The southeast region of Washington State stretches from the Washington-Idaho border to the outskirts of Wenatchee-Snoqualmie National Forest in the center of the state. It is the state’s warmest and driest region, and is largely dominated by large scale industrial agriculture. Our work in the Southeast has been primarily in and around Walla Walla, where we’ve had the opportunity to support the expansion of the organic farming movement locally, as well as successfully partner with the federal government’s farmland preservation program for the first time. As viticulture and production of speciality crops continue to expand in this area, sustainable and organic farming culture is becoming more popular in the region. In addition, this region is home to Washington State University, the leading (and only) land grant university in the nation offering a degree program in organic agriculture.
Southeastern Washington is not immune to development pressure on irreplaceable prime farmland, as the area becomes increasingly attractive as a tourism, academic, and telecommuter destination. Our strategy in this region is to partner with excellent local land trusts, including the Blue Mountain Land Trust, the Palouse Land Trust, and the Inland Northwest Land Trust, to support continued farmland preservation efforts.
Huesby Farms, (formerly referred to as “Bennington Place Farm”) preserved in 2003, was PCC Farmland Trust’s second conserved property. The farm’s 174 acres of rolling pastureland rest between the Oregon border and the Blue Mountains. Formerly operated as Thundering Hooves, a pasture finished meat business, Huesby Farms is now a small scale diversified farm.
PCC Farmland Trust, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program (FRPP) acquired an organic agricultural conservation easement on 300 acres of the Williams’ farm in June of 2011. The Williams Hudson Bay Farm is a third-generation family farm, and historically significant: the property was part of the Hudson Bay Trading Company’s farm during the mid-1800′s.