Treasure Our Valley farmland protection event set

Treasure Our Valley, a festival that celebrates and encourages the protection of farm and ranchland, will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Indian Creek Plaza, 120 S. Kimball Ave., Caldwell, Idaho.

Participants will be able to “come and celebrate, have a good time, sample food and wine from local producers, and maybe learn a little about the importance of farmland in the Treasure Valley,” said Crookham Co. CEO George Crookham. It’s an opportunity to connect with food producers “and hear about their stories and the things they do, in a fun environment.”

Local wines, beers and hard ciders will be featured. Food vendors are slated to showcase food produced locally. Numerous agricultural organizations are scheduled to participate.

Scheduled events for children include making ice cream and butter, using a cider press and bicycle wheat grinder and setting an irrigation siphon tube.

A Farm Bureau-sponsored scavenger hunt is planned.

Information: Kris Crookham, 208-890-3543 or kbc@crookham.com.


Oregon FFA hires career development coordinator

CORVALLIS, Ore. — As the 2019-20 school year gets underway, Oregon FFA has created a new position to promote and enhance career development events for students across the state.

The association hired Leila Graves as career development coordinator, working with both agriculture teachers and industry leaders to facilitate career development events and make sure they meet educational standards.

Oregon FFA offers 27 different career development events, or CDEs, including veterinary science, agronomy and mechanics. Students compete in front of judges at the district, state and national levels, honing critical thinking and technical skills.

About 2,400 students competed in CDEs at the district level last year in Oregon, and 1,200 at the state level.

Graves, 46, said her goal is to boost participation in events and help students explore possible career options.

“Most of these events are geared toward career readiness,” Graves said. “When (students) graduate, they have more of an idea which direction they want to go in.”

Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Graves earned her bachelor’s degree in language studies and linguistics from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 2000. From there, she joined a nonprofit organization, Sports4Kids, working in schools that are in low-income neighborhoods to promote healthy eating and activities.

Graves spent three years at Brookfield Elementary School in Oakland, Calif. It was after they built a school garden that Graves said she noticed a change in the students — taking pride in the garden, becoming more interested in healthy eating and wanting to learn where their food comes from.

“That’s really where I got this great idea about using school gardens as a living laboratory for students,” she said.

Graves returned to school, earning her master’s degree in crop science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, studying horticulture techniques to increase tree fruit yield.

At Cal Poly, Graves said she became involved in leading younger student tours of the university farm, reinforcing her passion for agriculture education.

“You could see the kids’ excitement, and how amazing the experience was for them,” she said. “Food is crucial. It’s the one thing that brings us all together.”

Graves earned her interdisciplinary doctorate in horticulture and education from Colorado State University in 2014, during which she developed and implemented a STEM model curriculum for the Poudre Valley School District in Fort Collins, Colo. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math.

Shawn Dooley, CEO of Oregon FFA, said Graves’ background combining agriculture and classroom studies made her a good fit for facilitating career development events.

“She’s got the educational background that we think is going to be a real asset to the organization and a real help to our teachers, especially our new teachers,” Dooley said.

Dooley said the idea of creating the position came up in May, when a staff member who previously coordinated CDEs left. Oregon FFA decided to upgrade the position, Dooley said, to make sure CDEs truly reflected current industry trends and technology.

”We don’t want to be preparing students for jobs that were,” Dooley said. “We want to be preparing students for jobs that are, and will be.”


From hobby to commercial vineyard

ALPINE, Ore. — As wine hobbyists, Sue and Neil Shay were not originally planning to create a commercial vineyard when they bought their 6-acre property in 2010.

“We bought it for the view,” Sue said. “We were already wine hobbyists before we moved here, we have been making wine together since the early 2000s. We thought it would be a hobby vineyard and we’d grow wine from that, and sometime over the summer we knocked our heads together and decided to become a commercial winery.”

The Shays had started by planting a quarter of an acre in 2013, clearing out the overgrown Christmas tree farm.

From there, they ordered 2,500 vines for the following spring, and continued to purchase more vines. Bluebird Hill Cellars was born, named after the population of bluebirds that inhabit the property.

The Shays grow 80% Pinot noir grapes, 15% Chardonnay grapes and 5% Pinot gris grapes. As of last year, their wine was produced half-and-half from their grapes and the grapes from other vineyards.

At 1,000 cases of production, they have 10 wines: a red and white blend, three whites, one rosé, four Pinot noirs and one Syrah.

One of the biggest challenges for the Shays was scaling up production. The first year they opened with 214 cases of seven different wines.

“That for us seemed like we were making a lot because before that we only made one barrel (around 25 cases),” Neil said.

To avoid any big mistakes, the Shays hired an Oregon State University student consultant, and Sue said in retrospect it was a “great idea” that made the learning curve much easier.

“One of the things we love about wine, you can spend your whole life learning about it and still not know it all,” Sue said. “It’s constantly challenging and you’re constantly learning.”

Along with the winery, they also rent two rooms out as a bed and breakfast. Having a bed and breakfast was always a dream for Sue, but she said that life had gotten in the way. As things were picking up with the vineyard in 2015, Sue opened the bed and breakfast at the house.

“It’s worked out really well,” she said, “A lot of people like to stay on the vineyard.”

She added that bed and breakfasts at a vineyard are starting to be more common, and since they opened a few other smaller wineries have started doing it, too.

“Sue is a great hostess,” Neil said about his wife. “She has a 9.9 out of 10 rating on booking.com.”

For Sue, the biggest reward has been the sense of accomplishment “of what we put together, just the two of us. Being able to say we built this, we planted this vineyard.”

While that is part of it for Neil, another big part has been the feedback they have received about their wines.

“We’re pouring 10 wines and for someone to go through the tasting and say all these wines are really good,” he said. One couple had told him that they had the best selection of wines in the Southern Willamette Valley. “That was a nice compliment.”

The vineyard was designed for the Shays as they move into retirement, and they look forward to hitting their peak at producing 1,200 to 1,500 cases.

“We don’t plan on getting much bigger than this,” Sue said. “(We want to) keep on keeping on. Keep on making better wine.”


ODA taking applications for Organic Certification Cost Share Program

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) allocated more than $17.4 million for the National Organic Certification Cost Share Program (OCCSP) nationwide. Oregon was awarded $284,000 up from $258,000 in 2017. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is a USDA-accredited certifying agent for organic crop production and handling/processing. The purpose of the OCCSP is to reimburse organic operations for specific organic certification costs. Oregon is fourth in the nation in the sales of certified organic commodities.

“The cost of organic certification should not be a barrier for Oregon producers wanting to compete in the organic marketplace,” said ODA, Director Alexis Taylor. “Oregon is very competitive in the organic industry, with more than $351 million in annual sales and nearly 194,000 acres in production statewide and climbing. Our goal is to make these funds widely available in order to increase the opportunities for producers to contribute to the Oregon’s agricultural economy.”

The USDA is authorized by Congress to provide organic certification cost share assistance to Oregon producers or handlers who have paid eligible costs during the period of October 1, 2018 to September 30, 2019.  Oregon producers or handlers that receive certification or renew their certification from a USDA accredited certifier are eligible to receive reimbursement for 75 percent of eligible certification fees, up to a maximum of $750 per annual certification scope.

Complete applications and all necessary documents with proof of payment between October 1, 2018 – September 30, 2019 must be submitted by October 31, 2019. Reimbursements will be made on a first come first serve basis until all available funds have been disbursed. Please allow 3-4 weeks to receive reimbursement.

ODA is now accepting OCCSP applications. For more information please visit the ODA webpage or contact the OCCSP at organiccostshare@oda.state.or.us or 503-986-6473


Alleged marijuana damage to grapes ruled plausible

A federal judge has ruled that an Oregon vineyard has plausibly alleged harm from a neighboring marijuana operation and may proceed with a racketeering lawsuit against it.

U.S. Senior District Judge Anna Brown has denied the marijuana-growing neighbor’s motion to dismiss the complaint, finding that Momtazi Vineyard has legal standing under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act to pursue the case.

The vineyard has plausibly claimed under RICO that it’s suffered a “concrete financial loss” because a customer canceled an order over fears the grapes were contaminated with the smell of marijuana, the judge said.

“The customer’s concerns, whether valid or invalid, arose directly from the proximity of defendants’ marijuana-grow operation,” Brown wrote in the 20-page opinion.

The defendants — Mary and Steven Wagner, along with their son Richard — had argued that Momtazi’s allegations of lost grape sales, reduced grape marketability and reduced property rental income weren’t “concrete” damages caused by a RICO violation, but the judge rejected those claims.

The Momtazi family, which owns the vineyard in Yamhill County, filed the lawsuit earlier this year accusing the Wagners of running a “criminal enterprise” because marijuana is illegal under federal law. The complaint seeks compensation for “three times the damages” caused by this alleged “racketeering activity.”

Capital Press was unable to reach the plaintiff’s or defendants’ attorneys for comment as of press time.

Earlier this year, a federal judge dismissed a similar lawsuit filed against another marijuana-growing operation near Lebanon, Ore., because the alleged drop in real estate values to neighboring landowners wasn’t considered a “compensable property injury” under RICO.

Damage claims must be more than “purely speculative” to proceed under RICO and allegations of diminished market value are considered insufficient, according to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over much of the West.

The Momtazi lawsuit’s survival of the motion to dismiss could mean it will become a “template” for other litigation against marijuana operations, said Alex Tinker, an attorney representing marijuana growers in another lawsuit.

“They’re looking for ways to create a replicable model,” Tinker said.

With alleged grape contamination now ruled a plausible injury under RICO, that may invite similar accusations involving other agricultural commodities, he said.

However, it will still be “a tough thing to prove causation,” Tinker said.

In Oregon, several cases against marijuana growers and retailers have been filed alleging RICO violations, with attorney Rachel McCart representing the plaintiffs.

Tinker said the cases are driven at least partly by an ideological opposition to marijuana that hasn’t proven successful in the legislature or with the public.

“These are part of a coordinated effort to fight the cannabis industry through the courts,” he said.


Stayin’ alive: Agriculture safety tips from the experts

Many farmers consider their work rewarding, but agriculture ranks among the most dangerous professions in the U.S., according to the USDA.

Safety experts share a few tips on how farmers can stay safe in 2019:

Deadliest roads

“Country roads, take me home.” But drivers, be careful. The roads least traveled are the nation’s deadliest, according to federal highway data.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s most recent report reveals drivers on rural roads die at a rate 2.1 times higher per mile traveled than in urban areas.

According to NHTSA, rural highways, which receive less federal money, are more likely to have outdated designs and potholes. Wild animals dart into traffic more often. Rural drivers tend to drive faster. And in a crash, they’re more likely to die before getting medical help since hospitals are farther away.

According to National Occupant Protection Use Surveys, people in rural areas also drive at higher rates without seat belts. Sixty percent of those who die in pickup trucks aren’t using a seat belt, according to NHTSA.

Safety officials encourage rural drivers to wear seat belts, watch out for wildlife, be careful on old highways and recognize that the “it won’t be me” mentality won’t work when it is you.

Crushing truth

According to researchers at Purdue University, more than 900 cases of grain engulfment have been reported in the U.S. in the past 50 years — with a 62% fatality rate.

Entrapment happens when a person gets sucked into grain and can’t get out without help. This typically happens in silos or grain elevators but can also happen in freestanding piles.

Jose Perez, corporate senior manager for health and safety at the Wonderful Co. and member of the American Society of Safety Professionals, said communication is crucial.

“Tell someone when you’re going into the grain area,” he said.

Perez said you should also have a lifeline. “Always have a harness and lanyard when you go into a silo,” said Perez. “If you get engulfed like quick sand, having a line attached will save your life. This isn’t new. It’s just not utilized anywhere near enough.”

Overheated workers

One of the most serious dangers for nursery workers is heat illness, said Perez.

“Pay attention to the temperature inside greenhouses and how that impacts people,” said Perez. “Create a good heat illness prevention program. Hydrate, hydrate.”

Safety culture

Perez said agricultural safety is about mindset.

He said it’s important to consider the culture and background of agricultural workers. He immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, where he said he did not feel comfortable talking with managers. If an agricultural laborer comes from a hierarchical background, Perez explained, they may believe they should not bother the “boss” and should use whatever tool they’ve got.

“But ‘get-the-job-done’ culture can work against you if you’ve learned to think you shouldn’t ask for help,” said Perez. “Farm managers need to recognize workers’ backgrounds and tell them, ‘It’s OK to ask for help. Please tell me when something is hard or dangerous.’ And workers need to talk with each other, too.”

Keep learning

The North American Agricultural Safety Summit, hosted by the Agricultural Safety and Health Council of America, will take place March 19-20 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel and Casino in Nevada.


WSDA: Don’t put CBD from hemp in food products

Washington’s licensed food processors could lose points off inspection scores if caught adding cannabidiol to their products, state regulators say, adding that hemp’s hottest product has not been approved as an ingredient by the Food and Drug Administration.

The ban on making CBD-infused food and beverages likely will affect only a handful of the couple thousand food processors inspected by the state Department of Agriculture’s food-safety division, officials said Monday.

CBD is ostensibly regulated by the FDA, even though demand for CBD candy, honey, beverages and other edibles is helping drive the hemp boom. The department does not plan to raid stores.

“We understand the cat’s out of the bag,” said Steve Fuller, the department’s assistant director for food safety. “However, people want to know what’s legal. We need to clarify that for people.”

The department’s policy also prohibits food warehouses licensed by the agriculture department from distributing CBD-infused food and drink to in-state retailers. The products can be sent out-of-state.

“We’re not regulating interstate commerce, but we are regulating

distribution within the state of Washington,” Fuller said.

Washington’s ban on using CBD as a food ingredient won’t prohibit state-licensed hemp processors from making and selling the oil to marijuana retailers. The department’s policy also doesn’t prohibit farmers from growing hemp for CBD production.

Industrial Hemp Association Washington lobbyist Bonny Jo Peterson said most hemp farmers are growing the crop for CBD. She said doesn’t expect the food-safety division’s stance to slow the industry.

She said she doesn’t know of any hemp processor who will be affected and that she expects the FDA and USDA to soon announce federal rules that will clarify CBD’s status.

Washington has 86 hemp processors licensed by the agriculture department’s Commodity Inspection Division, not the food-safety division.

The commodity division is inspecting hemp farms, but doesn’t plan on inspecting hemp processors unless it receives a complaint, the division’s head, Jessica Allenton, said.

A food processor or warehouse inspected by the food-safety division must score at least 90 out of 100 to pass. Using or distributing CBD likely will knock a “couple points” off the score, David Smith, the food-safety program manager, said.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the federal controlled substances list. The hemp industry, however, continues to operate in gray areas.

Oregon law allows any hemp product, including CBD, to be added to food. More-cautious Washington lawmakers, however, have chosen to follow the FDA’s lead.

The FDA last year approved CBD as the active ingredient in the drug Epidiolex to treat seizures associated with two rare and severe forms of epilepsy.

Active ingredients in drugs can’t be added to food or animal feed sold across state lines, according to the FDA, therefore the interstate trafficking of CBD-infused products is illegal.

FDA enforcement has been focused on sending warning letters to businesses making unsubstantiated health claims about CBD.

The FDA has been taking public comments on whether it should allow more uses of CBD.

“If the FDA approves food ingredient uses for hemp extracts like CBD, those uses would be allowed under state law,” according to a policy statement from the Washington Department of Agriculture.

CBD is a chemical component of cannabis. CBD does not intoxicate, but trials leading to the approval of Epidiolex found side effects such as lethargy, mild liver damage and depression, according to the FDA.

Hemp seeds, or grain, can be used in food. The FDA has recognized that ingredient as safe.


Young farmers say hardest part is finding land

Josh Norris, 31, is making his dream of farming a reality, gradually building his land base, controlling his expenses and doing custom farming on the side to bring in added income.

“This year, I made it a priority to seek out more custom work, and that seems to be a good way to try and cash-flow my operation,” the Caldwell, Idaho, farmer said. “That helps me grow — and pay for the equipment required to start up.”

Providing other farmers with services like planting, discing, roller-harrowing and plowing works for Norris because the 235 leased acres he farms are spread across six smaller parcels he must drive to anyway — and it helps him scout for land he can add to his operation.

“The land that comes up for lease for a beginning farmer is not the most high-quality ground,” he said. “I have given up lower-quality fields to pick up better ground, and that is just a constant process each year.”

Land: No. 1 issue
Land access is the No. 1 challenge facing farmers and ranchers younger than 40, according to a national survey. Participants in the National Young Farmers Coalition survey pegged it as the top issue regardless of location or whether they grew up on a farm or ranch. Land, and access to it, outranked all other concerns, including financial.

“And land access is the number-one reason farmers are quitting agriculture, and the number-one reason preventing farmers from getting started,” said Holly Rippon-Butler, the coalition’s land-access program director.

USDA’s newest Census of Agriculture “illustrates and illuminates the fact that farmers are getting older, and land succession and land transition are more and more of an issue,” said Rogue Farm Corps Executive Director Stu O’Neill.

The Ashland, Ore.-based nonprofit matches starting producers with experienced farmers and ranchers who mentor them. It helps new farmers find affordable land through innovative tools such as easements that can provide retirement income and reduce land costs. The organization also educates retiring farmers about succession planning possibilities that can open the door for younger farmers.

The organization provides new farmers with training and support, and is involved in farmland preservation.

Rogue in 2017 co-authored a study that found up to two-thirds of Oregon farmland is expected to change hands in the next 20 years as farmers retire. While that might provide an opportunity for a first-generation operator to take over a farm, it also has to pencil out.

“We have been exploring helping to facilitate farmland and farm business transactions outside the family,” O’Neill said.

Informal network
In southwest Idaho, Norris is part of an informal network of farmers who help each other. On a referral from farmer Spencer McIntyre, Norris planted a field for Miguel Villafana, who works for an ag lender full-time and recently started a small farm in the Wilder-Homedale area.

Also on a referral, Villafana worked with crop consultant Tad Baker.

“I work with a few young farmers, some bigger than others,” Baker said. “They do a pretty good job for the most part, and they’re not afraid to ask questions. A lot of the younger guys are willing to try new things.”

He has helped young farmers decide what to grow — taking soil samples, for example — and make the best use of ever-changing pest- and weed-control chemistries.

“It’s expensive to get started, and the other problem is that we are getting so many big farmers taking up so much land — it is really hard to compete,” Baker said.

Some landowners are willing to work with small-scale farmers, including leasing land to them, he said. Another option for the small producer is to grow a crop on contract for a larger grower who leases the ground, as he saw fairly often when he worked in Washington state.

Starting out
Norris, whose father is a farmer, started out by leasing 27 acres. Now in his sixth year, he is looking to add to his current total of 235 acres.

“It has almost been a necessity to try and pick up new ground,” he said. “I have just tried to get my name out there to neighbors and other farmers over the years, and I have gradually picked up a few more acres each year.

“When I started farming, I thought in 5 to 10 years I would be established,” Norris said. “I am seeing now that it is going to be a long, slow progression.”

After college, Norris in 2012 returned to the family farm to fill in for his father’s longtime farmhand, who retired. “In the course of one year, I went from part-time to full-time, and then trying to lease my own ground.

“When I decided to go on my own, it was my responsibility to find my own ground,” he said.

His wife, Melissa, who does not come from an ag background, keeps the books and helps move equipment from one field to another when needed. They have three young children — who at 2, 3 and 5 aren’t old enough to help, but “they try to,” Norris said. “They get to go on tractor rides once in a while.”

McIntyre, 31, for the past seven years has brokered commodities, mainly forage. He grows seed on his Marsing-area farm of about 200 acres, which he aims to expand threefold in the next two years.

But land availability “has been the biggest struggle, finding ground to lease,” he said. Though he grew up in a well-known farming family, “doing business on my own, people are still hesitant because they have done business with Joe down the street for 40 years, and he is doing just a good enough job to keep it.”

McIntyre has solid financial footing. “The problem is not as much financial as it is finding land,” he said.

“It is now extremely difficult to find just farmground, because of all the development,”  Villafana, 28, said, adding that he views capital as another hurdle for young farmers.

This year, he found land to lease: 21 acres on which he grew pivot-irrigated corn. He and his wife, Camas, also bought 33 acres including the 1-acre homesite they have lived on since April, financing the purchase through a lender other than his employer, by policy.

They leased the 32 acres of irrigated farmland to another farmer, “but we will be farming it next year,” said Villafana, who grew up working on a large potato farm in eastern Idaho. “This is really good farmground.”

A grain crop is likely for 2020, “but down the road, the dream is to grow potatoes for local processors, and sugar beets,” he said.

What to grow
Figuring out what to grow can be daunting even for an experienced farmer, McIntyre said.

“When no one else has tried it, you get nervous,” he said. “Or it’s different than the neighbor’s” crops.

Brody Miller, who coordinates the Idaho Farm Bureau Young Farmers and Ranchers program, said land availability recently has been part of larger discussions about how newer producers can operate in an environment of continued low commodity prices.

Veterans on county Farm Bureau boards and YF&R committees can help newer producers with what to grow and how, and with operational viability, for example.

“Does it make sense financially to travel 50 miles to go irrigate?” Miller said. “Participants are very savvy, and very in touch with technology and best practices. At the small scale, you’ve got to be as efficient as possible.”

In addition to crop consultants, sources of advice include accountants and financial planners who specialize in farming, and small business development centers at community and four-year colleges around the region.

Complex decisions
Purdue University agricultural economist Michael Gunderson said that while capital constraints and asset-acquisition challenges are substantial, they aren’t unique to production agriculture and “are not as large as people would like to think.”

“As they get started, renting is an option — not just land but renting equipment, using used equipment, and partnering with others long-term on equipment,” he said.

Nevertheless, “farmer decision-making is more complex than it was a generation or two ago,” Gunderson said. “Today, our most successful farms are complex enough that they require CEO-type thinking.”

The Idaho Farm Bureau’s Miller said YF&R participation is consistently strong and is not subject to a headcount maximum. New and experienced producers thus stay connected and keep learning about starting, maintaining and growing ag operations.

O’Neill said Rogue Farm Corps, which operates in four areas of Oregon, in the past seven years went from serving a handful of students to offering 30 to 40 internships and apprenticeships annually on 15 to 20 farms. Over the same period, many other new-farmer training programs have also started around the U.S., through nonprofits and land-grant universities and their extension services.

Rogue mentors include older producers who are retiring and first-generation operators who want to pass along the knowledge experienced producers gave them, he said.

Norris said networking with producers and others in the industry is still the key.

“I absolutely would not be here if I weren’t willing to do that,” he said.


Small nursery a big job for couple

Thirty years ago, Spencer and Connie Davis opened Dirty Thumb Nursery on State Highway 6 outside Chehalis, Wash.

“We had been in Orting with two partners,” Connie explains, “but it didn’t produce enough income for two families. Since I was from Lewis County, we found property here and started the nursery.”

When the Davises purchased the property, it was just buildings and fields.

“We had two greenhouses,” Spencer says. “Only one was heated, and that was by a wood stove.”

“Spencer was so confident and determined,” Connie recalls. “I was the scaredy cat. He wasn’t afraid of anything. I knew nothing about plants.”

“It was always the two of us and family,” Connie says. “We raised our daughter here. Every member of our family has been involved, and now we’re into the second and third generation of some of our client families.”

Everything hasn’t always come up roses.

“In the windstorm of 1992-93, we lost a couple greenhouses,” Connie recalls. “Then in the flood of 2007, we lost five greenhouses.”

They just got back on our feet a couple of years ago, she says.

Could they build what they have if they were starting now?

“No way,” Connie asserts. “This was farmland. There are way too many permits required now.”

They consider themselves to be a “mom-and-pop” operation but produce much more than the typical small nursery.

“We have tree lots, a florist shop, gift shop, perennials, shrubs, vegetables, hanging baskets, 500 roses and annuals. That’s not typical,” she says.

Spencer adds, “People can go into every aspect of the business and see it.”

They do all of their transplants and grow all their own product, Connie explains. “We do purchase the trees and shrubs, but all our plants are hand-watered or sprinkled. We’re strictly low-tech.”

They’re open year ’round, and seven days a week April through July or August.

The Davises are full-time, and they hire two part-time seasonal workers.

“I love working with my husband,” Connie says. “He just never stops.”

“We’re thinking of retirement sometime in the next four years,” says Spencer, who will be 70 next year.

He laughs and adds that he’s “looking forward to the golden years.”

He smiles, and says, “An eight-hour day, maybe five days a week, sounds pretty good.”