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Meet-a-Farmer: Raul Lopez

From: Buena Vista, Jalisco, Mexico

Favorite animal on the farm: Beef cattle

Hobbies: Riding his horse, and raising his family

Raul herding cattle on Diana

Farm Manager Raul Lopez can be seen all over the farm: There he is in the barn with the sows tending to newborn litters; now he’s riding the large tractor and moving equipment; then he’s taking hay bales to the paddocks with the skid steer; cleaning one of the hog barns; or helping manage the dairy herd.


Raul comes by this usefulness after 11 years of full-time work with Deck Family Farm. He also worked many odd jobs for us during the previous 6 years. Today, he is crucially knowledgeable about all aspects of the complex effort that is Deck Family Farm.


“They asked me to come full time in 2007 but I said no because I thought I was good with my current job. But when I finally did start working here I thought “Why didn’t I start sooner?” he says today. “In my last job it was the same thing all the time. Here I am learning a lot all the time. And I really enjoy that.”


Raul’s favorite animal is cattle and he is proud of how we handle them with gentle and quiet techniques.


“When I started working here I was very impressed with how John [Deck] moved the cows,” he said. “He did it with one, thin line of string and it was so easy. I was eager to learn how he did that!”


Raul said he had thought, based on what he had seen in Mexico and in the movies, that it is very hard to move 20 cows. “They use 5 horses, loud voices, and lots of running around [in other places] and here it's only one, calm person. And now I can move 200 animals here very easily. It’s a very different technique and I like it a lot.”


Besides working with animals, Raul also trains our students, helping them to learn about animal husbandry and pasture management. But teaching was not immediately easy for him.


"When I started working with the students I was super frustrated because they are often quite young and inexperienced,” he said. “Christine [Deck] told me: Hey Raul, you are the teacher. you have to work with the students and have more patience with them. I have now worked with them well for 5 or 6 years and I have a lot of patience.”


I asked him how he made that adjustment. “By living for the next day,” he said. “When I worked with students at first I felt that I had so much to do and I didn’t have time to finish as well as train them. And now I understand that if I don’t finish today it's okay… I take a longer view and live for the next day. I’m being patient with myself, too.”


When he isn't working so hard, Raul is with his wife and two sons or riding his beautiful Quarter Horse cross named Diana.

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