- Author: Jeffrey P Mitchell
Al was born in 1917 in Bakersfield, Calif. As a young boy, he learned, as he says, “That you have to walk the furrow to find out what the ground is like,” and early on he realized that “there was a better way to manage the soil” than was being done.
In the early 1950s, he made the precursors of his patented Shredder Bedder to help potato farmers who needed a way to have cotton roots dislodged and unearthed prior to planting potatoes.
In the late 1950s he had perfected the Shredded Bedder and the potential benefits of this machine for cotton stalk and soil management were quickly shown.
Al's company, Interstate Manufacturing, then went on to build 175 machines that were used throughout the southern San Joaquin Valley and even back at Auburn University in Alabama.
With Lyle Carter, a USDA ARS scientist at the Shafter, Calif., research facility, Al recognized quite early on the importance of trying to leave beds in the same place, and thereby effectively perform zone production.
In 1967, Al responded to a challenge by taking his machine down to Brawley, Calif., where it was compared to standard cotton stalk management approaches and it proved successful. This test subsequently helped alter CDFA's rule for pink bollworm management by acknowledging that a power-driven shredder performed successfully for postharvest cotton management.
Al has met and overcome many challenges in his life as a result of his vision, intellect and innovation.
“It has been a battle,” he says, “since he put his first two pieces of iron together.”
He developed systems that would save, again in his words, "oil, toil, and soil.”
Al has been fighting the battle to develop improved tillage management systems that most of us have only recently begun, for over six decades.
CASI is extremely proud to count Al Ruozi within our ranks and we greatly appreciate his dedication and outstanding accomplishments in the field of conservation tillage.
Congratulations, Al, on your retirement!