As far back as anyone can remember, our family has always had a passion for learning and sharing their knowledge of farming and all that it entails – from animal husbandry to botany to nutrition to farm economics and business law, and the list goes on.
Our grand-parents and great grand-parents on the Burroughs side of the family were organic farmers at the same time that they were helping to modernize the dairy industry. Back then, everybody was organic, and grass-based agriculture was the norm. The Burroughs family reinvented and restructured their dairy operations on several occasions, as milk testing and certification, machinery, transportation, and pasteurization all changed the ways in which milk was produced and delivered in America. Through it all, they successfully managed to build their dairy business and raise families that carried on their farming traditions.
Our father, Ward Burroughs, learned a great deal from his upbringing in this entrepreneurial farming family, and he also had a love of horses and the land. He went off to college at Cal Poly / San Luis Obispo where he met our mother, Rosie, in a horse training class. Mom’s parents came from New Mexico with Spanish Basque, Native American, Mexican, and French roots. Her great grandfather had been a rancher in the Rio Grande region, and she acquired her love of the land and horses as well as her interest in agriculture from this family history. She was the first woman to start a Future Farmers of America chapter before going on to college where she met our dad.
One week after their college graduation, our parents were married. Soon they joined in a family partnership with Ward’s parents and his brother, Earnest. Vista Livestock Company was founded in 1979 as a diversified agribusiness with beef, dairy and crop farming. Almonds were added to the mix in 1988.
Dad and Mom felt blessed with their farming and ranching lifestyle and wanted to share that with a family of their own. Mom also became increasingly interested in health and nutrition as she was raising four children. At the same time, she and dad were generously sharing their knowledge and talents with the greater community. Mom founded and directed a school for students with dyslexia while she was raising us kids. She and dad also decided to carry on a teaching tradition that was adopted by Ward’s father in 1952 – the hosting and education of farming interns from around the world through International Farmers Aid Association (IFAA) we continue to host internships programs at our farms.
Meanwhile, we four kids were all growing up and following our own interests related to farming. We continued to learn about grass-based livestock management and organic farming methods and brought these practices back to our parents’ farm. With their experience in family farm business management, mom and dad helped each of us by forming partnerships with them to begin our own farm operations. We feel blessed to be independent yet collaborating with each other and our parents to create something bigger than we could have created on our own. Now, with families of our own, we all share a love of the land and we all use sustainable and organic farming practices to keep it healthy for our children and grandchildren. Learn more about our farms.