Eric Maier and his wife, Pam, have been farming land in the Ritzville area for more than 30 years. Eric has had a love of farming since he was a boy and learned the trade from his grandfather. Now Eric's son, Zac, is home from getting his agronomy degree at Washington State University and will carry on the family business. Wroking beside each other, this father and son team grow soft white wheat, hard red spring wheat and hard red winter wheat.
Ben Barstow and his wife Janet represent more than three generations of farmers working the extreme hill country of the Palouse.
This husband and wife team grow soft white wheat which is milled into a low protein flour. This type of wheat is great for products which do not need to rise as much as bread. Soft white wheat flour is used to make things like cookies, cakes, pancakes, flat breads (pitas) and croissants. Soft white is also blended with other kinds of wheat to make all-purpose flour which many of us use in our own kitchens regularly.
Ben and Janet are farming the same land their ancestors did, and they work tirelessly to provide healthy grain products to consumers. Most of their wheat crop is exported to countries such as Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico and Taiwan. A small part of it, however, stays in the U.S. and feeds American families each day.
Since 1881, the Bodeau family has called Eastern Washington home and farm dirt has run through their veins every since! A true love of the land has kept this family growing strong for generations in Lincoln County.
The Bodeau Brothers Joint Venture grows mainly soft white wheat. Like the Barstows, this family's wheat finds it's home all across the globe. Soft white wheat is well suited for products such as cakes, pastries, cookies, crackers, pancakes, sponge cakes, snack foods, flat breads, and steamed breads. The Bodeau family grows a subclass of soft white wheat called club wheat. White club wheat has very weak gluten characteristics and is a perfect choice for specific products.
When the Bodeau family harvests their wheat each summer, they load their family grain trucks and haul the grain to on-farm storage or nearby commercial grain elevators. After the wheat is sold, it is transferred by truck to regional rail- or barge-loading facilities. Over 60% of Washington’s wheat exports ultimately travel by barge from ports along the 400-mile Snake-Columbia River System to Portland. About 36% of the wheat is transported by rail to coastal grain terminals. From these seaport terminals, grain is loaded onto ocean freighters and exported to nations around the world.
Brad Isaak, his older brother and cousin operate the same farm of their fathers and great grandfather in Grant County. Isaak Brothers Farm is one of the largest in Eastern Washington, and this family grows multiple crops including wheat, potatoes, hay, canola, sunflowers and much more!
This small business owns thousands of acres and employes a handful of local people. They are stewards of their land, utilizing nutrients and replacing them appropriately. This family uses irrigation on much of their operation, and they utilize new technologies to ensure they are preserving as many resources as possible when raising their crops.
This family is also extremely involved in supporting their local community. With many Isaak children in the school system, you can find these parents and grandparents volunteering their time each season of the year. Their hope is that by keeping their farm thriving, they will also help support their local communities well into the future.
From no-till practices to reducing chemical usage, wheat farmers in Washington state have been improving every bit of their operations to be better stewards of their lands. Washington's wheat country makes up millions of acres throughout the state, and farmers take seriously their job as stewards of this land. Washington wheat, unlike some of the other commodities grown in our state, is grown in an extremely diverse countryside. Wheat is grown in areas, like Kahlotus in Franklin County, that receive less than 10 inches of rain each year. Wheat is also grown in the world-famous Palouse region that receives more than 20 inches of rain annually. We also have irrigated and non-irrigated, or dryland, wheat. This makes wheat country one of the most diverse food production areas