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.
The Farm So Far
The Stevens County Conservation District (SCCD) in partnership with Washington State University Extension are hard at work developing projects and hosting workshops for landowners. Last summer we held three events where landowners got some hands-on experience with soils analysis, permaculture design, plant and weed ID, livestock grazing management, and much more. The farm also hosted the Regional Land Judging Contest, and State FFA Forestry Contest for Washington State high school teams.
This year we worked with neighbors and partners to put in 14 acres of crop seeding rate trials, rotationally grazed 24 cow/calf pairs, and logged the forest to improve health. The Western SARE Grants Board and an international Silvopasture exchange group from Paraguay visited the farm for a tour as well. It’s been a slow start between red tape and funding, but we’re excited for the projects we’re working on this year including a silvopasture area, biosolid applications, pollinator habitat and more!
Youth in Agriculture
One of the great opportunities of this project is to provide a space for youth to get familiar with the operations of a worhlng farm and forest. Farm sustainability in our region is vital, and we need future leaders to support the science and innovation required to keep up in a changing, world. Exposing youth to the day-to-day operations and providing a space for them to explore natural resources will help to ensure that the small farm industry will be passed down to able hands. Events like the Forestry Contest and Tractor and Chainsaw Training Day were a great success in bringing youth education to the farm. As we build the farm, we look forward to expanding our events and opportunities for kids and teens and are looking to the community for ideas and groups to partner with. Please contact us with your ideas!
Events The farm hosts 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 on their website for reminders about events.
- Pollinator Habitat-Test plot of blooming vegetation in a fenced area around the wellhead
- Soil- Compost amendment application trial
- Crop- Fall cover crop seeding of pastures 1 and 2
- Cattle- Rotationally grazing 24 cow-calf pairs + bull
- Forest-Post logging improvements
- Silvopasture-Tree planting south 20 acres
- Soil Sampling- Forest, and fields 5 & 6
- Oct. 21st: Tractor and Chainsaw Training- Learn to drive a tractor and run a chainsaw
Funding There is no dedicated funding allocated to this farm yet. Funding for the work at the Vetter Farm comes from donations, research grants, and proceeds of the crops grown on-site.
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 and supply donations- we’re happy to utilize your extra stuff that’s taking up space!
- Your ideas! Let us know what practices you’re
interested in learning about and seeing on the farm;
we aim to develop projects that directly support the
needs of local landowners
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.