If it’s been a secret, it isn’t one any longer. After evaluations, negotiations and many meetings, we’ve struck an agreement and will now be farming the Running Y Ranch! It’s a move that we’re very excited about and feel that for the long-term success of our farming operations, it is right in line with remaining sustainable for many, many years to come.
You’ve seen us mention the Running Y before in blog posts and press releases about our annual Open House Field Day. The Running Y Resort is where we treat our attendees to an afternoon of golf followed by dinner after spending the morning checking out our fields and packing shed. So, are we farming the golf course? Of course not; that would be silly. The fields we’ll be working are located just across from the resort on the Running Y Ranch. And while it may seem like it’s a long ways from our storage and packing facilities in Merrill and Malin, it turns out it’s not any further than some of the ground we farm near the Lava Beds in California.
The rich, peat dirt is some of the best farmland in the Klamath Basin, and while large portions of the ranch have been in pasture for a while, in no time those grounds will be producing hay, wheat and chipping potatoes. Add in the wells located on the premises and it only looks better from where we’re sitting. However, securing the ground doesn’t mean we’re guaranteed success.
As you’re reading this, the Walker Brothers crews are at the Running Y Ranch getting it ready for spring farming. Over the constant, raucous calling of migrating snow geese, you can hear the din of equipment running. Irrigation canals and ditches are being dredged and readied, faulty head gates are being replaced and old, crushed culverts are being removed. Though the general perception of farming is that farmers and crews have pretty relaxing winters, at Gold Dust and Walker Brothers winter is just the season you’re busy with getting ready for spring planting.
While we want to farm the Running Y because of the rich farm ground and the availability of water, it’s hard to ignore the natural beauty of the place. The little valley is surrounded by tall stands of pine and fir trees where it’s easy to find deer and elk tracks. In the fields themselves, snow geese, bald eagles, herons and cranes abound while on the perimeter songbirds and hawks watch the action. All in all, it’s a picturesque place that makes us thankful we get to work and live in a place as beautiful as the Klamath Basin.