We are a small-scale, family-owned ranching operation in California specializing in the production of American Wagyu cattle and direct meat sales. We manage approximately 400 acres of rangeland in Valley Springs, about 90 miles east of San Francisco, and an additional 330 acres in Acampo for hay production.
Established in 1941, the Nakagawa family ranch in Acampo is the true product of the American Dream. An immigrant from Hiroshima, Japan, Yokichi Nakagawa first arrived to San Francisco in 1904 and was quickly lured to the vast, fertile agricultural fields of the Central Valley. However, land policies set in place at the time prevented Asian immigrants from owning land in the United States and thus Yokichi’s dream endured for the next 37 years. During this time, Yokichi became a prominent figure in the Japanese-American community, most notably for his passionate contribution in establishing the Buddhist Church of Lodi and his leadership role among other aspiring Japanese immigrant farmers.
December 5, 1941 marked the day that the Nakagawa deed was signed under the name of Yokichi’s U. S. born son, Percy, for a 425-acre piece of bottomland property along the Mokelumne River near Acampo. Yokichi’s dream had finally come to fruition, but little did he know that, two days later, the events at Pearl Harbor would quickly take away all that he had worked for.
His strong civic engagement would be a detriment, as FBI agents arrived at the ranch hoping to find a short-wave radio or anything that would implicate him as a Japanese spy. Despite having found no such evidence, Yokichi was arrested and sent to a detention facility in Santa Fe, New Mexico for further questioning.
Meanwhile, five months later, the rest of the Nakagawa family would see a similar fate. Executive Order 9066 forced all individuals of Japanese decent on the Pacific Coast to abandon their homes and relocate to internment camps throughout the United States. Most families lost everything, having only two hands to carry what they could and leaving behind their entire lives. The Nakagawa family was luckier than most. While others had to quickly sell their land, Yokichi had entrusted the family’s property to a friend during their internment. It was not until 1946 that the family was able to return to Acampo and restart their lives.
A majority of the ranch, unattended and unfarmed for the past four years, was a stark contrast to the home the family had left behind prior to the war. However, the family banded together, enduring backbreaking work to restore the ranch to a farmable condition. Finally, life had returned as rows of Tokay grapes and an assortment of squash rejuvenated the previously marred fields.
Unfortunately, tragedy would strike again in 1953 when Yokichi, Percy, and Percy’s father-in-law perished in a boating accident during a fishing trip to the Delta. With two generations of the family’s patriarch now gone, it was Yokichi’s daughter, Miyoko (or “Mickey”), who would take leadership for the next 52 years.
Through war, internment and tragedy, the Nakagawa family ranch has survived three generations of family ownership and is one of the few remaining Japanese American-owned agricultural operations in the United States. Today, Yokichi’s dream lives on in his grandson, Glenn, who along with his wife Keiko and daughter Nicole, manage the family’s farming ventures. Rows of grapes and squash have now been replaced with alfalfa and oat hay, and the operations have expanded to include American Wagyu cattle production in Valley Springs.
We are proud members of the following organizations and programs: