Your name and the name of your farm

Derek & Susan Schafer

Location of your farm

Ritzville, Washington

History of your farm:

We are the fifth generation to farm on the land that my great-great grandfather homesteaded in 1889.  Each generation has done their part to add to and enhance the farm operation, including the progression of conservation farming practices.  I am grateful to be able to farm with my father and my son who is interested in farming in the future as well.  All three generations can see the benefits of farming at the highest level of conservation using a direct seed system.

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

Direct Seeding is the best way to protect our land resource. Protecting the soil from wind and water erosion is not optional if we want our land to be productive for another hundred years.

Trends in food consumption come and go, but the desire for consumers to know where their food comes from will continue.  Combine that with the desire to protect our most valuable resource, the land, and Shepherd’s Grain is a great fit for our farm.

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

We work hard to produce a safe and healthy product for consumers to use.  It is important for our customers to be aware of how the process happens and that their food is grown in a sustainable way.  The number of people involved in production agriculture continues to decline and having a connection to our customers is a great way to educate the public about what we do.  We in agriculture need to tell our story and Shepherd’s Grain is a perfect way to do that.