In 1971, a small group of Japanese-American growers met near Fresno to discuss the mounting problems being faced by California agriculture. It was a turbulent time. The newly formed United Farm Workers labor union was increasing pressure on farms throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Growers were struggling daily with picketing, boycotts and changes to the state labor law. The group talked about the need to unify growers and to establish a rapid-response support network to protect property and insure grower rights. Within months more growers joined the discussion, a meeting was held and an organization was formed, taking its name from the term for second-generation Japanese-American or "Nisei" farmers.
Eventually, more growers joined the discussion, a meeting was held and the organization was formed, taking its name from the term for second-generation Japanese-American, or "Nisei" farmers.
As a "mutual protection society", the early Nisei Farmers League proved effective in defending the rights and property of its grower members. Membership swelled and soon the Nisei members were outnumbered by growers from many other nationalities. The violence and threats of the seventies eventually subsided but the idea of grower unification strengthened. The NFL quickly evolved into a sophisticated grower support organization committed to giving its membership a strong, informed voice in dealing with a growing array of issues. Today, from the fields of the San Joaquin Valley to the halls of government, the Nisei Farmers League is well-respected for its tireless commitment to serving the needs of its grower members and all of California agriculture.