“Teddy” as he is known around the farm was named after Theodore Roosevelt, our 26th U.S. President and the country’s first environmentalist.
As the Resident Farm Dog for New Global Energy, Teddy’s paws-on, 24/7 job is both demanding and rewarding. Teddy has been with NGE on their farm in Thermal, California since he was four (twenty-eight in people years). During college he completed a summer internship as an Apprentice Farm Dog at Iowa State University. Teddy has his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M in Agriculture and Life Sciences.
After a painful split from his college collie sweetheart (and mascot of Texas A&M) Miss Reveille, he decided he wanted to start over and head out west. Teddy called his colleague Rocky French and asked if he knew of anyone hiring a Farm Dog. Rocky pulled some strings, and created a position for Teddy with the condition that he would live on site and protect the farm at night. Teddy accepted and caught the next Greyhound to California.
Teddy has many responsibilities on the farm including: pest removal, farm protection, worker companionship, digging holes for new plants, staff meal cleanup, fertilizing, sniffing out imperfections, sampling products, sleeping and other various tasks.
Most recently, he has been given the job of writing the “On the Farm 24/7,” a monthly blog that tells readers about what’s going on at the farms.
I should know, I live on the farm 24/7 so there’s not much I miss.
The latest development at the farm that I’m most excited about is the planting of several thousand Moringa trees. You know how dogs feel about trees and fire hydrants.
Well, the plan for Moringa is to formulate and self-manufacture a nutritious cost saving fish feed. Right now, Rocky French, Aqua Farming Tech’s Director of Farm Operations and my boss, is working with his team on a blend of soy and grains (typical constitutes of fish feed) fortified by minerals and vitamins and most importantly, Moringa. While not known to many, Moringa is a nutrient rich botanical, very popular and highly valued in the Philippines, which happens to be the homeland of Rocky French. The Philippine culture has long known Moringa possesses a multitude of health benefits and curative properties. How do I know this stuff? Four years at Texas A&M with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Life Science, of course I know all this stuff. I’m not your average Farm Dog you know.
So far, tests conducted here on the farm have yielded extremely positive results using Moringa as a significant ingredient in the manufacturing of fish feed and fed to the fish on our farms. I haven’t seen Rocky this excited since I caught that big ass rabbit that was getting into the feed barn last year.
Here’s something you probably haven’t heard about what’s going on at the Thermal farm. Originally the focus at the farm was on fish feed and the Asian ethnic food market for our fish, but now with a broader view that takes into consideration the rapidly growing and extremely lucrative Health + Wellness market, Rocky and his team planted eight acres of Moringa trees on our Thermal farm. That was about a year ago. Yesterday, I overheard a conversation between Rocky and Mr. Perry West – he’s the CEO of the whole enchilada – anyway Rocky and Mr. West were saying that they were planting another 3.5 acres employing a dense planting pattern. Each newly planted acre will be planted with 392,000 trees for a total of 1,372,725 trees, planted at a density of 4 inches apart. Well so much for answering a dog’s dream. Rocky went on to explain to Mr. West that the seeds for planting will be produced from the eight acres already planted. The cultivation program calls for Moringa to be raised to a height of 6 inches. The program yields a tremendous volume of young, vibrant leaf material.
Also, growing Moringa in the greenhouses allows for continuous production during the winter months which benefits production for use in the company’s fish feed program and also allows for a supply of fresh leaves to be delivered to the ethnic food markets year round.
O.K. so that conversation may not be that interesting to you but here’s what it all means: Over previous years, Aqua Farming Tech has delivered Moringa leaves on a limited basis to Asian ethnic markets in the Greater Los Angeles area at wholesale price of $3 per pound. Presently, Moringa is being purchased by the health and wellness sector at a price of $25 per kilogram ($55 per pound) of dried leaf powder for use in nutritional supplements and teas.
With margins like that, I see an air-conditioned doghouse in my future.
Well, that’s about it for now. Remember, I’m here on the farm, on the ground 24/7 and I’ll be reporting what’s going on as it happens.