Efird Ag Enterprises: A passion for farming
For five generations, the Efird family has been farming in Fresno County. Settling near Conejo in the 1890s, the family farmed dry-land grain and ranched cattle. Over the years, the operation has transitioned to a variety of diversified permanent crops including almonds, wine grapes, walnuts, raisins and prunes.
After graduating from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1999, Matthew Efird returned to the family farm and realized there was a need by local farmers to have their almond orchards and raisin vineyards mechanically harvested.
As the commercial harvesting operation grew, the decision was made to separate the harvesting division from the farming division. In 2004, Efird Ag Enterprises Inc. (Efird Ag) was established. The company expanded its services to include prune, wine grape and pistachio harvesting, as well as wine grape and almond transportation.
“Efird Ag Enterprises provides not only the equipment and employees necessary for harvest, but also the experience necessary to complete the job correctly and on time,” said Matthew, owner and president of the company.
These services not only allowed growth for Efird Ag, but also brought an additional level of efficiency to the farming operation. The company was able to add to the farm’s diversification and gain complete control of harvest through spreading the cost of equipment and employees.
“We found it important to utilize a full-time labor force that was skilled and consistent,” said Matthew. “By adding orchard shredding to the services we provide, we were able to complete the farming/harvesting cycle and maximize the value of our full time employees”.
In 2005, Efird Ag purchased a Flory Pow’r Trak Shredder and began custom brush shredding. In 2009, two additional units were purchased to satisfy the growing need and demand for orchard shredding. Efird Ag currently services over 350 growers from Merced to Bakersfield, totaling over 50,000 acres annually. A fourth unit was ordered for the fall of 2014.
“Integrity and quality are the foundation of our business; our customers deserve nothing less,” said Matthew. “Meeting their high expectations has earned their business, and we appreciate their loyalty and commitment in return.”
Matthew, who serves on Fresno County Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, made the decision to have Efird Ag become a Friends of the Family Farm sponsor as a means to continue his support of Farm Bureau and agricultural education.
“Our local Farm Bureaus provide an opportunity for our voice to be heard; a voice that is becoming more distant in our state’s political climate,” said Matthew. “The more we can educate, not only the politicians, but the general public about issues facing our industry, the more successful we will be in securing a future for our family farms.”
So what is next for Efird Ag? Matthew sees the expansion of leases, land development and ranch management as the future for Efird Ag Enterprises.
“I have enjoyed building relationships with each of my growers up and down the Central Valley through the various services we provide, but I enjoy farming the most,” said Matthew. “Farming has always been my passion.”
Friends of the Family Farm Spotlight Profile: Ag Today, Jan. 14
By: Katie Rodgers