For Bruce, a career in agriculture was never a given. It wasn’t until he found a book in his college bookstore at UC Davis that his perspective changed.
That book was Topsoil and Civilization by Vernon Gill Carter and Tom Dale. Bruce describes its thesis: The great civilizations of the ancient world were built around rich soil. When agriculture was neglected, these civilizations began to decline and eventually collapse. The first aspect of a culture to be neglected was always its soil. It was a lightbulb moment for Bruce.
“I’m just here for a little while,” he says. “Someone needs to farm this ground. A thousand years from now, people are going to be living here. I need to take care of it today.”
The Brothers have completed several conservation agreements with California Rangeland Trust on a large segment of their family’s ranch, about 4,236 acres– nearly all its rangeland. The land is protected in perpetuity from development, allowing them to continue these practices for the community and future generations. Urban encroachment has left its mark around the historic property.
Rominger Brothers Farms is a diversified operation, leasing their rangeland for cattle and sheep grazing and producing tomatoes, rice, sunflowers, corn, wheat, almonds, walnuts, wine grapes, alfalfa, and more. A few years back, the family farm was almost divided when the brothers’ second cousins decided to part with their share. Bruce searched for a way to keep the property intact and found California Rangeland Trust.
“I like the idea of being involved with a land trust that has a bunch of ranchers on the board,” he says. “Well-meaning people who aren’t from agriculture don’t understand it when it gets down to the nitty-gritty details.”