About River Vista Farms
River Vista Farms, located in Colusa, California is a family farm. We are not a corporation with the resources and staff to assign small amounts of responsibilities to several people. The only thing that allows us to remain a family farm is our ability to find, hire, and retain talented employees who possess the specialized knowledge and skills our operation demands.
Our farming operation consists of 4,000 acres spread out over 3 counties in California, on which we grow a number of crops that each demand highly specialized knowledge to grow successfully.
Crops We Grow
I am a fourth generation farmer. My great grandfather, Woodford Allen Yerxa, was one of the very first farmers in California to plant plum trees and dry the fruit into prunes that could be easily shipped. He helped to start Sunsweet Growers, now in its 94th year as a grower-owned cooperative that provides healthy and nutritious foods to the world. Today, I remain a member of Sunsweet and proudly produce the same high-quality crops our customers demand.
My grandfather, Max Yerxa, also devoted his life to farming at a less favorable time in history. Max lost all of his farming earnings and investments during the Great Depression, and was lucky enough to get a job at the bank that foreclosed on his farmland. He worked at the bank for many years to earn the money he needed to return to a career in farming but he was only able to purchase a very small farm before he passed away.
My father, Charles T. Yerxa served in the Navy during WWII and hoped, if he survived the war, to do something besides farm after seeing the tremendous hardships that his family had to overcome. As luck would have it, after WWII the United States was extremely motivated to help young farmers and determined to increase food production because demand for farm products was skyrocketing. With much encouragement, my father started farming with his meager earnings from the Navy. He purchased a used John Deere tractor and leased some land to plant his first crop. At first he did everything. He worked long hours, took financial risks and was able to increase his farming operation to about 2,000 acres.
I started out working for my father while I was in school. After college my Dad asked me if I would like to start farming with him and I accepted. I worked for him for 15 years before I was able to buy him out. Over time, I have worked hard, found talented employees to help me, and together, we have doubled the size of our operation to 4,000 acres. I must reiterate that I could not have done this alone. I am fortunate to have a very good team of talented, hardworking, dedicated people. I attribute a large part of my success to my ability to attract and retain top talent in this field. While other farms may only retain top talent for a few years before the employee leaves in search of larger challenges or more pay, many of my employees choose to invest their entire careers with me; some of these individuals were employed by my father and remain with me to this day, a span of six decades of hard work and a diverse mix of crops and challenges.