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Longtime produce industry veteran retires from Duncan Family Farms

Duncan Family Farms, a grower of organic baby lettuces and greens, kales and herbs with operations in Arizona, California, Oregon and New York, has announced the retirement of Grower Relations Manager Jimmy Tadano. Tadano’s career in agriculture spans his entire adult life, and as an employee at Duncan Family Farms for more than a decade, he was highly respected by all who worked with him at the company.

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"In his time at Duncan Family Farms, Jimmy was unique in having both a strong desire and aptitude for innovative and environmentally sensitive growing techniques and an unwavering commitment to healthy crops and food safety," said Chief Executive Officer Arnott Duncan. "Those passions were crucial to the evolution of our operations and ultimately to our becoming a leader in organic produce."

Tadano graduated from the University of Arizona and pursued an interest in farming that he developed while doing seasonal work in agriculture. His first job out of college was a 12-year stint with a grower where he was exposed to all aspects of produce farming and production. From there he spent a decade helping a local grower get established in the industry, followed by a position with another operation in the area, helping to establish its broccoli growing program. The common thread in all his roles was a focus on improving the way things were done to benefit the growers and their customers.

Having learned a great deal about organic farming in those positions but feeling there was more that could be done to improve organic processes, Tadano accepted a position at Duncan Family Farms in 2005 overseeing cooling and logistics for what was then a relatively small operation. His expertise and work ethic quickly made him a valued member of the management team and one of the company’s thought leaders. With his input, the company’s top line quadrupled in six years.

As the company grew rapidly, Tadano took the lead in ensuring that all the new acreage was managed using the same agronomic program and long-term perspective needed for organic farming. In his final role at Duncan Family Farms, Tadano continued to help drive the company’s expansion, scouting new growing locations nationwide, establishing relationships with growers in an area, and laying the foundation for successful operations.

"The team at Duncan Family Farms is second to none," said Tadano. "Often, I have seen growers who do the bare minimum in regard to food safety, quality and employee development. At Duncan Family Farms, the focus was — and will continue to be — on not just meeting requirements but exceeding them."

As for Tadano’s future, he said that for much of his life in agriculture he has worked seven days a week, 12-14 hours a day, and he is "really looking forward to having a Saturday off."