100 acres of cotton, Pacheco grows 900 acres of wheat and 300 acres of milo. Rising cotton prices are a boost to the business, which has weathered lean years. “Working with Cooperative Extension has helped me to be more profitable,’’ Pacheco said.
The family has partnered with Peter Ellsworth, entomologist and UACE faculty member, for many years. “We have had a longstanding relationship with all three generations of Pachecos,’’ Ellsworth said. “Twenty years ago, we worked with them to manage pink bollworm, which can be devastating.’’
Young farmers like Pacheco hearten Ellsworth. “We are seeing a lot of Daniel’s generation, the young sons and daughters, move away from the family farm. It’s great to see people like Daniel involved in agriculture.’’