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Colusa Farm Show: Giant Yuba City hedger a tribute to late father

Big Mo, flying a Jolly Roger flag for fun, made it Tuesday to the Colusa Farm Show after a 2:30 a.m. finish and a family history that spans three generations.

"It's great to have it here," Rob Bains, 36, of Yuba City said.

The 32-foot-long hedger that mechanically prunes walnut and pecan trees is the product of KZB Agriculture Unlimited in Yuba City and gets its name from the father of Rob, Joey and Paul Bains.

Big Mo helped kick off the three-day run of the 48-year-old Farm Show that is the oldest in the state and one of the largest. The annual event at the Colusa Fairgrounds that draws farmers and others interested in agriculture continues today and Thursday.

Today's second day features a scheduled appearance by Gov. Jerry Brown at the Agricultural Leadership Breakfast at St. Bernadette's Hall near the fairgrounds.

Mohinder S. Bains, who died last year at the age of 76, would have been happy to see Big Mo on display at the farm show, Rob Bains said. The elder Bains would have been making last-minute touchups to Big Mo, his son said.

"He's probably looking down at us," Rob Bains said, and telling his sons how he knew they could finish the machine that they started working on Dec. 3 and completed early Tuesday. The farm equipment is one of a kind now, but the Bains will build more as the market demands.

Devan Bains, the 6-year-old-son of Rob, was dazzled when he first saw Big Mo and ready to give it a ride.

"Daddy," Devan said, "let me drive it."

CONTACT Ryan McCarthy at rmccarthy@appealdemocrat.com or 749-4780. Find him on Facebook at /ADrmccarthy or on Twitter at @ADrmccarthy.

‘Farming is an expensive venture’

He explained a term that's part of a famous movie title, noted that the history of crop insurance includes a 1788 statement of Ben Franklin and defined what "risk" is.

"The possibility that something unpleasant will happen in the future," Cody Miller said in his talk Tuesday at the Colusa Farm Show.

His Risk Management 101 seminar recounted that an indemnity is a loss payment — as the 1944 film "Double Indemnity" showed.

Farmers in the Midwest hit by drought have been helped by payments, Miller said. He said production, market and legal risks are among the challenges farmers face and that federal crop insurance allows growers who might not be able to afford the premiums to get coverage.

"Farming is an expensive venture," he said at the seminar.

Adverse weather, fire, plant disease and irrigation supply failure are among the issues farmers face and that crop insurance addresses. Insurance lessens such risks, Miller said.

He had before his seminar noted the universal challenge to growers. Weather he said is probably the biggest hurdle.

"It's just become a better business," he said.

— Ryan McCarthy

Faces in the crowd

Brenda Chavez's career goal is to be an FBI agent but the Lindhurst High School students was happy Tuesday to be at the Colusa Farm Show.

"I'm learning a lot," Chavez, 14, said. "I'm glad that I came."

She was one of four students from Lindhurst in Colusa for the event.

Fifteen-year-old Justin Mullikin wants to be an attorney but was back for his second farm show — and Chavez plans to return next year for Round 2 as well. Students Bonnie Her and Kathy Kue were at their first farm show.

Tom Winslow is closing on four decades of attending the Colusa Farm Show and has seen agriculture transformed during that time.

"It's come a long way," he said. "It's amazing."

Once a mom-and-pop business, Winslow said agriculture is now much more.

The representative for Scotts Tanks — whose offices include sites in Shasta and Mendocino counties — said that doesn't mean growing has gotten easy. Government regulations and other challenges face farmers, he said.


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