Ben Higgins is the Director of Agricultural Operations for the Hearst Corporation, where he oversees two properties on California’s Central Coast – the 83,000-acre Hearst Ranch in San Simeon and the 73,000-acre Jack Ranch in Cholame. Hearst is the largest agricultural landowner on the Central Coast and the largest single-source producer of grass-fed beef in the nation, selling over 1,000 head of grass-fed-and-finished animals to Whole Foods Market annually. 

Prior to joining Hearst in 2013, Higgins served as Executive Vice President of the California Cattlemen’s Association, appointed by President George W. Bush as State Director of USDA Rural Development in California, and was Director of Government Affairs for Mainstream Energy Corp. He also has a significant history of community involvement, via local economic development organizations, agricultural trade organizations, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, local 4-H/FFA clubs and more. 

Higgins resides in San Simeon with his wife Rochelle and daughters Audrey and Mary. 

He was asked to speak today about the Sebastian’s building in Old San Simeon. The building was originally constructed in 1873. It is actually a building constructed from 2 separate buildings that were previously our at San Simeon Point. He told us about the plans to bring the building up to code while keeping the original layout. Once the permits are issued, the first thing they will do is raise the building and put in a new foundation. Right now the plan is to turn it back into a market likely with some “grab and go” food options. The tasting room will remain where it is, in the old Hearst warehouse. Plans are in place to install a kitchen and provide lunch and dinner options.