San Diego County Farm Bureau

Friend of Agriculture:
Kevin Grangetto

Kevin GrangettoKevin Grangetto at Grangetto's Farm & Garden Supply
Presented to an individual who is not a member of the farm community and has made significant contributions to the well-being of agriculture in San Diego County.

If the game of farming was played on an athletic field you would be certain to see a cheerleader running up and down the sidelines. When you look closer you would see that the cheerleader is Kevin Grangetto, and he hasn't picked sides. He'd be shouting encouragement to all players on the field. The spectators would hear from him too.

"We feel like somebody has to be out there letting people know about ag and the importance of it," Kevin recently said in response to a question about his cheerleading. He added, "For farmers there are so many things every day that can be a nail in the coffin: water rates, pest issues, foreign competition. It seems there's something on every corner that tries to knock you off balance. For me, having grown up in the business and seeing my father's involvement, spurred me to do what I can to support farmers."

The Grangetto family is a local farming institution and Kevin could just focus on his wholesale and retail farm and garden supply business. But he takes it another step. Actually several steps. He will personally engage anyone at any time on the topic of supporting local farmers.

With a constant smile and optimistic outlook, Kevin can be counted on to speak positively about local farming whether at one of his stores, at church with his family, at the Rotary Club, or at a Farm Bureau function. "Whenever we see an opportunity to talk about ag and the importance of it, we feel it's our soap box to get on and talk about it," Kevin has said in summing up his attitude about local farming.

San Diego County Farm Bureau

Service Award:
Janet Kister

janetsilvakisterJanet Silva Kister at Sunlet Nursery

Presented to a Farm Bureau member who has made an extraordinary contribution to or on behalf of the organization to the benefi t of all members.

Janet Silva Kister is known to be a tireless volunteer when it comes to supporting Farm Bureau and the organization's mission. She could be recognized for her long tenure as a San Diego County Farm Bureau board member or her nearly 20 years of service on the executive committee. Recognition could also come for her leadership of any one of a number of committees, most notably the Scholarship Committee that has raised and awarded more than $260,000 in scholarships during her tenure as chair. For the 2015 San Diego County Farm Bureau Service Award Janet is being honored specifi cally for the six years she served as a member of the California Farm Bureau Federation's board of directors.

"I love serving on our local Farm Bureau board, but serving on the state board gave me a new appreciation for the diversity of farming in our state and the individual challenges each farmer faces," Janet recently stated when asked about her service. She continued by saying, "My belief is that the strength of Farm Bureau lies at the county level. But I learned that combining the weight of 54 county Farm Bureaus makes for an extraordinary state organization."

Janet was elected in December 2007 to represent San Diego and Imperial Counties as the District 1 Director on the CFBF board of directors and served for six years. While on the board she traveled to Sacramento monthly and to Washington, DC annually to carry out her duties. Recognition of her financial skills led to her two-year appointment as the CFBF Finance Committee Chair, which placed her on the CFBF executive committee. That position entailed significant more responsibilities and two additional Sacramento meetings per month for finance committee and executive committee meetings.

San Diego Grown 365 Award:
Gary Petill

Gary Petill (left) at Suzie's Farm
Presented to an individual or firm that personifies the connection between locally produced farm products and the members of the San Diego County community.

Gary Petill is Director of Food and Nutrition Services at San Diego Unifi ed School District, and knows the importance of serving quality food. His department is responsible for serving over 25 million meals to 130,000 students in 226 educational facilities each year. It is an understatement to say that it would be easier for Petill to stick with standard operating procedures for feeding that many mouths. Instead, Petill has launched San Diego Unified to the forefront of a nationwide movement to feed students healthier food with more locally produced ingredients. "We want to support our local community. That's always on our mind. Supporting local farmers and ranchers. There's nothing more gratifying than being able to visit a farm close by, working with the farmers personally, and knowing where the food comes from," says Petill. Now, the district's food service trucks are wrapped with photos of San Diego County farmers.

Petill joined the district in 2002 and since then has championed and empowered his staff to pursue a new Farm to School program which has resulted in more school gardens, a Harvest of the Month program which highlights San Diego grown fruits and vegetables, and most recently linked the district with a statewide program called California Thursdays. Every Thursday, all meals served in the district are composed entirely of items produced in California. "We're educating children about local farms, sustainability, trying new fruits and vegetables and the health that goes along with that. We have kumquats and persimmons on our menu; it's amazing how many exotic fruits that kids are being introduced to that they've never seen before."

Tig Wohlford, 2015 Farmer of the Year

Quote from Farm Bureau Newsletter 1930
2015 Farmer of the Year Tig Wohlford
The Wohlford's are a remarkable family with historic farming roots. Lake Wohlford was named after Alvin W. Wohlford who began farming in Escondido in 1891 when he purchased 150 acres of citrus known as Eureka Ranch. Alvin helped to stabilize Escondido Mutual Water Company when it was suff ering financially, and later purchased the Bank of Escondido. Escondido Mutual Water Company was founded in 1904 to improve the facilities that distributed water to the growing ag communities between the San Luis Rey River and Lake Hodges. Alvin was instrumental in developing a system of selling shares in Escondido Mutual Water Company which was a great help to local farmers. Alvin W. Wohlford was the grandfather of 2015 Farmer of the Year, Burnet F. (Tig) Wohlford.

Alvin W's son and Tig Wohlford's father, Burnet C. Wohlford, or B.C for short, was President of the Board of the Escondido Mutual Water company for 50 years, and purchased four additional agricultural properties, focusing on citrus production which included Hill Avenue (35 acre citrus) Spieth & Wohlford (40 acre citrus and avocado) Todd Place (40 acre alfalfa and oats) and Canyon Ranch (190 acres). Tig's grandparents, Alvin and Sally Burnet Wohlford, lived for many years in a home on Hill Avenue. B.C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford, Tig's parents, built and lived in their home on East Valley Parkway which became the center of operations for the Wohlford Ranches for many years.

In his early years Tig went to Orange Glen Elementary and spent one year at Escondido High School before attending the Webb School in Claremont, CA for two years. Tig fi nished his senior year at Escondido High School where he graduated in 1946. Every summer during high school Tig worked on the family citrus ranches. He also picked lemons and oranges every day after school during the war because there was such a shortage of labor. During this time, Tig also worked as a surveyor for Escondido Mutual Water Company.

Tig looked at going to school at San Diego State but instead decided to attend a new conservative business school in Claremont named Claremont Men's College. Tig was the very fi rst graduating class at CMC in 1950. While attending college, the war in Korea began in 1948 and Tig joined the National Guard 40th division so that he could fi nish college and earn a degree in Business Administration.

During college summers Tig continued to work as a surveyor for the Escondido Mutual Water Company surveying the company's new water line locations. He also worked for Escondido Cement Products making concrete pipe that was used in all of the groves in the area for irrigation. He also worked on the family ranches in Escondido and a 500 acre grapefruit and alfalfa parcel in Yuma that the Bank of Escondido had to re-possess. He traveled back and forth from Claremont and Escondido during the winter months to help out with smudging during freezes.

In 1950 the Department of the Army called up the National Guard 40th and 45th Division to begin training at Camp Cook in Santa Maria, California. After a year of training Tig was shipped out to northern Japan where he trained for a year in Sendai, Japan. He was transferred to North Korea on the 38th parallel, where he served in the Army. The first night he arrived there it was 29 degrees below zero. Tig was there for only 3 months working supply when his 4 year enlistment with the National Guard ended in 1952.

When he returned home Tig moved to Santa Monica to work for Douglas Aircraft until he was able to use the GI Bill to attend Cal Poly Pomona to study agriculture. He only studied agriculture one year at Pomona before his father, B.C., had a serious injury in 1953 and Tig had to return to Escondido to assist in the operations of the family business. In 1955, after working on the family ranches for two years Tig bought his own 40 acre parcel where he planted oranges, lemons, grapefruit and avocados that he called Rancho Lemora. In 1960 he bought the Hinrichs property, which was planted with 10 acres of avocados. In 1966 he purchased Rancho Oro Verde, a 50 acre parcel on the rim of San Pasqual Valley, where he planted avocados. Lastly, in 1975 he planted 25 acres of avocados on the undeveloped Canyon Ranch. He remained busy managing the citrus and avocados on these properties for the following 35 years. Today Tig is semi-retired but is still involved in the major farming operation decisions and enjoys keeping current on the issues of agriculture. Tig's son, Burnet Wohlford, is on the San Diego County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.

During his career of managing and developing citrus and avocado groves Tig was active with many agricultural associations:

  • President of the Escondido Lemon Association 1962-1964
  • Board Member of Corona College Heights Packing House 1965-1966
  • California Lemon Administrative Committee Los Angeles 1968-1970
  • S Riverside-San Diego County Soil Conservation Board 1965-1970
  • S Escondido-San Diego County Soil Conservation Service Member 1970-1978
  • S Escondido High School Board of Trustees 1971-1975
  • S Associated Soil Conservation Service-San Diego County Representative 1979-1984
  • S US Disaster Relief Committee 1984-1986
  • S San Diego County Flood Control District Member 1980's
  • S City of Escondido General Plan Update Committee 1990's
The 2015 Farmer of the Year Nominating Committee agreed that Tig's involvement and work on behalf of agriculture throughout his lifetime has been to the betterment of agriculture as a whole in San Diego County. The Wohlford family's agricultural legacy is cemented in the groves of citrus and avocado that still thrive in Escondido, and in the pipes that Tig helped to build and the water the Wohlfords helped to secure for the farmers and residents of the region.