Our History

The San Diego County Farm Bureau (SDCFB) is a non-profit membership organization founded in 1914 to promote and protect agriculture. The San Diego County Farm Bureau was one of the earliest farm bureaus organized in the state. The movement in the United States being about two years old at that time. The first formal meeting was held on Feb 20, 1914 at the Spreckels Theater in San Diego.  The meeting consisted of several interesting “lantern slide lectures” and a highly valuable and instructive lecture on the dairy cow using an excellent specimen sent in by Mr. Dupre of Lakeside.” (Source:  minutes of first SDCFB meeting by Sec. Pro Tem H. A Weinland)  Judge Andrews of Spring Valley was elected as the first president of the San Diego Farm Bureau at this meeting. Membership was $1.00 per farm family.

In every decade San Diego Farmers have faced the same issues.
  • Weather
  • Market Prices
  • Rising Costs
  • Government Regulation
  • Land Use
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Pests
  • Labor

Timeline

1914 to

1919

San Diego County Population at the beginning of the decade61,665

1914 – Congress creates Cooperative Extension Service – A county Farm Bureau representing 20% of the farmers in the county had to be operating before a farm advisor could be appointed for the county.

1914 – First official Farm Bureau meeting on February 20, at Spreckles Theater in San Diego.

1914 – First San Diego County Farm Bureau Fair

1915 – Cost of farm land ~ $150 per acre

1916 – “Auto-Trucks” are beginning to be used to bring crops to market on the “Concrete Highway”

1919 – State Farm Bureau Organized

*1892 First San Diego County Avocado tree was planted in Escondido.

1920 to

1929

San Diego County Population at the begriming of the 1920 – 112,248

The San Diego County Crop reports done by the Ag. Commissioner go back to the mid 1920’s. The Report from 1927 shows the most valuable crops at the time. There is no mention in this report of livestock.

  1. Lemons    2.Tomatoes   3. Celery   4. Grapes   5. Alfalfa Hay

1920 – A hen from San Diego County has laid the most eggs in one year for the state of CA.

1923 – Lake Hodges recently completed, making 15,000 acres eligible to water.

1926 – State Farm Bureau expresses concern for future availability of water for irrigation

1927 – First agricultural classes offered at Grossmont High.

1930 to

1939

San Diego County Population 1930206,659

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1938

  1. Lemons    2.Eggs   3. Dairy Products   4. Valencia Oranges   5. Beef Cattle

1930 – A Farm Bureau “Citrus Growers Field Day” includes a stop at the Wohlford ranch where forty year old lemon trees were observed to be “growing both sweet and sour stock” on “one of the finest pieces of soil in any of our citrus growing districts”

1930’sFarm Flashes noon show on KGB radio for the “Agricultural People” of San Diego County bringing information from the Farm Bureau, University of CA, and the USDA

1938 – First Annual Farm Bureau Day attended by over 200 ranchers and agricultural leaders at Balboa Park House of Hospitality.

1939 – Calavo reports 100 times more Avocados harvested last year than in 1924. The 1939 crop expected to be 19,000,000 pounds. San Diego County is becoming “famous” for avocados.

1940 to

1949

San Diego County Population in 1940 – 289,348

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) 1948

  1. Milk & Cream    2.Eggs   3. Avocado   4. Beef   5. Lemons

1941 – San Diego prepares for war with the fomation of the San Diego County Agriculture Defense Board as the Federal Government calls upon farmers to increase production.

1943 – Average American consumes 16 lbs. of butter per year.

1944 – Silver Anniversary California Farm Bureau – Theme “Producing Food for War and Peace” .

1946 – First County Fair in 5 years (post WWII).

1947 – San Diego County Water Authority joins the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California in late 1946 to gain a connection to the Colorado River with water arriving locally in November 1947 to the new San Vincente Reservoir.

1948 – Farm Home Department demonstrations on how to prepare meals during the fat and sugar shortage.

1950 to

1959

San Diego County Population in 1950 – 556,808

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1959

  1. Tomatoes    2.Eggs   3. Milk   4. Beef   5. Avocados

1950 – Farm Bureau Camp in the Laguna Mountains (6 cabins and large mess hall), available for members at 50 cents per night.

1953 – Every state in the Union now has Farm Bureau and is the only general farmers’ organization in the world.

1954 – First ever infestation of Medfly in San Diego County

1955 – Ramona is the “Turkey Capital of the Southland” with over 60 growers.

1956 – Largest tomato crop ever raised in San Diego County valued at $15,000,000 on 3,000 acres of land.

1959 – Since 1940 the output per farm worker has increased by 80% due to advances in technology.

1960 to

1969

San Diego County Population in 1960 – 1,033,011

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1969

  1. Tomatoes    2.Eggs   3. Milk   4. Avocados   5. Cattle

1960 – The State Water Project transports water from Northern California rivers to urban residents and farmers throughout Southern California.

1963 – First San Diego County Farmer of the Year is Bevan Walker

1967 – Farm Bureau office moves from the San Diego Chamber of Commerce building to its current facility in Escondido on April 17, 1967.

1968 – Farm Bureau backs 7% minimal oil content for avocados.

1969 – 200th anniversary of San Diego

1970 to

1979

San Diego County Population in 1970 – 1,357,854

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1978

  1. Nursery Products    2.Eggs   3. Tomatoes   4. Avocados   5. Milk

1970- Farm Employers Labor Service (FELS) created to provide farm employers with labor-relations advice.

1971 – The Navel Orange is 100 years old!

1973 – Flowers make up 70% of the air cargo shipped from Lindberg Field ( 50 tons per day)

1974 – The Avocado is San Diego County’s “official” fruit.

1976 – FARM-PAC (California Farm Bureau Federation – Political Action Committee) begins operation.

1977 – California Dept of Food & Agriculture adopts regulations which make it possible to form a “Certified Farmers Market”

1980 to

1989

San Diego County Population in 1980 – 1,861,846

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1989

  1. Indoor Plants    2. Avocados   3. Ornamental Trees & Shrubs   4. Eggs   5. Bedding Plants & Turf

1980 – Widespread crop damage due to winter rains (the heaviest in 50 years) with 26″ recorded in Escondido.

1981 – The first Certified Farmers’ Market in San Diego County.

1988-San Diego County Farm Bureau computer now connected via modem to the CFBF offices

1988– Five Certified Farmers’ Markets in the county, Escondido, Vista( 2 times a week), Pacific Beach, and Del Mar.

1989 – Farm Bureau celebrates it 75th Anniversary

1990 to

1999

San Diego County Population in 1990 – 2,498,016

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1989

  1. Indoor Flowering & Foliage Plans   2. Ornamental Trees & Shrubs   3. Avocados   4. Bedding Plants   5. Cut Flowers

1991 – Entered 5th year of drought with agricultural losses in California of at least $1 billion.

1993 – Heavy flooding produces damages in excess of $5 Million to San Diego crops.

1993 – Delta water basin work comes to a halt due to the delta smelt.

1994 – San Diego Ag in the Classroom is formed

1997 – First Annual San Diego County Farm Bureau Golf Tournament is held.

1998 – Prop. B defeated with leadership from the Farm Bureau

2000 to

2009

San Diego County Population in 2000 – 2,813,833

Top Farm Products (by value of product sold) in 1989

  1. Indoor Flowering & Foliage Plans   2. Ornamental Trees & Shrubs   3. Bedding Plants   4. Avocados   5. Tomatoes

2000 – 1st San Diego County Farm Bureau Scholarships awarded

2001 – San Diego Agricultural Energy Co-Op formed

2002 – SDCFB launches web site www.sdfarmbureau.org

2004 – San Diego County Farm Bureau takes a leading role in defeating Prop A

2007 – Wildfires burn over 3,000 acres of productive farmland in San Diego County.

2008 – Farm Bureau forms runoff monitoring group to comply with Waiver No. 4 for Farm Bureau members.

2008 – Farm Bureau opens it’s first Farmers Market in City Heights.