Nahum Ornelas of Ornelas Harvesting, Inc., is proud of his business and his contribution to farms in Tattnall County.
Ornelas, a Farm Labor Contractor (FLC), provides transportation and housing to hundreds of hard workers during harvesting seasons. In April 2022, he brought in 300 H-2A temporary agricultural workers to this area.
“It is a lot safer to bring in these workers now than it was in the 90s,” Ornelas said. “I have to provide transportation and housing to these workers. All of the houses are regularly inspected by the Georgia Department of Labor. It used to be that workers had to provide their own transportation and housing. Now, these workers are safe and taken care of.”
Ornelas, 56, came to the United States from Mexico illegally when he was 16-years old. He is now proud to say that he is a citizen of the United States, along with his wife, Juliana, 52.
“It was very tough to come from Mexico to the United States. I was in the trunk of a car and did not see the United States until I was in Florida.”
Ornelas began working for farms in 1991 when he was 18 years old, working at Bland Farms for 15 years until 2006. He also worked for Ronnie Collins and other farms before starting his business. He now works for Shuman Farms, Dry Branch Farms, and others in the area.
“I enjoy farming. I have worked hard… really hard. It is long hours, but there are so many rewards for working so hard,” Ornelas said.
Ornelas also has his own small farm, where he grows vegetables. His workers are diverse in their help with any crop, any season.
“All of these workers are like my sons… I always say that I have five children plus 300 more.”
Nahum and Juliana have three sons and two daughters. Their oldest daughter, Jamie, 29, helps at the business with bookkeeping. The youngest, Beverly, 25, lives in South Carolina with her husband. Their sons are Maxi, 34, of Reidsville; Yulius, 21, of New Castle, England; and Alex Ornelas, 32, of Reidsville.
Yulius is the youngest and is studying business administration at Northumbria University in England, where he has lived for three years. Alex and his wife, Nancy, have three children: Giovanni, Gavinn, and Gianni. He helps his dad with the family business and will, hopefully, take full responsibility at a later date.
“I am excited for the future of the family business. Hopefully, it brings nothing but good things,” Alex said. “Everybody who works with me is part of the family. We always are looking out for their best interests. Work isn’t always easy, but it’s in our hands to care for them. We appreciate their hard work very much.”
Alex is proud of the work done at Ornelas Harvesting. He has been with his dad in the fields ever since he could walk.
“Ever since I can remember, my dad always told me, ‘if you want something, you have to work for it,’ and that stayed with me and pushed me to be great at what I do,” Alex said.
The Ornelas son and father want their business to be the best out there. Professionalism is their top priority.
“I want my business to be different than any other like it,” Ornelas said. “I painted my buses white, because I wanted to have a professional look to the public. I did not want the public to see my buses and them look like the regular yellow buses. I want to be represented well.”