As one of the most dynamic farms in the Klamath Basin, from time to time we get to share what we do with local schools. These field trips (some of them are literally out to fields) give us an opportunity share our love for farming with the community and expose young minds to agriculture.
On June 1st, we had another such opportunity, but this time it was a bit different. Instead of grade-schoolers, Professor Keith Duran brought his ARE 221 Agriculture Marketing class from Klamath Community College to learn more about what Gold Dust and Walker Farms do and what it takes to be successful in agri-business.
Their visit started at 8:30 in the morning at our Merrill shop, where John Walker and Bart Crawford met with the class. Though the conversation started out discussing what it takes to produce an organic crop, it quickly turned what it takes to actually run a farm. John talked about the amount of time and support it takes to ensure your employees have what they need to be able to be successful in their tasks. Adding to it, Mr Duran recommended his students to “Be a border collie, not a pit bull”, that leadership is more than hovering over your workers. Before our guests headed to Malin for the second part of the field trip, John left them with one more piece of advice. “Always remember one thing – it’s logic. It’s all logic,” he said, going on to explain that most of the problems, whether with the crops or equipment, can be figured out by stopping and thinking.
Upon arriving at Gold Dust’s Malin campus, the KCC students were given a tour of our potato processing plant by Walker Brothers employee and ARE 221 student John-Rian Watson. After the shed tour, they met with Bill Walker and Lexi Crawford in the conference room, where, along with a discussion about the potato markets, our CEO gave them more advice on how to succeed at Gold Dust and in agri-business. While recommending the students need to pay attention to detail and possess a desire to work, he stressed it was important for the students to finish their schooling. “A college education does matter, “ he said, pointing out that it shows they can follow-through with what they started and complete tasks.
Lexi also spent some time talking about the potato market and what it takes to provide excellent customer service, but when asked about her background, the conversation turned into what it takes to run a modern farm. Without a background in agriculture, the Albany-native’s family business was engineering, not farming. However, the advice of her family to study business, a chance meeting with Weston Walker and marrying Bart (who is also from a Basin ag family) led her down a winding path to Gold Dust and Walker Farms. Her education and experience has more than helped make her a key player in our marketing and farming operations.
Lexi and the Agriculture Marketing students shifted their talk to about how the next generation of farmers is changing – as well as the opportunities today’s farms offer. A problem our local farms and ranches have is young people are leaving and not coming back. One of the students, Victoria Flowers, is a part of a solution. She’s helping to establish Junior Farm Bureau at KCC to help educate area students about the future of Basin ag and job possibilities it offers. If the enthusiasm of the Ag Marketing class are any indicator, there’s a good chance we may be able to reverse this trend.
For Gold Dust and Walker Farms, one of the most important aspects of Professor Duren and his class’s visit it that we got an opportunity to show the next generation of farmers and ranchers the possibilities available in ag. We appreciated them visiting our shop in Merrill and shed in Malin to see what we do, and hope it was educational for them as well!
Thank you again for coming out visiting us!