Rancho Esquon was originally part of a land grant given to Samuel Neal in 1859. At that time the ranch was called Esquon Rancho and consisted of 23,193 acres commencing at Clark Rd. to Old Highway 99E and parallel to Butte Creek. Neal primarily raised cattle, horses and sheep on this land. Very few grains were grown in this area at that time. The name Esquon originated from a tribe of Native Americans who lived along Butte Creek near what is known as Hell Town.
In 1918 E.L. Adams purchased Esquon Rancho and it became known as Adams Ranch. Aside from raising cattle, hogs and sheep, Mr. Adams began growing rice, becoming one of the first producers of rice in California. Mr. Adams’ rice operation began with a small field and over the years grew to over 2,000 acres of planted rice Many call him the “Father of the Rice Industry of California”.
In 1990 the ranch was purchased by Ken Hofmann and the name was changed to Rancho Esquon. Mr. Hofmann, who has a love for wildlife, began the development of the current 900+ acres of wildlife habitat. Over the years Rancho Esquon has planted more than 20,000 willow, cottonwood and oak trees. Ponds and channels have been constructed and during the fall of the year one is able to observe over 173 bird species including shorebirds, an abundance of migratory waterfowl, resident and migratory songbirds, and birds of prey.
Since 2004, Rancho Esquon has been host to an exciting outdoor education opportunity for local grade school students. Teachers are offered a rare chance to bring classes on a field trip to a working ranch and an extraordinary restored wetland habitat. Over 4,000 students have experienced hands-on learning activities in the wetlands, and have visited Rancho Esquon’s egg salvage facility. For more information about how to reserve a field trip, please contact Rancho Esquon at (530) 891-8455.
In the United States, there are four major migratory flyways. The Pacific Flyway is an ncredible avian highway in the sky – a major north-south route of travel for migratory birds in America. The route of the flyway stretches from the Arctic and continues south to the tip of South America. Millions of birds travel this ancient route in the fall and spring of every year.
The Great Sacramento Valley is one of the most important wintering and stop-over areas for migrating waterfowl, shorebirds, songbirds and raptors following food sources, heading to breeding grounds, or travelling to overwintering sites.
The wetland and riparian habitats at Rancho Esquon provide a critical link of habitat corridors in the Sacramento Valley. Wildlife friendly agricultural practices help provide the food sources high in carbohydrates and protein that migratory and resident birds require.
Rancho Esquon is managed to assist the increase of suitable habitat essential to over 300 species of birds traveling along the Pacific Flyway.
Rancho Esquon is a 9,000 acre ranch located in Butte County, California, near the town of Durham. It currently consists of 4,300 acres of medium grain rice, 800 acres of almonds, 2,000 acres of cattle grazing, and 900 acres of wetland habitat. Storage and housing make up the balance of acreage.
The Ranch has 48 deep water wells and water rights from Butte Creek for its water supply. All of the rice grown on the ranch is dried in our on-site drying/storage facility. Rancho Esquon also offers commercial drying for off-site growers. Our drying facility can dry and store approx. 600,000 cwt per year.