Christopher Ranch, the nation’s largest grower, packer, and shipper of California heirloom garlic for the fresh market, has announced it will increase minimum wage to $15 per hour for all employees by 2018.
Recently, California moved to increase the state-wide minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2022. However, Christopher Ranch intends to meet those expectations in 2018 with an increase to $13 per hour in 2017 and then to $15 per hour by July 2018, making them one of the only businesses in the U.S. to make that commitment.
“Our commitment to corporate social responsibility is a cornerstone for our company, and we want to be an example not only for California-based companies, but for agribusiness as a whole,” said Ken Christopher, third-generation farmer and Vice President at Christopher Ranch. “We believe that investing in people is one of the best things we can do to support our employees and their families – when our employees thrive, so does our business.”
With 800 full-time, year-round employees and more than 1,000 employees seasonally, Christopher Ranch is one of the largest employers in South Santa Clara County in California. The company supports local community outreach and has been able to sponsor a Head Start Preschool and donate acreage to the school district for the building of a new high school – all of which was made possible from the community’s support of this local, family business.
Christopher Ranch seeks to set a tone within the industry that values people and community first. While crop expansion, upkeep, and environment are important, the company stands firm in its belief that without people, their product wouldn’t make it onto family tables in the first place.
“The reward we see, both personally and in our own business, is what fuels our commitment to these types of initiatives,” added Christopher. “We’re thankful for the time and effort that our employees spend every day to ensure that our garlic is of the highest quality, and hope that these and other efforts help us demonstrate our gratitude.”