Ventura County's Support-Local Program

Hug A Farmer #3 – National Agriculture Day

A day to recognize and celebrate the contributions made by American agriculture. And we give special thanks to our Ventura County agriculture industry.


Celebrating all those that feed and clothe the world

March 25, 2014 is the 41st annual National Agriculture Day. It’s a day to recognize and celebrate the abundance and contributions provided by American agriculture. And we want to give special thanks to our Ventura County agriculture industry. The theme for this year’s National Ag Day is Agriculture: 365 Sunrises and 7 Billion Mouths to Feed. The National Ag Day program encourages every American to:

  • Understand how food and fiber products are produced
  • Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products
  • Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy
  • Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food and fiber industry.
2014 National Agriculture Day poster

2014 National Agriculture Day poster

We all know that food and fiber doesn’t just arrive at the grocery or clothing store. Or magically appear on our dinner table or in our closet. There’s an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption, as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. We rely on agriculture for the very necessities of life: from beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world. And it’s important to remember that American agriculture accomplishes all this very effectively. Consider this:

  • Each American farmer feeds about 144 people.
  • Agriculture is America’s #1 export.
  • New technology means farmers are more environmentally friendly than ever before.

That’s really what this day is all about – recognizing the role of agriculture and celebrating it.

Ventura County’s long, dynamic history of agriculture

Phil McGrath of McGrath Family Farms and Chris Sayer of Petty Ranch

Phil McGrath of McGrath Family Farms
and Chris Sayer of Petty Ranch

Ventura County has been attracting farmers, ranchers and farm-related workers since the 1800s. Even with the oil boom in the 1920s, the construction of military bases in the 1940s, and the growth of freeways, subdivisions and technological industries, agriculture has continued to be the number one employer in our county. Many of our founding farm families still remain today with the current generations carrying on their families’ legacy and relationship to the earth. Here are some fun facts about agriculture and agriculture-related businesses from the Farm Bureau of Ventura County:

  • Local ag accounts for about 4.4% of overall economic activity in Ventura County,
  • Generates $2.1 billion in revenue here annually,
  • And contributes $76 million in indirect business taxes annually.
  • One in ten county residents relies to some degree on income derived from farming.
Modern day farmer Johnny Fonteyn fromRio Gozo Farms

Johnny Fonteyn of Rio Gozo Farms

The remarkable fact that there remains an acre of irrigated farmland in Ventura County for every acre of city — despite the county’s proximity to a sprawling metropolis of nearly 18 million people — means that farming plays a critical role in maintaining the quality of life that Ventura County residents cherish. That means everyone here has a stake in making sure agriculture survives and thrives.

Paying respect to our good stewards of the land

As we celebrate National Ag Day, let us remember not only where our food and fiber comes from but also some of the names of those pioneers that helped build our community and feed us:

James Meikles Sharp, Rudolph E. Haase Battista Vanoni ,W.J. Friend, Nathan W. Blanchard, Robert P. Strathern, J. Christian Borchard, W.D. Hobson, O.J. Goodenough, Dominick McGrath, Lloyd Butler, George Briggs, George Crane, E.A. Duval, William Hughes, John Mahan, Benjamin Warring, Peter Donlon, John Cummings, Charles Barnard, Louis Pfelier, John Pinkerton, Juan Camarillo, William Shiells, Samuel Edwards, Michael Clark, Frank Jauregui and Jacob Maulhardt and so many more.

A few Ventura County ag pioneers: J. Christian Borchard, Peter Donlon and Dominick McGrath

A few of Ventura County’s agriculture pioneers:
J. Christian Borchard, Peter Donlon and Dominick McGrath

So we ask you to stop and take the time to thank a farmer and to make an effort to Eat Local !

Learn more about the history of farming in our county Visit the Ventura County Agriculture Museum

Address: 926 Railroad Avenue, Santa Paula, CA 93060
Phone: (805) 525-3100
Hours: 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Wednesday through Sunday
Admission: $5.00 Adults (18 years & older); $3.00 Seniors, Students & AAA members with ID; $1.00 Children (17-6 years old); Children 5 years old & younger are FREE
Image credits: Denise Dewire, West Cooke, Agriculture Council of America and Kat Merrick.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someonePrint this page

Learn more about author Kat Merrick

Kat Merrick

About the author

Kat Merrick made her mark in the apparel world as an innovative leader and founder of Surf Chick Inc. With over 25 years of extensive experience managing worldwide capacity apparel facilities, companies and product, her superior leadership skills, practiced in directing cross-functional global teams to design, brand, source develop and marketing, won her world-wide recognition and awards. She is considered an expert in the areas of trend studies, brand building and marketing. At 23 years old she opened her first successful retail business in Ventura County, Since then, Kat has owned and operated several very successful retail and wholesale operations and assisted numerous multi-category small businesses to achieve success. Highly respected by many local small business owners, growers, artists and locals, she has been tagged as "the Shop Local girl". Kat's extensive travels, strong business knowledge and desire to make a positive impact locally helped inspire her to create Totally Local VC. A Ventura County resident since 1978, single mother of two and long-standing advocate for support of local small business and all that is Ventura, founder and developer of Totally Local VC, Kat brings her passion for our community to all she does. Her writings, posts and blog reflect her love of family, friends and community and desire to help.


Related Articles

Show some love to our great sponsors

Mortgage Couch
Houseling's Tomatoes
Guardian Memorial
Ventura Rental Party Center
Ventura Meat Company
Ventura County Cattlemen's Association