On Tuesday, Dec. 26, Lincoln Forry, a Colusa walnut grower, called it quits in California.

It wasn’t an easy decision. His family’s farming legacy goes back 114 years. Forry’s 650-acre walnut orchard is healthy. He has loyal employees and top-of-the-line equipment.

Unfortunately, Forry’s operation can no longer thrive in California. The reality is, Golden State’s regulatory environment is suffocating family-owned and operated farms.

It’s a story that is becoming all too common: the vanishing small California farmer.

These days, you need the tools that only corporate agriculture can afford — a staff of lawyers, a public relations team, clerks to meet the demands of regulatory paperwork, and lobbyists in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. — to make a go of it.

With the odds stacked against him in California, Forry believed it was vital to move to a state where a future in farming was plausible for his children and grandchildren.

Trading Walnut Growing for Cattle Ranching

Four years ago, Lincoln and his wife, Jennifer, went on road trip to Texas to look at purchasing a pecan orchard in consideration of expanding the business. They liked what they saw, and more importantly liked what they heard from other farmers in the state.

“We all agreed, that we need to go,” Forry said. “I didn’t feel that there wouldn’t be any (future) here for my kids. So, I got them a new piece of dirt.”

Wanting the dirt to be viable, he sold the family’s California ranch and bought a cattle ranch in Paris, Texas.

You can read the entire story of Forry’s struggles to comply with California regulations and why his family is moving to Texas at farmingfables.com.

 

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