Van Vleck Ranch News

Van Vleck Family Receives Award from State for being in Business 150 years

Posted on May 03, 2016

River Valley Times, September 07, 2010

By Sheri Barile

River Valley Times Reporter - The Van Vleck Ranch, a Rancho Murieta icon, was among 44 inductees to the California Agricultural Heritage Club honored at a ceremony and brunch on July 30. The ranch was announced at the California Exposition and State Fair as an inductee in the category of 150 years of continuous operation.

There were just 11 California agricultural entities inducted in this category for 2010. Van Vleck Ranch reached the 150-year milestone in 2006.

Recognition is awarded to California farms, ranches, organizations and agribusinesses that have preserved an economic standard in the state with a minimum requirement of one entire century.

According to Stanley O. Van Vleck, president of Van Vleck Ranching and Resources, Inc., this kind of longevity is no ordinary feat.

“There are some 70,000 farmers in this state, and a very small percentage stay in business continuously and through the generations,” he said. “There are significant financial and economic challenges, and it can be difficult for multiple generations to stay committed to the land and the business.”

But dedication to purpose is a Van Vleck family legacy. Van Vleck’s great-great-grandfather, Amos, traveled 2,000 miles to California in a covered wagon in 1856, settling and establishing a ranch in the Camino area. The family migrated down to Sacramento County in 1917 and established the ranch that still thrives along Highway 16 in Rancho Murieta today.

Van Vleck said he felt extremely honored to by recognized, but stressed that the honor really belongs to his family members who came before him. “It was their blood, sweat and tears that got us to this point,” he said. “(Amos Van Vleck’s party) could have died trying to get here to a land they’d never seen before. Many other families did. They put their lives at risk, and we really owe a lot to them.”

The commitment that led to this ultimate achievement continued through the generations, and Van Vleck expressed his appreciation – not only for the award – but also for the gift of being able to do what he loves. “The risk comes with a lot of reward,” he said. “To be able to produce food and fiber is very rewarding when you love the land and love what you do. This award is really a reflection back to family members in the past that laid great groundwork. If they hadn’t, we wouldn’t have been able to stay in business.”

Since coming to Sacramento County, the Van Vleck family has done a great deal to pay it forward by benefiting the RM community and the greater Sacramento region. Philanthropic uses of their land are enjoyed by several organizations that train there including the Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3, Sacramento Metro Fire Department, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department and the military.

In addition, 20,000 Boy Scouts come through the ranch each year as part of their educational scouting experience. Sac Metro was also permitted to erect an emergency communications response antenna on the Van Vleck land to help protect RM.

Van Vleck sees the ranch’s relationship with RM as mutually beneficial. He cited the recycled wastewater that is pumped onto the land from RM Community Services District as an example. “It helps RM, and it helps us,” he said. “That irrigation has come to us in tough times and has saved crops that would have died,” he said. “It has helped us to stay in business.”

Reaching out to the community is something that Van Vleck said his father, Stanley L. Van Vleck, firmly instilled. The elder Van Vleck died in a helicopter crash in 2000. “There were some who were concerned about the development of RM, but my dad embraced it,” he said. “The partnerships we’ve built with the community are good for business." He added, "We have appreciated this community, and we want to stay here. My dad had a lot of pride in the family business, and I know he would be very happy about this award.”

Van Vleck Ranch is a 10,000–acre operation that produces hay and cattle and mines sand, gravel and clay. The ranch is also home to two paintball facilities and a recreational horseback riding operation.

Van Vleck added that the corporation is working on developing a multi-generational, 50-year plan to sustain the business and reach his goal of 200 years in California ranching. “We got to 150 years, which is quite an accomplishment,” Van Vleck said. “Now we’re looking at the next 50 years so we can make it to 200.”