2024 40 Under Forty Winner: Nicholas Marchini

COO Farming
J. Marchini Farms
Le Grand, CA

Age: 38
Hometown: Le Grand, CA
Hobbies: Skiing, Traveling, Gardening, Football, Baseball, Coaching Little League baseball
Family/Community: Married, 5 children, Plainsburg Cemetery District Board chairman, Local water agency board, Italo lodge
Motto in life: Anything worth doing is worth doing right!

A fourth-generation farmer, Marchini started working for J. Marchini Farms at age 9 in 1994, hauling bell peppers from the field. He held a variety of positions throughout his youth, from water truck driver to harvest manager, until he went to college. Though he attended college on a football scholarship at San Jose State, he would come home every break to pick up his role as harvest manager until he graduated in 2008. After graduation, he was promoted to production manager, and he oversaw all row crops, in addition to all permanent crops. He continued to take on more of a leadership role and make most decisions on the farming side.

In 2014, he became the chief operating officer of farming for J. Marchini Farms. He manages the company’s growing operations in all regions, encompassing all of the fruit, nut and vegetable production. Yet even with this responsibility, he is known for not shying away from even the smallest of tasks or feeling exempt from doing any work on the farm. His vision of the future makes him innovative and efficient, and he is constantly analyzing trends to see what new items he can add to the program.

Q: How did you begin working in the produce industry?

After college, I joined the farm full time. I have had some of the best mentors to guide me along the way: my Nono, Joe Marchini; my Pompah, Ron Tesone; and my dad, Jeff Marchini. The things they taught me and the freedom they gave me allowed me to become the farmer I am today.

Q: What do you know now you wish you knew when you first started your career?

I wish I knew how to trust my instincts. As a young farmer/decision-maker, you second-guess everything, which you should. However, as you grow in your career, you know that instincts play a huge role.

Q: What is the one thing in your business you are most passionate about?

I am most passionate about being better tomorrow than I was today. Farming is a lifestyle, not just a job. It can become a grind at times, so you need to stay passionate about being better every day and not being trapped in the grind. Keep it fun, but focused.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of in your career?

I am most proud of being respected in the farming community based on my knowledge. Being a fourth-generation farmer with my name on the building, I wanted to stamp out my place in this industry, which I believe I have done. When your fellow farmers respect you based on your dedication, work ethic and knowledge, that means something to me. I am not respected because my last name is Marchini. It is because of the farmer that I am.

Q: What advice would you give someone new to the produce industry?

Be prepared to live it. Produce is a relationship industry. Being adaptable is key. There will be times it’s going to feel like a grind with long days, and lots of frustration. But, I promise you, it will all be worth it in the end.

Q: What do you see as a critical issue facing the industry in the next decade?

I think one of the key issues we are facing is competition with the global market. Due to regulations and the cost of doing business, it is becoming more difficult to compete with other countries. In addition, there are fewer generational farming operations because it takes more land, capital, and time than before to support an operation.