WALLA WALLA -- A pact to preserve a tract of Walla Walla Valley farmland has been completed, a Seattle-based nonprofit group has announced.
In a release, Rebecca Sadinsky of PCC Farmland Trust said the deal will permanently preserve a 300-acre portion of the 3,000-acre Hudson Bay Farm for organic production. This will be done by the trust, in partnership with the Natural Resources Conservation Service Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program, purchasing the farmland protection easement from the farm owners, Tom and Ray Williams.
The Hudson Bay Farm is a third-generation family farm that grows certified organic wheat, alfalfa seed and hay, black beans, soybeans, grain corn, potatoes and onions. It also raises replacement heifers. About six years ago the Williams families began a concerted effort to transition the entire farm operation to organic production.
"We look at growing organic as an excellent investment in soil quality, crop quality and farm sustainability," said Ray Williams. "With the price of oil increasing over the long term, we see decreasing reliance on fertilizers and other petroleum-based products frequently used in agriculture as a smart business decision."
Sadinsky said that while the transition to organic certification has been costly, the Williams' commitment to quality has allowed them to build strong relationships with organic retailers such as Bob's Red Mill, Amy's Kitchen, Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, and Oregon's Cafe Yumm.
PCC Farmland Trust has now preserved nine farms totaling 865 acres, Sandisky said. Among those is another Walla Walla Valley farm, the 174-acre Bennington Place Farm, which was purchased by the trust in 2003.