A beginning farmer's dream has turned into a family operation thanks to support from American AgCredit.
Ortega Berry Farms grew from modest beginnings. Edward and Carlos Ortega’s parents, Alfredo and Josefina, first came to the United States from Mexico and eventually arrived in Watsonville, California, working as sharecroppers in the strawberry fields. Here their father soon advanced to ranch manager, overseeing a mid-sized berry operation.
Edward Ortega attended school in Los Angeles and earned a degree in Engineering, but his career in the Silicon Valley tech industry left him looking for a different challenge.
When a small property northeast of Watsonville became available, he jumped at the chance for a new career. With start-up money borrowed from his parents, Edward acquired the land and ventured into farming strawberries and raspberries. Almost immediately, with Alfredo and Josefina’s invaluable support and supervision, the whole family became involved and a partnership was formed, making Ortega Berry Farms a reality.
Edward and Carlos received their first bank loan from American AgCredit early on, and through the years, American AgCredit has been there for them—including financing the purchase of the property they first farmed some 20 years earlier. Today, Ortega Berry Farms is a diversified and integrated operation of several hundred acres of strawberries from farming to sales.