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Severo Gutierrez has managed Culiacan’s lifeblood for 28 years

It’s difficult to be elected to anything for 28 consecutive years. However, Severo Gutierrez has managed to do just that, having been elected president of the regional water district every three years since 1990. He served on the water district board for two years before first being elected as president.SERG-FamilyIn the office of SERG Agricola, Severo Gutierrez, surrounded by his family, Roberto Gutierrez Jr. and Eduardo Gutierrez II and Eduardo Gutierrez III.

Despite being confined to a wheelchair, Gutierrez said, “I feel like a champ.” He must to be able to administer water use for 37,000 acres of farmland around Culiacan, which is Mexico’s premiere wintertime vegetable producing area.

The Produce News visited with Gutierrez and his family at SERG Agricola, which Gutierrez launched in 1958. The meeting also included Roberto Gutierrez Jr., Eduardo Gutierrez II and Eduardo Gutierrez III.

SERG is an acronym for founding brothers, Severo, Eduardo and Roberto Gutierrez.

The younger generations lightly, but very firmly, noted that the family and business patriarch’s actions made it clear for 28 years that he would do no favors for his heirs in his choices for water distribution.

To maximize water efficiency, Severo Gutierrez has been a stickler for proper maintenance of the canals and respective drains. This includes dredging sediment from the canals and assuring there are no leaks.

As a result of the good management, this water district has the lowest water cost in the country; about a quarter of the cost of other areas.

SERG Agricola produces 250 acres of pickles, slicing cucumbers and Bell peppers. It has 500 acres for expansion, according to Eduardo Gutierrez III.

The firm has had a contract with a major American pickle processor for 30 years and about 10 percent of SERG’s pickles are shipped to the fresh market.

SERG Agricola’s fresh produce has been marketed for the last three years by GreenPoint Produce LLC.

Octavio Gutierrez, a grower in Obregon, Sonora, who also owns GreenPoint, said the relationship has been positive and productive for both companies. He described SERG as “a very nice company, which has all the certifications.” These include certifications for Primus GFS food safety, social responsibility, ethical standards and CT-PAT.

Eduardo Gutierrez said the firm ships cucumbers from late December until May 1 and green Bell peppers from mid-December until late April.