A Family Affair
The Mitchell family has been farming together in the San Luis Valley since the late 1930’s. Tyler’s grandfather started the farm with his uncle and was later joined by Tyler’s Dad. Today Mike is semi-retired and Tyler and his brother Clay do most of the heavy lifting with help from their uncle Ron Crowther. It’s all hands on deck for planting and harvest, Clay does most of the book-keeping and Tyler manages equipment maintenance on the 1780 acre farm.
Tyler and Clay Mitchell are continually assessing ways to improve farm operations. They have changed tillage practices by utilizing one-pass tillage implements and are also focusing on vertical tillage. They have started using many of the latest biological chemistries in place of synthetic chemicals and will be growing 120 acres of organic potatoes in the 2016 growing season. They have been very proactive in adopting farming practices that aid in reducing water usage. Together Tyler and Clay recently purchased additional farm land which will allow them to continue to grow and diversify the operation into more organics. In addition to improving farming practices in the field, they have also brought better technology into the back office using the latest tools for record keeping and farm management. In speaking about his love of the job, Tyler recounted, “I enjoy the challenge of continually trying to improve the quality and the yield of the many varieties of potatoes we grow. I love being able to work outside, and it really is the greatest feeling digging up the crop you have put all that time and effort into all summer long.”
Like so many in the Valley, Tyler and his family love mountain life. Now that his girls Madeline and Sophia are old enough, he and his wife like taking them for hikes, playing sports outside and spending time together on the farm. He’s looking forward to teaching them to ski starting this year. Tyler is also deeply involved in Valley life. He is a valued member of the CPAC Research Committee, a member of the Sargent School District Accountability Committee, Pee-wee wrestling coach at the school and a 4-H Club woodworking leader.