Brian Bertelsen grew up in the Sanger/Reedley area on a small ranch where his father, Phil, dabbled in farming. In fact, Phil Bertelsen was a banker in the Farm Credit Association business and doing a little farming on the side. Eventually however, Phil switched entirely to a career in ag production and founded Cove Ranch Management.
Though Brian took a different path than his father, it also had its similarities. The younger Bertelsen graduated from the local high school and started at Reedley College before transferring to UC Davis. Though he took ag economics and business classes as well, he majored in Rhetoric, which he describes as the “art of persuasion and communications. We studied marketing, small group communication dynamics and many other things that had to do with the written and spoken word.”
Though he was drawn to the field of Rhetoric, he always intended to use it in the business arena. Like his father, Brian started out in a related field – farm real estate brokerage – and dabbled in farming on the side. Eventually though like his father, he moved into the family business and took over ownership and management of the operation, and became involved in production agriculture on a full time basis.
Brian describes Cove Ranch Management as a “turnkey farm management company for absentee and investor farm owners.” The company basically offers all the services an off the farm owner needs for the raising of his crop including cultural, production and farm labor services. Citrus is the primary crop but they also own or manage almond and tree fruit acreage as well.
“There was a time that I was very pessimistic about the future of agriculture due to the regulatory climate. We were definitely over-regulated.” While Brian does not for a minute think that the regulations have eased, he does sense a greater appreciation for the farm community, and maybe an easing of the tension from the urban community. He also notes that in the current environment where the healthy lifestyle movement has taken center stage, fresh fruits and vegetables are perfectly positioned for a renaissance, if you will.
His favorite pastime is golf and he sports a 7 handicap so one would guess that he does get on the course from time to time. He is the proud father of two daughters (23 and 19) and a son in law. As of this point, none have followed the family path into production agriculture, “but never say never.” After all, both Brian and his dad took a winding route to the orchards and groves that they eventually owned and manage.