The Diamond S Ranch on the Roberts Ferry Road in Waterford, California has a rich history dating back to 1861. The road served the southern gold fields of the Mother Lode and the ferry across the Tuolumne River was on the main route between Stockton and Los Angeles. Five generations of the Sawyer family have farmed there to date. Wesley Sawyer was the third generation representative. His father registered the Diamond S brand in Stanislaus County the year Wes was born, and statewide in 1918. Beef cattle, barley, and walnuts were principal products of the ranch in its early years.
Wes attended the University of the Pacific, receiving a BA degree in 1930. He went back to the ranch and a partnership first with his father, and later with his son, a 1957 graduate of UCD. In 1937 registered Holsteins were first purchased, becoming a major enterprise in the following years.
Wes Sawyer gave generously of his time and talents to the broad agricultural community. Working through various groups he emphasized the milk aspects of agriculture, including education for both the producer and consumer as well as quality and food science aspects. He was active in Farm Bureau, Holstein Breeders' Association, Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Federal Land Bank Association, California Milk Producers, and Milk Council. He was a member of the State Board of Agriculture and was a sound and effective advocate of improved dairy and agricultural legislation in California. He was chairman of the Livestock Research Advisory Committee for the University of California at Davis.
Wes Sawyer was honored in his lifetime as one of the all-time great dairymen and agricultural leaders of California and the nation. By Presidential invitation, he contributed to the 1970 White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. Later that year he served as a member of an Agricultural Research Team sent to Yugoslavia and Spain by the Holstein-Friesian Association and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.
Among the honors he received recognizing his leadership service were: Stanislaus County "Livestock Man of the Year" in 1969; "California Livestock Man of the Year" in 1971; and Dairy Shrine "Guest of Honor" at the World Dairy Exposition in 1985.