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Country Life Section C • • Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Dairy • C2 Gardening • C6 FFA/4-H • C7

Plagerman farm builds in eight robotic milkers Paradise Jerseys of Ferndale more than doubles number of totally automated milking units in county By Calvin Bratt

   WHATCOM ­— Leroy Plagerman is well positioned to represent the future of dairying. He and wife Rhonda are the parents of 12 children, most of them embracing the farm lifestyle. Currently, Leroy is president of the Darigold cooperative’s board of directors.    And now his Paradise Road farm, with eight robotic milkers, is a showcase of using technology to utmost advantage for both animal comfort and human management.   Last August, Plagerman wrapped up some serious cash investment converting an aging Ferndale-area farm — belonging to the McKay family for many

Leroy Plagerman points out features of his farm’s new Lely robotic milking system. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden Tribune)

years — to the latest in robotic controls from the Lely company of the Netherlands.

   In May, nine months in, he could lead a media tour of how operations work now on this farm

of the future — his family’s and the industry’s. On June 2, a day that honored 100-year-old Dari-

Goats and yoga converge in Wickersham Goat Boat Farm offers ‘goat yoga’ classes annually from May to August By Brent Lindquist

WICKERSHAM — When Nicole and Jon Schierberl first purchased their farm in Wickersham, they didn’t have goats, yoga or a boat in mind. However, it’s now called Goat Boat Farm and it features all

three. “Goat yoga” is exactly what it sounds like: doing yoga with goats. Goat yoga began in Albany, Oregon, where a woman and her yoga instructor friend first hatched the idea of hosting yoga sessions amidst goats. “It’s kind of a quirky little niche that exploded,” Nicole said. The popular trend has spread to farms all over the world, and Nicole’s mother pointed out a New York Times article on the subject to her one day. “We always joked on our farm that we didn’t have goat yoga, but we had goat therapy,”

Nicole said. “We would go out to the goat barn and hang out with the goat kids. They just jump on you and play. We joked before about having goat massage. The goats just run around and jump on your back. It’s very enjoyable.” Nicole was working on a different farm with a yoga instructor, and Nicole asked if she had her yoga certification. “She knew exactly what I was thinking when I told her,” Nicole said. “We just kind of developed it from there.” Nicole didn’t know what to expect in terms of popularity at the outset, but she and Jon were

blown away by the response. Just a little bit of advertising and a few flyers here and there led to all of their 2017 classes being almost sold out. Goat Boat Farm hosts goat yoga classes a couple of times each week from May to August. The beginning of their timeframe coincides with when the goat kids are born, and the classes run each year up until the kids become a little too big to participate in goat yoga. “A lot of people do the big goats, but once the kids get to be 20 to 30 pounds, it’s not as much fun as the tiny baby goats that you

gold in the Lynden Farmers Day Parade, various company personnel toured the farm as well.    The Plagerman commitment to robotics more than doubles the number of fully automated cow-milking units in Whatcom County. Three other farms had installed seven robot stations. The county is well behind the rate of conversion to robotic milking on farms just across the international border in lower British Columbia, however.    Plagerman first heard about Lely from a Dutch exchange student his family hosted years ago. Over time, when he looked into the technology and considered the future, the value penciled out to him, he says.    This farm is called Paradise Jerseys, capable of handling about 450 of the smaller-framed breed of cow. The orginal Plagerman place on Beard Road south of Lynden continues to have a herd of Holsteins, and the family owns other acreage in the area for their diverse dairy farming.    Buying the property in May 2011, Leroy says there was “lots to See Robotics on C2

can cuddle during class,” Nicole said. “We decided to keep the season short and make it the best possible experience.” The response from goat yoga patrons has been overwhelming, she said. Many people come from Seattle or farther to experience goat yoga, and many of them don’t spend much time outside in their regular lives. “You lay in the pasture, you stare at the trees and you listen to the birds and the wind,” Nicole said. “There are people who would just cry from being outside and taking a minute to absorb that.” Providing these kinds of experiences wasn’t always their goal with the Wickersham farm. See Goat yoga on C3

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Robotics: Farm run by ‘two people’ Continued from C1

do” to whip it into functional shape. It took years. The roofs and other structural parts of large loafing barns needed to be replaced. But he began using buildings for dry cows and calving pens.    He needed to determine a new layout of where milking stations and milk holding tanks would be — toward the back rather than the front, as it turned out. In the process, the power supply system and all concrete structures on the farm would be entirely redone.    To those familiar with customary labor-intensive ways of dairying, the Lely Astronaut system represents truly a light-years difference.    Cows enter a milking cage of their own accord and on their own timing. The computer recognizes which cow this is, taps into a data base on it, and begins to record current information: Is the cow’s temperature normal? How often is she feeding? Sensors guide arms that brush the udder clean, attach milking cups to teats, and know when a quarter is milked out. The quality of the milk is known as it is carried, and it can be diverted. When finished, the cow is able to amble out of the milking area.

June not too happy as Dairy Month

By Lee Mielke

It’s possible to just stand back and watch the cow being milked. (Calvin Bratt/ Lynden tribune)

   Cows are milked an average of three times per 24 hours, depending on their lactation stage. If they try the routine too often, they will be gently turned out and denied grain.   “Basically the farm is run by just two people now,” Leroy summarizes. It would take about four otherwise. “You’re free to just manage the cows.”   Standby generators

make sure a power outage is not a problem, “so that the robots are always working, 24 hours,” he said.   Another interesting piece of the Lely apparatus is Juno, a stand-alone robot that putts along the feed alley pushing the cows’ food supply back into reach for chewing.    Just two years ago, Jana Plagerman was busy representing the Whatcom

Daughter Jana is one of the Plagerman children involved in dairying. (Calvin Bratt/Lynden tribune)


County and Washington State dairy industries — just over 300 of which are Darigold members — as a public Dairy Ambassador. These days, she’s one of those family members busy on the Paradise farm frequently scanning what the computer screen is saying about each Jersey cow, and responding as needed.    It could be that her phone may buzz in the middle of the night if the Lely system thinks human attention is needed on something. But that’s rare.    Also very directly involved on this farm is her brother Leighton.    All the detailed information of the Lely robotic system has been helpful in intercepting health problems and improving the herd’s reproduction rates, Leroy notes.    It was more than a $2 million investment overall, including all construction, he said, but he considers that to be money well spent in looking toward the future of his family and his industry.

  Happy June Dairy Month, although it’s not the happiest for dairy producers struggling to make ends meet.    Prospects are looking better for the second half of the year, but that may be too little too late for some.    The May Federal Order Class III benchmark milk price was announced May 31 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at $15.18 per hundredweight (cwt.), up 71 cents from April but still 39 cents below May 2017.    It equates to about $1.31 per gallon, up from $1.24 in April.    The five-month average so far in 2018 stands at $14.25, down from $16.05 a year ago.    California’s Class 4b cheese milk price is $14.90, up 63 cents from April but still 35 cents below May 2017 and 28 cents below the comparable Federal Order Class III price.    Tough times on the farm were evident in the latest Ag Prices report. It showed another gain in the U.S. All Milk price average, but that was overwhelmed by a sharp rise in the alfalfa hay price and increases for corn and soybeans, thereby sending the April milk-feed price ratio lower for the

fifth month in a row.   Cash dairy markets ended the shorter Memorial Day week with block cheddar at $1.5975 per pound, down 1.25 cents on the week and 10.25 cents below a year ago. The barrels finished at $1.52, down 2.5 cents on the week and 3 cents above a year ago.   Cheese demand is steady to slower for most types of processors, according to Dairy Market News. Western output is active, but the market seems to be balanced.   Butter climbed to $2.4250 per pound May 29, but closed June 1 at $2.3775, down 3.75 cents on the week and 10.75 cents below a year ago.    Upper Midwest butter makers report that cream is unexpectedly tight and buying interest remains generally healthy, according to DMN. Western butter remains active. Ice cream manufacturers are pulling more cream, but there is still plenty to keep the churns busy.    Grade A nonfat dry milk closed at 82.5 cents per pound, down 1.75 cents on the week and 12.25 cents below a year ago.    The Northwest Dairy Association made these price projections for the Class III price and Pacific Northwest blend price: Month Class PNW III Blend

May $15.18 $15.10 (current) June $15.30 $15.60 July $16.00 $15.80 Aug. $16.60 $16.10 Sept. $16.80 $16.40 Oct. $16.80 $16.40 Nov. $16.60 $16.30 Dec. $16.40 $16.15 Jan. $16.00 $16.10    Lee Mielke, of Lynden, is editor of the Mielke Market Weekly. Whatcom County has about 100 dairy farms.

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Goat yoga: Four years spent redoing property Continued from C1

They initially purchased the property about four years ago intending to turn it into a flower farm. It was an old homestead built in the mid-1920s. The original family raised six children there, complete with a huge garden and animals. By the time Nicole and Jon acquired the farm, it had been in disrepair for about 30 years. The house had extensive termite damage, the roof leaked and the garden had not been maintained. The orchard was overgrown, and the pasture was choked with canary grass and blackberries. The property had been logged back in 2007, making way for the invasive plant species. Nicole and Jon have spent the past four years remaking everything, rotating various animals in and out of the pasture, including sheep, chickens, ducks, rabbits and, of course, goats, in order to build the soil back to a usable state. “It is such a process,” Nicole said. “It’s satisfying. It’s definitely a longterm investment.” The “boat” part of the farm’s name comes from the vintage boat that currently sits on the property. Jon, a woodworker, saw that it was available for free on Craigslist, as it had been abandoned in a Ferndale storage facility. The man who was selling it planned to dump it in a local landfill if he couldn’t get rid of it, so Jon jumped at the chance. He bought it for $1 and spent a lot more than that to get it hauled down to Wickersham, Nicole said. “It’s this really cool old 1920s boat built on Lake Union by this famous boatbuilder,” Nicole said. “It’s really beautiful wood that you just can’t even find anymore. It doesn’t

Nicole and Jon Schierberl first moved to their Wickersham farm intending to grow flowers, but goat yoga ended up becoming a major part of what they do at Goat Boat Farm. (Courtesy photo) exist because we’ve cut it all down. The idea of that going to the landfill just broke his heart.” The boat now sits on their property, one of their many projects. Nicole said it remains in pretty rough shape, but it has a lot of potential. She said they may turn it into an Airbnb or an art studio someday, but for now, the goats use it as shelter in the rain. Nicole said their original goal was to make a living growing flowers commercially, but with the soil conditions being what they were on the farm, that wasn’t a sustainable way to get by. “To be able to find niches in other ways that allow us to live this life

and be almost sustainable in what we’re doing is pretty cool,” she said. “I get to live my dream.” In addition to goat yoga, the Schierberls sell farm-fresh, organically grown flowers using no-till permanent raised beds and incorporating their animals wherever it may be beneficial, from adding compost to running livestock on empty fields.    Goat Boat Farm also sells copper jewelry, created using the surplus of copper wire they had after rewiring the old farmhouse. Visit GoatBoatFarm. com for more information on the farm’s offerings and to book a goat yoga class.

Goat yoga is exactly as it sounds: yoga with baby goats. (Courtesy photo)

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018 • • C5



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Seattle firm is majority owner of Bellingham Cold Storage Joshua Green Corporation is seen as sharing Talbot family’s vision, growth values    BELLINGHAM — The Joshua Green Corporation, a Seattle-based company that has invested in the Pacific Northwest since the late 19th century, has agreed to purchase a majority stake in Bellingham Cold Storage.    Since its founding on the Bellingham waterfront in 1946, Bellingham Cold Storage has been wholly owned by the Talbot family. After this sale, JGC will own a majority of the company, and the Talbot family will remain as shareholders.    Siblings Stowe and Jane Talbot — who also own the Barkley Village real estate development — are third-generation owners of Bellingham Cold Storage. In late 2017, they decided to look for an investment partner that would enable the family to continue its involvement in the company at a reduced level while also encouraging future growth.    In a thorough search for suitable partners, the Joshua Green Corporation stood out as the best candidate. The Talbots chose JGC for its business acumen, financial resources and, most of all, the values it shares with BCS, Stowe Talbot said.    “The Joshua Green Corporation will be the ideal partner to take Bellingham Cold Storage to the next level,” he said. “They impressed us with their experience investing in companies like ours and with their values, vision and optimism. BCS team members and customers will appreciate the capabilities JGC can provide to improve and expand our services.” No major changes planned    The Joshua Green Corporation pursues long-term investment opportunities that combine its experience and resources with existing business relationships and

ton State Ferries system.    In the 1920s, Green bought Peoples Savings Bank and then guided it through the Great Depression and World War II and built it into one of the state’s largest banks before its eventual sale to U.S. Bank.    The Talbot family’s maritime roots date back to 1941, when Archibald Talbot purchased and began operating the Bellingham Shipyards, which built minesweepers and barges for the U.S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War. Talbot established the cold storage business in 1946 next to the shipyard as a way to diversify after WWII ended. It offered local fishermen and farmers access to refrigerated warehousing and shipping.    “We recognize and appreciate that JGC and BCS were both founded in the maritime industry,” Talbot said. “Each company has a history of positively contributing to the growth and economy of this region. With this ownership change, those positive contributions will continue for many years to come.” From left are Stanley McCammon of Joshua Green Corporation, Talbot family siblings Jane Talbot and Stowe Talbot, and Bellingham Cold Storage CEO Doug Thomas. (Courtesy photo) employee groups, said Stanley McCammon, president and CEO.    “We recognize the importance that a business plays in the life of its employees and within a community,” he said. “We seek to enable employees to realize their potential and pursue their interests in a manner that also mutually benefits their colleagues and the company. We do not anticipate any changes to the management team or in the way the company operates as a result of this ownership change.”    Doug Thomas will remain as president and CEO, and the Talbots will continue to own a meaningful stake in the company, according to a media release.    Bellingham Cold Storage employs approximately 150 people at two 25-acre facilities in Bellingham — one on the waterfront, on land leased from the Port of Bellingham, and the other on Orchard Drive near Interstate 5. A number of customers lease sizable food-process-

ing facilities from BCS. Total employment on the BCS campuses, including at on-site processors, can reach 1,500 or more in the busy summer and fall harvest seasons. A mindset of long-term growth and continuity   “As a multigenerational, family-owned company itself, the Joshua Green Corporation shares Bellingham Cold Storage’s long-term growth perspective,” Thomas said.    “JGC invests in companies with well-run management teams, and they tend to keep those teams intact. I’m excited for the growth opportunity that this ownership change presents. It’s good for our employees, for our customers, and for the economic development of Whatcom County,” he said.    With its location between Vancouver, B.C., and Seattle, along with its access to international ports, Bellingham Cold Storage has great potential for growth, Mc-

Cammon said.    “We like Bellingham, and we believe that JGC’s financial strength will enable Bellingham Cold Storage to think strategically about its opportunities and to invest for its long-term growth in support of both existing and future customers,” he said. “We look forward to collaborating with BCS’s management team and the Port of Bellingham on the development of those opportunities.” A shared history in Pacific Northwest maritime trade    In 1886, Joshua Green came to the region when Washington was still a territory and began his maritime career. That was first as an officer on several Mosquito Fleet ships that ferried passengers and cargo throughout the Puget Sound and eventually as founder of the Puget Sound Navigation Company, which after World War II would become the basis for the Washing-

More on the companies    Bellingham Cold Storage provides storage, handling and logistics solutions to a wide range of food customers.    The company has grown over the years to become the largest portside cold storage facility on the U.S. West Coast. Bellingham Cold Storage handles over 200 million pounds per year of products ranging from seafood to berries to various packaged foods. Its deepwater dock in Bellingham Bay provides access to Alaska and international markets.    Learn more at http://www.    The Joshua Green Corporation is a privately held investment company that invests in a range of assets, including private companies, public equities and real estate. Valuing stability, it typically holds onto assets for decades.    The corporation also operates the Joshua Green Foundation, well-known for its philanthropy.    Learn more at http://www.


Enjoy summer gardening success as days grow long   With summer just around the corner, it’s prime season for working around the home premises. June’s long days are ideal for tending to the yard and landscaping around the house. Whether you’re working to ensure a healthy lawn through summer or planting shrubs and trees around your home, here are a few tips to ensure success in your endeavors.    First, June is the perfect time to feed your lawn before summer. Back in March or April, you might have fed your lawn in conjunction with killing moss, but if you haven’t fed it since, it’s time to fertilize it again. In late spring, many people fertilize with “weed & feed” fertilizers, and while it’s a convenient way to kill weeds, it’s not all that effective.    Although weed & feed

By David Vos

is a great idea, the fact is that in order to kill weeds, the granules of fertilizer have to land on a weed and stick to it. Unfortunately, this method misses many of the weeds in the lawn, so instead I recommend feeding with a regular fertilizer and spraying for weeds as needed — with much better results. For late spring, feed with either Scotts Turf Builder or Turf Builder with Moss Control. Regardless of any moss your lawn may or may not have,

Turf Builder with Moss Control has extra iron and less nitrogen, giving grass a rich green look without as much growth.    Second, late spring offers great weather for landscaping with shrubs, trees and perennials around the yard. As you plan for what to plant where, keep in mind that in addition to sun exposure, winter wind exposure can be just as critical to consider, especially in the northern part of Whatcom County. Nandina is one of my goto plants for year-round color. With shades of burgundy, pink and bright green in spring and flaming red in winter, varieties like Burgundy Wine and Firepower are remarkable all year. However, nandina can drop its leaves if exposed to a winter northeaster, so remember that we do experience four sea-

sons and you need to plant these beauties on a southor west-facing side of the house.

“In late spring, many people fertilize with ‘weed & feed’ fertilizers, and while it’s a convenient way to kill weeds, it’s not all that effective.” — David Vos    As you’re landscaping, one of my favorite new shrubs this year is Orange Torch barberry, a striking columnar barberry with ever-changing tones of

gold, lime green and rusty orange. Now, I can just hear many of you saying, “But it has thorns!” Yes, barberry can be prickly, but the colors lent to a landscape are almost unmatched by any other plant, so find a spot in the garden to enjoy it without having to work around it, and then relish its splendor.   Finally, whether you’re planting a barberry or any number of other shrubs, it’s important to remember some basic care tips and expectations you should have. I always recommend using a transplant solution like vitamin B-1 or Bonide Root & Grow to stimulate root development and reduce the effects of transplant stress. Along with using a transplant solution, water, water, water! Did I emphasize that enough? In a nursery setting, plants are watered

every day, and for at least the first few weeks after you plant, you will need to continue that regimen while your newly installed landscape takes root.    Also, don’t be alarmed if some of your plants’ leaves begin to shrivel in the days after planting. Some plants — barberry, dappled willow and spiraea, to name a few — have very tender new leaves, and while these are all very hardy plants, they may actually drop some leaves in the days after transplanting. Just keep watering and in a couple of weeks they will begin to put out fresh new growth once again.    This month, enjoy the long days, pleasant weather, and the chance to add fresh landscaping around your home!    David Vos is general manager of Vander Giessen Nursery Inc. of Lynden.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018 • • C7

LHS ag comm. team takes first at FFA state

From left are Lynden High School FFA students TJ VanderYacht, Andie Sahagian, Bree VanDalen and Alex Strandgard. (Courtesy photo)

National event is Oct. 22 in Indianapolis By Ashley Hiruko

LYNDEN — Only one Lynden High School team took first place at this year’s FFA state competition in Pullman in May. It was in ag communications. High school students from around the state converged at the 88th Washington FFA Convention, which ran May 10-12, to test their skills in topics in-

cluding veterinary science, milk quality and products, and ag issues. Fifty-five of those students were from Lynden High School and eight LHS teams placed within the top eight. Those on the winning ag communication team were Andie Sahagian, Alex Strandgard, Bree Van Dalen and TJ Vander Yacht. Last year, the team came in second and that motivated the students to push themselves further, said adviser John Grubbs. And “they rose to the challenge,” he said. “Our advisers really know how to prepare us

4H Reports members two. Learning all these facts expands our knowledge of the animals in the Small Animal Experience, which prepares us to be better able to care for them and answer visitors’ questions about them.    Archer Luginbill, one of our project leaders, is involved in keeping the SAE clean and running smoothly for both volunteers and the public. He aims to create an environment in the SAE that is both educational and safe, as well as enjoyable.    Another of our project leaders, Samantha Douge, helps ensure the health and happiness of the animals. This involves health checkups, start-

ing long before fair week, as well as learning what each animal needs to eat and paying attention to which animals cannot be housed together. For instance, Sam explains, “not all chickens like to be together.”    Mrs. Teachman, Barn Buddies project leader and 4-H mom, will spend the week of the Northwest Washington Fair between the SAE and the barns where her daughter is showing. “Our daughter, along with our family, raised some very friendly chickens in our garage to join us at the exhibit,” she says, showing commitment to 4-H, both of her daughter’s interests and the club as a whole.    Each Barn Buddies leader takes on a differ-

State Dairy Ambassador event June 23 Whatcom has no contestants    BELLEVUE — Five young women vie for the title of Washington State Dairy Ambassador on Saturday, June 23, in the Bellevue High School Performing Arts Center.   Currently in roles representing the Dairy Farmers of Washington are Dairy Ambassador Anna Teachman of SeaTac and Alternates Juliana LeClair of Mount Vernon and Claire Leininger of Everson. They retire upon the 2018 coronation.

   None of those in the running now are from Whatcom County. The five are Rebecca Ford of Lewis County, Agathe Lopez and Ballie Schultz of King and Pierce counties, Jacoba (Cobi) Van Slageren of Yakima Valley and Abigail Zurcher of the Mid-Columbia region.    The state Dairy Ambassador program provides a professional and educational opportunity for young women. Those chosen to serve as Washington’s Ambassadors for Milk receive a college scholarship, internships and extensive communications training.    This year’s event is at 10416 SE Wolverine Way

in Bellevue. Doors open at 5 p.m. and the program begins at 6 p.m. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served at intermission.    Tickets ordered now or bought at the door are $25 for adults and $15 for students, with under age 6 admitted free. Tickets will be available for pickup at the door. For ticket information, contact Gloria Edwards by email at gloria.wsdw@hotmail. com or 360-273-7313.    For more information locally, contact Marlene Noteboom, vice president of Washington State Dairy Women, at 360-354-3888 or

ent role in preparing for the Northwest Washington Fair, but all the work is toward a common goal of making SAE a positive and educational experience. Project leader Brooke VanderVeen said, “The Northwest Washington Fair is the highlight of the year for Barn Buddies 4-H Club members and leaders. We are so excited to be hosting the Small Animal Experience again this year, where our members showcase animal agriculture and introduce our community to farming practices.”

   BELLINGHAM — With a grant from the Washington State Department of Ecology, Sustainable Connections is expanding its Toward Zero Waste program to include food recovery from Whatcom County businesses and also increase education helping everyone reduce their food waste.    Wasted food is a big problem both locally and across the United States. It’s estimated that nearly 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. is never eaten. This equates to nearly $160 billion in lost revenue

and strains natural resources. At the same time, one in four Whatcom residents is food insecure.    The goal is to rescue and reroute 30,000 pounds of prepared foods to Whatcom families in need. As of May 31, 17 food establishment had signed up. From donations, more than 25 meals per day are created.    Those interested can visit to submit a pledge and dig into the variety of tools, tips and resources to make reducing food waste easy and fun.

Another grant helps to link small farms to wholesalers    WHATCOM — A threeyear Washington State Department of Agriculture specialty crop block grant of $151,273 is geared toward helping small farms increase their wholesale markets.    Cloud Mountain Farm Center of Everson and the Northwest Agriculture Business Center will partner with Sustainable Connec-

tions, which won the grant.   The three nonprofits will work cooperatively with farmers and wholesale buyers to create new coordinated systems for crop planning as well as common production, quality and packaging standards. The grant will also foster a number of gatherings to nurture farmer-buyer connections.

Raspberry machine harvesting field day July 12    LYNDEN — The 2018 Machine Harvesting Raspberry Field Day will be from noon to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 12, at Randy Honcoop’s farm, 9696 Northwood Rd.    Honcoop will present as host and Washington Red Raspberry Commission board member. Also on hand will be Chad Kruger, director of the WSU Mount Vernon and Puyallup research centers, and

Pat Moore and Wendy Hoashi-Erhardt in the WSU small fruit breeding program.    This is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.   For accommodations for persons with disabilities and special needs, contact Hoashi-Erhardt at 253-4454641 or at least two weeks prior to the event.

The Northwest Washington


BARN BUDDIES Tabitha Revak, reporter    Now that school is drawing to a close, it’s time for Barn Buddies to begin summer preparations for the Northwest Washington Fair.   Debbie VanderVeen, club leader, will be organizing and preparing us for working in the Small Animal Experience. She does many things to encourage our personal responsibility in this process. One way is to assign animal species to each member, in order to learn 10 facts about those species. Senior members are assigned four animal species, intermediate members three, and junior

for contest,” Sahagian said. She believes that this competition can help students in future careers, offering knowledge for different occupations they can go into. Judges of the FFA communication contest base their critique on the quality of the presentation given. “They wanted to make sure (the work) was done clearly, that we really knew what we spoke about,” Strandgard said. “You have to plan an event to promote the farmer and be meticulously detailed. Everything had to be perfect.” The contest, with a goal this year to promote a local farmer, required

students to work both as a team and as individuals, with the points of each tallied toward one group score. Each team of four had prepared a written media plan prior to the contest and was responsible for a presentation. During the practicum portion of the event, each team member was assigned a specific task. Each student had to perform one of four activities that included a web design activity, a video production activity, a journalistic writing activity and an opinion writing activity. This communications career event is designed to aid students in their development of basic skills of the agricultural communications industry, instilling an ability to work effectively as a team to advocate for the agricultural industry, the contest website states. The Lynden team now is busy preparing for the national competition, slated for Oct. 22 in Indianapolis, by looking over previous national exams and practicing with other tests. “We’re looking at how we can improve. We know how our score was marked down,” Sahagian said. “We’ll be competing against even more teams, so we have to be ready.”

Sustainable Connections works to reduce food waste in Whatcom County

Fair Magazine

Join us in celebrating with our annual tribute to “THE FAIR”!

Check out our special section for a local look at the upcoming events and people who make this fair possible! PUBLICATION DATE: August 8, 2018


Inserted into the Lynden Tribune, Ferndale Record, participating businesses and Bellingham & Lynden Rack Space! Distribution starts the week before the event & continues throughout the week. (Grocery Stores, Ferry Terminal & Coffee Shops)


Covers and inside pages due by July 13, 2018.

n will also Publicatio le at be availab & entribun www.lynd da www.fern

Lynden Tribune - 360-354-4444 Tricia, Mary Jo, & Mitze

Ferndale Record - 360-384-1411 Jan

C8 • Wednesday, June 13, 2018 •

Royal City Darigold farmer, 28, wins national sustainability award Austin Allred is first in state to put in a system using worms to treat wastewater    LYNNWOOD — On May 17 Dairy Farmers of Washington and Darigold announced that Washington dairy farmer Austin Allred, of Royal City, has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.    Allred, 28, is recognized for his commitment to dairy farm sustainability with a primary goal of transforming Royal Dairy into a zero-waste business. In 2017 Allred became the first dairy farmer in Washington to install a Biofiltro BIDA system, an energy-efficient water treatment system using worms to transform the dairy’s wastewater into irrigation-grade water. The system is able to turn the farm’s biggest liability, wastewater, into a profitable asset — high-quality worm castings which can be used as organic fertilizer.    The worms’ process of cleaning water generates approximately 2,000 cubic yards of worm casting every 18 months that will be sold to other local farmers to fortify their soil for apples, bell peppers, cherries and other produce.    “I am so pleased to

Austin Allred invested in the Biofiltro BIDA system to treat his Royal City farm’s dairy wastewater. (Courtesy photo) have Austin and his family representing Washington’s dairy community,” said Scott Kinney, Dairy Farmers of Washington CEO. “DFW proudly supported the system’s launch and funded BioFiltro’s on-farm research at Royal Dairy. Because of Austin’s hard work and forward thinking, this innovative approach has the potential to change how farms manage wastewater across the country.”

   The Biofiltro BIDA System is the largest dairy wastewater treatment facility of its kind in the nation and since its installation, has recycled more than 73 million gallons of wastewater, removing on average 97 percent of suspended solids and 93 percent of nitrogen.    “As we at Darigold celebrate our centennial anniversary, we are proud of co-op members like Austin Allred and his fam-

ily who have invested in an innovative way to treat wastewater on their farm,” said Stan Ryan, Darigold president and CEO. “Our member-owners are stewards of their animals, the environment and communities, and have been for the past 100 years.”    The award was presented to Allred at the seventh annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards event on May 16 in Chicago by the Innovation

Center for U.S. Dairy. The awards recognize dairy farms, businesses and collaborative partnerships for practices that demonstrate outstanding economic, environmental and social benefits as well as longstanding commitment to continuous improvement and a replicable model to inform and inspire others in advancing dairy sustainability leadership.    This is the fourth

national Sustainability Award for Washington dairy farmers, Kinney noted. “I believe this speaks to our dairy community’s commitment to innovation. Consumers want to eat a diet that is not only healthy, but also good for the environment and our farmers have stepped up to meet and exceed those demands.”    Milk is Washington State’s second largest agricultural commodity.



“We do more than drill for water.”

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Main Office: 411 West Front St. • Sumas, WA Sumas: (360) 988-5811 • (800) 821-6288 Othello: (509) 488-5208 • (800) 572-6454 888 East Kelly Rd, Bellingham, WA Locally owned & operated since 1949

Serving Whatcom & Skagit counties for over ten years!

Jumpstarts • Lockouts • Tire Changes Fuel Deliveries • Winchouts Recovery • Towing


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Raspberries, Strawberries & Blueberries 697 Loomis Trail Road, Lynden, WA 98264 (360) 354-4504

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These local businesses appreciate the dairy farmers of Whatcom County.

Country Life June 2018  
Country Life June 2018