History

History

Our company traces its roots back to 1937, when Albert and Frances Lundberg moved to California from Nebraska. The Sacramento Valley was the perfect setting for Albert and Frances Lundberg to pass on his legacy of respect for the land to his four sons. Albert had seen the ravages of the Dustbowl that resulted from poor soil management and short-sighted farming techniques. After moving the family to Northern California, he impressed upon us the need to care for the soil. We went on to pioneer Organic rice-growing in America.

In the 1960's, Eldon, Wendell, Harlan and Homer Lundberg saw the need to sell the rice grown in such a different fashion directly to the public, rather than co-mingle it with rice grown by conventional methods. This gave consumers a choice in the rice they purchased, and began the Lundberg Family Farms® brand, which has become synonymous with quality, great tasting rice products grown In Harmony with Nature.

For over 75 years Lundberg Family Farms has been using methods of farming that care for the soil, wildlife, air and water . This special concern for the environment is equaled only by concern for product quality. We hope that you will enjoy our wholesome and flavorful products. Your purchases support a way of farming that enhances the environment and provides the highest quality brown rice and brown rice products, from our family to yours.

Eldon Lundberg

Eldon Lundberg, who passed away in June 2010 at age 82, was the eldest of the four brothers who, in 1973, founded Lundberg Family Farms, today the nation’s leading producer of organic rice and rice products.

A native of Phelps County, Nebraska, Eldon Lundberg was born June 20, 1928 to Albert and Frances Lundberg. In 1937, the Lundbergs moved west, settling in the small rice-farming town of Richvale in the Sacramento Valley. Raised on the family rice farm, Eldon began farming in the late 1940s, even as he attended Chico State College. After two years of college, Eldon interrupted his studies to enter the U.S. Army, attending Army Intelligence School and later serving in the Army Intelligence Corps in Okinawa, Japan.

In 1953, Eldon married Ruth Wendell, a farm girl from his native Nebraska, and upon his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army, the Lundbergs returned to Richvale and to a life on the rice farm, where their three children were born: Jennifer, in 1957; Grant, in 1963; and Julianne, born the following year.

An avid private pilot since 1958, Eldon Lundberg was an avid member of the California and International Flying Farmers, taking to the skies at every opportunity.

In 1973, the four Lundberg brothers together founded Lundberg Family Farms, with Eldon serving as president of the fledgling family business. Over the next 25 years, Eldon and his brothers were rice industry innovators, developing new varieties, introducing new rice products, and innovating the concept of organic rice farming, which they honed into a science and a market-leading brand bearing the family name. Eldon retired from day-to-day management of the business in 1999, beginning the transition to the third generation of the Lundberg family of rice farmers.

Throughout his life in Richvale, Eldon was an active participant in community and industry activities. He served on the board of directors of the Butte County Rice Growers Association and was a longtime member of the U.S. Rice Council. He served on the Butte County Probation Board and was a longtime member of the Oroville Exchange Club. He was also a member of the Richvale Evangelical Free Church.

Wendell Lundberg

Wendell J. Lundberg was born August 17, 1930 in Holdridge, Nebraska, the second of four boys born to Albert and Frances Lundberg. In 1937, Wendell and brothers Eldon, Homer and Harlan moved with their parent to Richvale, California.

After graduating from Biggs High School in 1948, Wendell attended UC Davis, where he completed a two-year course in agronomy. At Davis he was one of the founding members of the Cal-Aggie Flying Farmers Club, learning to fly at age 19 and igniting a passion for aviation that persists to this day. In 1950, Wendell transferred to California State University, Chico, where he earned a degree in education.

After graduation, Wendell traveled to Australia to manage a rice experiment in Darwin, returning to Richvale in 1955 to farm rice with his father and brothers. This began a lifelong love of world travel that took Wendell to Africa, Europe, and South America, among other destinations.

Wendell met Carolyn Osborn in 1968 and they married three years later, eventually producing three children: Joe, Jessica and Alysicia.

In 1969, Wendell and his three brothers built a small rice mill in Richvale and started milling the rice they grew on their farm. They also launched a catfish hatchery, which Wendell managed.

In 1974, Wendell joined ten other local businessmen to found TriCounties Bank, which eventually grew to 62 branches in 23 California counties. Wendell served as a director of the bank until his retirement from the Board in 2007; he currently serves as a Director Emeritus.

In addition to swimming and biking, Wendell is an experienced aviator, logging thousands of hours at the controls. In recent years, Wendell has gradually phased out of day-to-day operations at Lundberg Family Farms, ceding that responsibility to the family’s third generation of rice farmers. Long active in various rice industry and community organizations, he continues to be an outspoken advocate of sustainable agriculture and an avid supporter of numerous local organizations and charitable causes.

Harlan Lundberg

Harlan Lundberg who passed away in August 2011 at the age of 77, was the third of the four Lundberg brothers. He was born September 20, 1933 to Albert and Frances Lundberg in Phelps County, Nebraska. At the age of four, Harlan moved with his family to Richvale, California, home of Lundberg Family Farms.

After graduating from Yuba College, Harlan attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo until he was drafted into the US Army in 1954. Upon completing his service, Harlan returned to Richvale to start Lundberg Family Farms with his brothers Eldon, Wendell and Homer.

Harlan and his wife, Carolyn, were married for more than 50 years. In addition to their three sons, Mark, Bryce, and Eric, they have been foster parents to dozens of children and dorm parents to hundreds.

For over 50 years, Harlan was instrumental in the development of new farming techniques, including Lundberg’s pioneering use of organic and eco-friendly farming practices. His interest in growing new rice varieties led to the development of Wehani Rice, Black Japonica, and Arborio Rice in the Lundberg nursery, and it was Harlan who convinced his brothers to produce rice cakes and other rice-based products. Today, the family business produces over 15 varieties of rice and dozens of unique products. The four brothers enjoy a close relationship which allowed each to pursue their own particular passion for farming.

Harlan was long engaged in industry and community activities, having served on numerous rice industry boards, dabbling in local politics, and supporting a wide variety of community and church-related programs and events.

Homer Lundberg

Homer Lundberg is the youngest of the four brothers who together are the second generation of Lundberg family rice farmers. Born in 1935 in Holdrege, Nebraska, Homer and his family -- parents Albert and Frances, and brothers Eldon, Wendell and Harlan -- moved to Richvale, California, in 1937, where the family began farming rice.

A 1953 graduate of Biggs High School, he attended Yuba College in nearby Marysville and California State University, Fresno, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education. After a stint in the U.S. Air Force (and later serving in the Air Force Reserve), Homer returned to Richvale in 1959 to join his father and brothers in the family rice farming business. In 1961, Homer married Carol Van Dyke, a third-generation California rice farmer from Pleasant Grove. Homer and Carol have two children, Ingrid and Kent, and three grandchildren.

Homer has long been active in the rice industry, serving eight years on the board of the Butte County Rice Growers Association, and 17 years on the California Rice Research Foundation board. In 1969, Homer and his three brothers started milling their own organic brown rice and selling it directly to the public, launching the company that would eventually become Lundberg Family Farms®. Homer served as the company’s Treasurer until he assumed the title of chairman as his older brothers reduced their day-to-day involvement in company operations. Homer stepped down as chairman in 2006, completing the transition of the business to the third generation of the family.

A champion of water resources stewardship, Homer helped found the Western Canal Water District in 1985. During Homer’s 22-year tenure on the board, this non-profit organization enabled local farmers to gain control of a critical farming resource while continuously improving the system’s efficiency and reducing its environmental footprint. He also served on the boards of the Butte Basin Water Users Association, the Association of California Water Agencies, and the California Farm Water Coalition.

Homer’s interest in sustainable farming include development of organic weed control techniques and various mechanical and agronomic systems to give the rice plant a competitive advantage over the weeds. Homer has spearheaded the movement to extend sustainable practices throughout the rice industry.

Homer’s support of his local community includes serving on the board of the Butte County Fair for over 20 years, and active membership in the Richvale Evangelical Free Church and the Richvale Boosters Club. An avid cyclist, he is often seen pedaling his bike around the county, averaging about 10 miles a day to stay in shape and enjoy the area’s natural beauty.