The Camp family farm began during a very historic time in American history. In 1916 America experienced a war-time shortage of cotton, as the southeast cotton industry had been devastated by the boll weevil, and the substitution of Egyptian cotton had been cut off by a submarine blockade. Because of this shortage, the USDA sent W.B. Camp to California to succeed where previous attempts had failed. He was asked to bring Cotton production to the west, because the country needed cotton for the war effort to provide uniforms, canvas, fabric covering military aircraft wings and other supplies.
Arriving in 1916 W.B. established his headquarters, and by 1917 he was conducting experiments on plots from Arvin to Fresno. His various experiments became so numerous that he couldn’t get around to them all in his Model T Ford. By 1921, Camp settled on a short-staple variety of cotton that was being used successfully in Mexico. 55,000 acres of California farmland were planted in cotton that year thanks to the efforts of W.B. Camp. In 1925, he helped write the California one-variety cotton act. His work with government agricultural committees, various farming organizations, and water boards, made Camp the leading authority on cotton growth in California and all of the west.
In 1936 Camp started his own farm, establishing his headquarters on a 40-acre plot of land east of Shafter. From that location Camp continued to experiment with cotton production. Along with cotton, Camp began growing the California Long White potato, which was to become an important Kern county crop.
Each generation of the Camp family have continued to be pioneers in crop management, leaders in state and national agricultural issues, and advocates for local, state, and federal water projects. Success of the industry and support for the farmers of the central valley have always been a vital part of the Camp philosophy, beginning with W.B., through his son Don, and now in the third generation of leadership with Edwin. A look at their individual Bio’s will confirm how connected they are to the industry.
Today, D.M. Camp grows a variety of crops in the Kern county area. These crops include: Almonds, Table Grapes, Wine Grapes, Clementine Tangerines, Gourmet Potatoes, Carrots, Garlic, Barley, and Sweet Potatoes. Each crop has its own history, its own story, and the Camps are proud of the partnerships they have developed with top food distributors, supplying quality products for market.