Grazing Lease Auction Dates Set

Grazing land available to lease in Northeast Washington. Watch for these auctions dates:

April 19, 2016

Grazing Lease No. 10-090715 is a ten-year lease offered at sealed bid public auction which contains 160 acres in Ferry County. Sealed bids must be received no later than 10:00 a.m. on April 19, 2016, at which time they will be opened at DNR’s Northeast Region Office, 225 S. Silke Rd., Colville, WA 99114. View the bid packet. For more information, contact Brian Derting or Tim Gallagher at (509) 684-7474.

May 5, 2016

Grazing Lease No. 10-089633 is a ten-year lease offered at sealed bid public auction which contains 1,470.92 acres in Ferry County. Sealed bids must be received no later than 10 a.m. on May 5, 2016, at which time they will be opened at DNR’s Northeast Region Office: 225 S. Silke Rd., Colville, WA 99114. View the bid packet. For more information, contact Brian Derting at or Tim Gallagher at (509) 684-7474.

Drought Impact Survey

Dry river bedWashington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) is seeking input from the agriculture community associated for a drought economic impact study related to the events of 2015. WSDA has developed an online survey for those who wish to participate.

As stated on the survey website, WSDA will “use the information to prepare an economic assessment of the 2015 drought impacts and better target future drought funding and support.”The deadline to complete and submit the brief online survey has been extended to June 2016.

Take the Drought Impact Survey

DNR’s Agriculture and Water Program Seeking Agricultural Section Manager

Excellent opportunity available to join DNR’s Agriculture and Water Program team. The Agriculture Section Manager position is based out of the Pasco field office located in DNR’s Southeast Region. The position is a senior level recruitment advertised as WMS2, salary range: $5,008 – $6,391. Recruitment is open through April 17, 2016. Questions? Please contact Randy Niessner at phone number (509)925-0941/randy.niessner@dnr.wa.gov or e-mail us at DNRrecruiting@dnr.wa.gov.

See the position advertisement

DNR Offers Electronic Payment Options for Lessees

wire transfer imageThe Department of Natural Resources offers lessees the option to remit payments electronically through automated clearinghouse (ACH), or wire transfer payments. If you are interested in this option and would like to obtain the necessary form contact the DNR Region Office responsible for the administration of your lease.

Central Washington University Students Dig into Agricultural Marketing for State Trust Lands

DNR’s Agriculture and Water Program recently partnered with the Central Washington University (CWU) College of Business Department of Management and Marketing to offer senior marketing students the opportunity to focus research on state trust agriculture lands as part of their senior capstone coursework. Under the guidance of Jeff Stinson, Ph.D., CWU students Rachael Wescott and Patrick Croghan explored their research questions through an internship with DNR’s Agriculture Program. Here’s what they thought of their experiences with us.

My Experience as an Intern

While researching the scope and scale of the wine industry in Washington state I was impressed with production volume, a continuous upward trend of total wineries in the state, and how the industry was able to grow even during the recession of 2008. These items were particularly motivating from a strictly business standpoint, but also illustrate how the state economy and thousands of workers now depend on the wine industry for income.

grapes on vie

Photo provided by Patrick Croghan.

Upon being bestowed with the honor of joining the DNR’s Southeast Region in an internship capacity I was able to execute the old adage that “seeing is believing”. Resident agriculture experts whisked me around the southeastern corner of the state to view hundreds if not thousands of acres under vine. The scope and scale was far beyond what pictures and web research could ever truly illustrate. In a sense this was disappointing to me. Keeping up with the Jones’ is the model for most to thrive in a DNR vineyard lease situation. The truth in this requires only a quick look at how much of the local wine industry is concentrated in the top five businesses. While the big five produce more than a million cases per year, the rest of the industry is at 380,000 or less per year. My dreams of a collective of smaller wineries sharing resources to acquire large vineyard properties on lease truly is a challenge in the first place and most wineries in that situation don’t even want that type of growth according to my research. Large wine grape growers who then sell their product are much easier to deal with for the little guy (or girl) looking to expand.

Much of my romance with the wine industry was born from the commonalities shared with the craft beer industry from which much of my previous experience lays. I have always been enamored with the idea that more competition is better for business. While Starbucks and Walmart have business models driven by pushing the competition out, the craft beer and wine industry have geographic needs that demand collaboration. Walla Walla once was an outpost where travelers would stop only \to use the restroom and grab some sweet onions. One or two wineries changed that somewhat, but now as a mecca for superior wine — produced in state with 140 wineries, tasting rooms, and wine bars — Walla Walla is a must-visit for wine enthusiasts. It’s also become a favorite destination weddings and bachelor/bachelorette parties as well as wine tours. Much of this is because of the large spectrum of premium choices in close proximity, not because a single elite winery scored a certain amount of points in Wine Spectator magazine. This development mirrors the rapid expansion of breweries in North Seattle neighborhoods that are adapting quickly to the local tech industry’s continued hiring of new workers who seem to have an insatiable thirst for craft beer.

wine cellar

Photo provided by Patrick Croghan.

What rekindled my romance for the industry is an interview over the phone with a California winemaker. His group has made property acquisitions to create more opportunities, including holdings in the popular Napa Valley as well as acreage in several developing nations. Many winemakers chose not to reply to my appeal for assistance with my student research. While many things may contribute to this non-response, the main hurdle is fear. The small wineries and other groups that did respond to my survey questions about growth expressed apprehension and a desire for “outs” or protection.

Californians and Oregonians from the Willamette Valley also “bucked” at the chance to diversify, often stating how estate-specific they were. In most industries the desire to stand still will eat you alive but there is something to be said for stability. Overly aggressive expansion is clearly filled with pitfalls as well. None the less while many in the wine industry make it big by selling to large groups, it is the smaller groups that see no borders that provide win-win opportunities for DNR leases. Borderless wine grape growers from California also are improving their bottom lines and may be the type of companies with which DNR could develop favorable relationships.

by Patrick J. Croghan, Central Washington University Class of 2016

Digital Marketing for DNR’s Public Land Auctions

As a marketing student at Central Washington University, my internship with Washington Department of Natural Resources has involved researching different marketing methods that would bring more potential lessees to DNR’s Public Land Leasing Auctions. We are particularly interested in promoting the lease auctions to a larger cross section of agriculture businesses. We are researching how best to communicate with these businesses and crea

Rachael Wescott

Rachael Wescott, a CWU student who interned in the DNR Agriculture Lands Program.

te a valuable partnership with them.

In order to expose as many potential lessees to our land as possible we are looking into the opportunity of posting the land auctions on popular farmland leasing websites in order to better increase exposure. I have also been researching different ways that farmers use DNR’s social media, newsletters, and website. This research then goes into how we can change DNR’s use of social media, newsletters and website to most benefit DNR’s clients, our tenants, as you consider participating in the land auctions.

All in all, we want to create valuable communication with our potential lessees and make the process of learning about the land auctions as simple as possible. By streamlining all of our means of communication and creating a reliable presence throughout all of these platforms, we will be able to target our ideal customer more efficiently and effectively.

by Rachael Wescott, DNR Southeast Region Student Marketing Intern