Farming is a tough business. As our population continues to increase, so does the demand for a higher crop yield and more production from our farmers. American farmers receive about 17.5 cents for every dollar consumer’s spend on food. This is significantly less than the 31 cents farmers received in 1980. With these slim margins, farmers are finding it difficult to purchase new equipment and invest in new technology or agricultural practices.
Many times, we question if farming is sustainable for the economy or the environment, but we seldom ask if it is economically worthwhile for the farmer. Most people do not understand the trials and tribulation farmers are confronted with. These challenges include unpredictable weather, volatile markets, increased expenses, and constant changes in regulations. Farms and families are disappearing and not only does this impact our food supply but If we lose this lifestyle, we will also lose a large part of American history.
Mark Tos is a 4th generation farmer from Hanford California. When Mark was about 5 years old, his father put his initials “MT” on the wet concrete pad of their new irrigation system. He remembers thinking ‘this is where I belong’.
Growing up on a farm Mark learned about responsibility at a young age. Mark remembers when he was about 11 years old, his father came out one morning to find him watching cartoons. He told Mark to turn off the television and to get dressed because he needed his help on the farm. From that point forward, Mark spent his summer vacations helping his father spraying weeds, watering and driving a tractor.
When Mark started high school at Central Valley Christian, he wanted to play on the football team. For him to play football meant Mark would not be available to spend his summers working on the farm. His father agreed but only if Mark continued to be productive. His strong work ethic on the football team earned him some notable accolades. He was selected twice to the All East Sierra League first team, was the Lineman of the Year in 2005, was named the Fresno Bee All Area Squad, Small- School All State Honoree and First Team All Tulare County.
Mark received an athletic scholarship to the University of California Davis where he went on to play football for the Aggies. During his tenure at UC Davis, Mark continued to receive more recognition for football. He was voted as Scout Offense Player of the Week. He started in 44 straight games playing both left and right tackle. He was named to the All Great West 2nd team in 2008 and the All Great West 1st team in 2009 & 2010.
Mark graduated from UC Davis in 2011 with degree in International Agricultural Development. Following college graduation, Mark decided to move home to Hanford and work on the family farm. Farming for Mark is not a job, but rather it is a lifestyle and he wanted to continue his family legacy.
It was at UC Davis, that Mark began dating Jordan Ysusi who would later become his wife. She recalls seeing the 6’6-foot athlete attending church with his family but they never crossed paths. Mark remembers meeting Jordan for the first time in high school at Hume Lake Christian camp. He tells an endearing story of how he tried to make conversation with her while she was working at the snack bar. Jordan did not say much to Mark and it ended there.
In 2009 as fate would have it, the UC Davis Aggies football team was going to play the Fresno State Bulldogs. Jordan posted a good luck message to Mark on Facebook. Mark responded by offering her 2 tickets to an Aggie home game. Soon thereafter, Mark took Jordan on a dinner date. They soon realized they shared similar interests and a solid faith foundation. Mark and Jordan were married in October 2011 and they are the proud parents of three children, Corban 5, Avery 3, and Ryland 4 months. Jordan is a full-time mother and manages their household.