GRANDVIEW — The golden glow of the late evening sun drenched the five-acre alfalfa field out on Old Inland Empire Road as Jonathan Rivera maintains a steady course of custom cutting operations from the cab of the vintage New Holland swather with a reserved farming richness in cultivating their family business, one windrow at a time.
The 18-year-old Prosser High School graduate has been working side by side with his father in crafting their brand, Riverside Hay. Developed from their bond, the three-year-old company strives for growing premium grasses and providing full-service harvesting services on about 120 total acres.
Spending hours and hours, summer after summer driving an assortment of farm equipment, Jonathan said he got his start in the agricultural industry when he was in elementary school. He has worked his way up from driving tractors to commercial harvesters full-time for large scale operations in Patterson.
“It’s a lot of work. I enjoy it,” Rivera described as he mentors his 11-year-old brother, Aiden, during a recent cutting for one of their customers. “After doing it for so long, it starts feeling like second nature.”
Rivera is the oldest of two brothers and one sister. The driven young man has already cultured an appreciation for working with his father and growing the upstart business. After working his day job, Jonathan eagerly returns home and proceeds to resume his guiding, hands-on responsibilities with the family enterprise.
He credits his dad for instilling a strong work ethic upon him, which he’s proud to carry on. Jonathan believes their hard work and family name recognition for producing a first-rate, weed free, 80 to 110-pound bales of alfalfa, from May through September, will continue to exceed expectations.
“Business is booming,” he stated along with the future goal of being able to perform his proprietorship role exclusively. “I would much rather be working for ourselves, the family.”
Growing and selling their own hay, alfalfa, and Timothy grass from the company’s 60 acres of farmland, the family operation also bales and delivers high-quality livestock fodder for clients. Presently, they have a few large pieces of farm implement machinery and are looking for additional properties to expand their feed portfolio.
Once they finished their custom cutting operations in balance with the sun’s collaborative and colorful radiance surrounded by fields of hops, cherries and grapes on King Tull Road in Grandview, the alfalfa requires approximately a week to dry out before it can be baled. Jonathan acknowledged he’ll return to complete the raking duties with a determined spirit for doing it all over again.
During the lower valley’s growing season and long summer workdays, which mirror the rich shadows at sunset like a destined partnership extending beyond the brilliant moment for connecting hard work with achievement.
Neither of which is unchartered territory for Jonathan. “I just find it within me every day to keep going strong,” he mused.