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Agricultural Heritage Club Honors Pioneers in Business Over 100 Years


The California Agricultural Heritage Club, established in 1948, recognizes the perseverance of the agriculture industry and the pioneers who made it possible. The mission of the club is to honor families, businesses, and special interests that have worked in agriculture for over 100 years. These businesses have withstood many challenges, maintaining viability in a rapidly changing market. Each organization honored has contributed to California being a leader in food production and agriculture. Farm Credit West was honored to serve as a sponsor for this year’s induction ceremony and breakfast held on July 18th during the California State Fair. Inducted to the Ag Heritage Club in 2016 for 100 years of service to California’s agriculture communities, our Association remains committed to preserving the legacy of our rural communities.

At the 2019 ceremonial breakfast, long-time Farm Credit West member Thornhill Companies was recognized for over 125 years of continuous operation.  Established on California’s Central Coast in 1871, the Miller Family’s Thornhill operations have grown and thrived for five generations. Today, they farm wine grapes, lemons, avocados, blueberries and strawberries.  The Miller Family Wine Company owns acclaimed national wine brands including J. Wilkes, Ballard Lane, Barrel Burner and Smashberry.

Pictured receiving the award are Marshall Miller, his wife Amy and their children Elenora and Ernest, along with California Department of Food and Agriculture Undersecretary Jenny Moffitt, and California State Fair Board of Directors Rina DiMare (chair) and Rex Hime. Not pictured are Marshall’s brother, Nicholas Miller, who is a member of Farm Credit West’s Local Advisory Committee, and their father Stephen Miller.

Thornhill Companies joins an esteemed group of agricultural pioneers including 15 other Farm Credit West customers inducted between 1981 and 2018 that have served the industry for over 100 years and will continue serving for years to come.