Maria “Gabriela” Cruz is the third of four daughters born to Jose´ Cruz, a third-generation grain farmer in Elvas, Portugal. When Gabriela was young, a neighbor asked her father who would take over his farm because he had no boys. “One of my girls will,” he said. And that “one” was Gabriela.
“I like the daily life of a farmer,” Gabriela said. “I was educated by my parents that one must take care of its heritage.”
Gabriela has a degree in agriculture engineering and became a farmer on her family’s 100 year old farm 20 years ago.
“I’ve been managing the family business for a while,” she said. “I’m the fourth-generation. I studied abroad, and then decided to come back to the farm. For the first three years I farmed with my father.”
Today, Gabriela is the chief operator of her father’s farm, near the border of Spain. She grows durum wheat, soft wheat, sorghum, barley, rye, oats, peas and corn on the 800 hectare (1976 acre) farm. The Cruz farm also raises livestock cattle and grows dry-land forage.
Gabriela has been using DEKALB seed for five years. “DEKALB offers solutions to many of the problems farmers have, like insect and weed control,” she said. “DEKALB provides a cost reduction and productivity increase on my farm. It allows me to continue with conservation agriculture practices such as no-till and integrated pest management.”
Gabriela believes DEKALB’s value will increase in her region as new varieties continue fitting local needs of farmers. She is eager to see the new DEKALB products that come to market.
To Gabriela, DEKALB means quality seed and germplasm. Monsanto and farmers around the world come together to celebrate the DEKALB 100 year anniversary. To learn more about the DEKALB legacy and to hear more from farmers, visit www.DEKALB.com/100.