Your name and your farm

Steve and Ann Swannack
Swannack Enterprises, Inc.

Location of your farm

Lamont, WA
Northeast corner of Whitman Co.

History of your farm

I am third generation to farm this ground and fourth generation Swannack to farm in Whitman Co.

My grandfathers were on opposite ends of the progressive spectrum. Grandpa Swannack was among the first in the community to try new farming practices and Grandpa Swift was one of the last. My father, Walter, was one of the early adopters of applying fertilizer, of reducing erosion by parking the plow and utilizing a chisel plow and adopting a three year rotation on this farm. I have inherited the Swannack itch to try new things, thus the move to direct seed on this ground that began about 25 years ago. The transition was complete 7 years ago.

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

Historic aerial photos of the land in this area give a startling account of the toll that soil erosion has taken on our land. Direct seeding is the only way available to us at this time to continue to farm this ground and be faithful to the stewardship God calls us to.

Why are you involved with Shepherd’s Grain?

I appreciate the stance that Shepherd's Grain takes on both stewardship of the resources and promoting our story through personal relationships with customers. Since I have been home farming I have sold much of the production of our beef and hog operations direct to individual customers and see Shepherd's Grain as a natural extension of the practice to my grain production.

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

Much of the consuming public has lost completely the connection with the land and producers of the food they consume. We do not live in a vacuum, neither the consuming public nor the farmer, and need to understand each other better in order to thrive in the future. The present isolation causes an us-or-them attitude that is detrimental to both segments. The relationship between Shepherd’s Grain growers and customers is a sound first step in breaking down this barrier.