|Pleasant Grove, CA
Farmer: Ed Sills
Ed’s father, Tom Sills began farming in Pleasant Grove in 1946. In 1976 Ed returned from college to work full time on the family farm. Ed’s wife, Wynette, came to the farm in 1988 after working as a farm advisor in Sacramento county.
Facing frustration with conventional practices and markets, Ed started organic farming in 1985 with 45 acres of popcorn. They had been spending a lot of money on chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and fuel to produce commodities that were often oversupplied. Low prices required high yields to make any profit at all, and usually some extraneous factor such as adverse weather appeared and kept yields lower than expected.
In addition, pesticides were not working as hoped and herbicide resistance developed quickly. Weed control would then require another, often more expensive herbicide, and even then control wasn’t adequate.
The Sills looked ahead and and decided that their profitability and survival required a different production strategy. The goals were to reduce cost without sacrificing yields, increase the market price, and improve the soil.
Ten years later, in 1996, Pleasant Grove Farm converted the last of its acres to organic production and has been commited to organic ever since.
After 64 years of farming in Pleasant Grove and at the age of 93, Tom Sills passed away in February 2010 leaving the lasting legacy of a successful farm to his family, and hopefully many generations to come!
Pleasant Grove Farms is a second generation, privately owned family farm located north of Sacramento in Pleasant Grove, California. Owner Ed Sills manages the farm which consists of 3,000 acres of certified organic land. We do not grow any non-organic crops!
In our seed cleaning and bagging facility (the Mill) we prepare many of our field crops for sale into the food, feed and seed markets. In addition, we provide cleaning services for some of our neighboring farmers.
Pleasant Grove Farms performs on-farm research aimed at improving yields and reducing inputs (and costs) associated with growing organic field crops.
The farm is run by a mix of full time and seasonal employees. In the height of the growing season there are about 17 full time employees.