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.
About Rancho Esquon
Rancho Esquon Inc. (REI) is a 9,000-acre full functioning rice and almond farm. All of the rice grown at REI is dried and stored at its onsite drying/storage facility. The facility can dry and store approx. 600,000 cwt per year.
The 770 acres of almond trees planted on the property in 2006, 2007 are continuing to grow and will start to provide income for the Ranch in 2010.
911+ acres of Rancho Esquon are dedicated to wetlands habitat. The wildlife habitat at the Ranch is home to 165 different species of birds.
Bird species that appear at Rancho Esquon throughout the year:
The REI Hatchery program salvages mallard, wood duck, teal and Canada goose eggs from farm land before the farmers’ tractors prepare the soil for planting and plowing the land. The egg salvage operation reduces the impact on local wildlife. Approximately 10% of eggs hatched in the wild survive, while our salvage program increased hatching to 82%.
Salvaged eggs come from surrounding communities, concerned farmers, local residents and conservationists alike. Salvaged eggs are taken to the REI Egg Hatchery.
The salvage operation includes collection of eggs, cleaning and disinfecting the eggs, determining the stage of development by candling and incubation and growth of ducklings in brooder pens until they are ready for release at approximately 5 weeks old. These ducklings are distributed throughout California.
Rancho Esquon Inc. is home to 96 Wood Duck Boxes designed to create a safe nesting area for the waterfowl. In 2007, 817 wood duck eggs were counted and 451 were hatched in the wild at REI.
REI invites youth from the surrounding communities to use its resources for educational purposes. The Community Youth Center of Concord (CYC) and the California Waterfowl Association (CWA) frequently bring youth to the Ranch to educate them on wildlife, agriculture and environmental awareness.
REI and CYC have teamed up to bring inner city youth organizations to the Ranch. While at REI the youth enjoy fishing, swimming, educational games, hiking, bird watching and identification and many other outdoor activities not normally available to them.