Introducing the Vetter Farm: A Farming Demonstration, Research, and Community Facility in the Clayton Valley
Background Stevens County Conservation District (SCCD), Washington State University, and WSU Stevens County Extension developed a partnership to collaborate with the local community to establish a working-lands experimentation facility. The goal is to explore the area’s relevant agricultural and forest management practices and techniques in a manner that benefits the small farmer and landowners. Research and demonstrations include but are not limited to soil health, regenerative agriculture, forest health and resilience, agroforestry, cover cropping, integration of livestock in crops and forests, and reducing the need for pesticides and commercial fertilizers.
These projects will help promote small-scale sustainable agriculture to improve current crops’ yields and create trials for potential new crops for the local climate and soils.
History 5281 Hattery-Owens Road: In 2020 Connie (Klingenberg) Vetter gifted the 158-acre property to Washington State University with the vision of providing a space for applied research and demonstration for the betterment of northeast Washington’s family forest, farm, and ranch owners.
This southern Stevens County property was homesteaded by Martin W. Lee in the 1890s and purchased by the Klingenberg family in the 1940s. The property consists of a farmstead, about 40 acres of forest land, 100 acres of farmable ground, creek, and wildlife habitat. Gus and Mary Klingenberg, Connie Vetter’s grandparents, passed the farm down to her in 2005.
Events The farm will host an array of events such as workshops, demonstration tours, and presentations from both local industry figures and regional specialists. SCCD and WSU Extension hope to garner your input to provide citizens with hands-on community-based education and information. We know our best assets are our neighbors, and we look forward to working with you to make this a valuable tool for your farms’ needs. Call Stevens County Conservation District, at (509)684-7579 or sign up their our website for reminders about events.
July 30th 9-1 Open House and Farm Tour:
This event is free and open to the public. Open House demonstrations will include soil testing, pasture utilization, weed and grass ID, and a small forest management walk through. Come tour the farm, chat with the Weed Board, Voluntary Stewardship Program staff, and check out the Soil Health Stewards booth for some great information! We’ll have a free BBQ at noon (small farm supply donations are appreciated).
Farm tour starts at 9am and will showcase current projects on the farm including forage mix planting trials on a 15-acre plot, rotational grazing, timber harvest for fire and disease mitigation, and more.
Meet your new WSU Stevens County Extension Agricultural Extension Educator, Kathryn Hoogheem! The Ag educator is here to support producers, small and large alike, with practical and research-based information. Her mission with the extension office is to provide proactive training and reactive support to farmers, ranchers, growers, and dairies in Stevens County to help them grow and prosper.
Sep. 17th Fall Farm Forest and Field Day:
We’ll have a forestry tract and a field tract where we’ll have presentations from industry specialists regarding soils health, post fire management, forage species ID, and more! More information to come.
Funding There is no dedicated funding allocated to this farm yet. Funding for the work at the Vetter Farm will come from donations, research grants, and proceeds of the crops grown on-site. The start-up of the farm will be through cooperative sharecroppers doing custom farming.
We are in initial discussions with potential funding and partners:
• Washington State Soil Health Initiative
• USDA National Agroforestry Center
• Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE)
• Local donations
We need your help to develop this farm to meet the needs of local landowners and farmers. SCCD is looking for:
• Advisory members to help with planning and outreach for programs and projects
• Farm equipment owners interested in custom farming or sharecropping parts of the farm
• Livestock owners in need of additional forage and willing to demonstrate pasture management practices
The farm is located at 5281 Hattery-Owens Road in Deer Park, WA. For more information or to get on the outreach list regarding the Vetter Farm updates or SCCD events, please call (509)684-7579 or email email@example.com.