Your name and the name of your farm

Art & Sue Schultheis
Son, Kyle & wife Stacie Schultheis – children Bria & Colin
Daughter, Kelsey & husband Kevin Oswalt
Diamond-S Farms

Location of your farm

Colton, WA 12 miles south of Pullman in southeastern Washington State, an area known as the Palouse Country.

History of your farm:

I am 5th generation on our farm. My great-great grandfather homesteaded here in 1874. I came home to farm with my parents, Carroll & Edna Mae in 1983. My parents retired in 1995 and we have been farming on our own since then. We are hoping to eventually be able to bring a 6th generation to our farm. My dad started experimenting with direct seeding in 1977. We started slowly and continued to expand our direct-seeded acres over the years as our confidence grew that we could produce high yielding crops with fewer trips over the fields.

Why do you think direct seeing is important to the future of agriculture?

For too many years, tillage caused horrific erosion on the steep hills of the Palouse. By direct seeding, we are leaving as much crop residue on the soil surface as possible to protect our fragile soils from water & wind erosion. The higher the yield of crops we raise, the more residues are created, which increases our organic matter content of our soils. With proper care of our land, we can pass on to our children, soils that are in better shape than when we started farming. As the world population increases, we are going to be asked to provide more food & fiber. There is never going to be more land, so we must improve that land that we farm.

Why are you involved with Shepherd’s Grain?

I was asked to join Shepherd's Grain 4 years ago. I jumped at the chance to join this progressive organization. This has helped our farm be more vertically integrated, by being an extra step closer to the final product. Our unique pricing system allows us to be a more sustainable farm. As input prices for our crops increase, the producer needs to have more of a say in what our products we produce are worth. By having a transparent pricing system, consumers can be assured that the products they are purchasing are sustaining a family farm operation.

Why do you think it is important to develop relationships between the grower and Shepherd’s Grain customers?

Today's consumer is more in tune with their eating habits and where their food comes from. By being a member of Shepherd's Grain, I can meet the customers who purchase our flour and explain what it takes to get their food from our fields to their tables. This is a great way to get our message out as to how their food is produced, where it comes from, and allows us as producers to see what they produce with our flour once it is in their hands.