By 1920, alfalfa was the principal crop in the Antelope Valley; by 1921, nearly 30,000 tons of alfalfa were produced annually. In the 1930s, agriculture took a hit due to the Depression and a drop in the water table, however farming alfalfa remained as one of the valley's major industries.
Fernando Milling, built in 1933, was an alfalfa meal mill. It was located next to the railroad tracks in Lancaster, where sections of this business still exist today. During the 1930s, Fernando Milling and Tropico Gold Mine were the largest employers in Lancaster and the greater Antelope Valley region.
In 1941, more than 100,000 tons of alfalfa were being produced with approximately sixty percent being used for dairy feed. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, alfalfa production was thriving as more efficient pumps recovered from a dropping water table. However, the industry began to decline due to hikes in energy costs and decreased acreage beginning in the early 1980s.
"Gurba, Norma H. Lancaster. Arcadia, 2005.
Photo courtesy of MOAH Collections"