DNR SE Region Reorganization to Improve Service Delivery

map: SE Region reorganizationThe Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continually pursues opportunities to improve program delivery and achieve management efficiencies. In 2014, we’ve carried that effort forward by reorganizing the responsibilities of our Land Managers and consolidating work centers within DNR’s Southeast Region. More specifically, these changes include:

  • Appointing Emma Barnett to manage nearly all rangeland and grazing agreements in the Southeast Region. Emma’s educational background, coupled with her land management expertise, will improve consistency in the Southeast Region’s grazing program. She’s looking forward to collaborating with everyone in supporting the sustainable management of DNR rangelands and grazeable woodlands.
  • Redistributing agricultural land management responsibilities for the region among five unit Land Manager positions as depicted in the area map with this article. The reconfiguration of the six (including grazing) unit Land Manager positions creates internal efficiencies while providing the same or better customer service to our stakeholders. If a DNR-managed property is used for both grazing and agricultural uses, leases will be managed by the agricultural Land Manager in most cases.
  • Closing DNR’s Ephrata and Ritzville offices so that all Land Manager positions are located either in the Tri-Cities or Ellensburg. This move will allow greater collaboration and consistency between management units and programs. The Unit Land Managers will be able to more effectively rely on each other as workload shifts between units, providing more timely and improved staff work, and better service to our many leasees.

We’re working to make these transitions as seamless as possible. If you have any questions about the reorganization you can either direct them to the Unit Land Manager in your area or call the Southeast Region office: (509) 925-8510.

Bailand Farms: Western Washington Farm Diversification

Bailand Farms, Snohomish County.

Bailand Farms, Snohomish County.

DNR lessee, Bailand Farms, has diversified into composting and road-side u-pick vegetable marketing in their effort to protect water quality and fisheries habitat and maintain the economic viability of their family farm.

The Bailey family has farmed in the Snohomish River Valley since 1918 and has leased State trust land for 46 years. Their fifth-generation family dairy and crop farm has grown a variety of vegetable and seed crops over the years for local processors.

Bailey Farm tractor in pumpkin patch.

Bailey Farm tractor in pumpkin patch. Photo: Bailand Farms.

The Bailey family initially diversified their operations by expanding into a u-pick garden endeavor in 1986. Over the years, the customer base has gradually expanded as have the offerings. Today, Bailey Vegetables sells strawberries, lettuce, raspberries, snap peas, green beans, potatoes, cucumbers, corn, beets, carrots, onions, leeks, Swiss chard, kale, flowers, pumpkins, gourds, squash, and herbs. Customers from the surrounding area, including nearby urban Everett, enjoy the opportunity to get out and enjoy the fresh air, harvest their own produce, and show their kids where food really comes from.

In 1995, the Bailey family further diversified into composting by forming Bailey Compost to use manure waste from the farm’s dairy operation. Initially, they used the compost on their own crops to cut down the use of commercial fertilizers. They continued researching composting science, hired an on-farm compost expert, and then obtained permits to expand into compost yard debris, which is a regulated material defined as a solid waste. Soon, they began accepting clean green yard waste such as leaves, small branches, grass clippings, plant material, and brush to add to their own dairy waste. And before long, they were selling compost to the public, building a strong following of loyal customers, many of whom attribute their own gorgeous flower and vegetable gardens to the well-aged, high quality compost produced by Baily Compost.

DNR has leased farm land to the Bailey family since 1968. We have cooperated on a stream riparian buffer fencing project and approved the application of shredded yard debris on the DNR lease. Commitment to the environment and commitment to the community make Bailand Farms a valued lessee.

Columbia County Public Lease Auctions

DNR has three upcoming lease auctions in Columbia County. Two are scheduled for April 25, 2014. For more information, contact Palouse Unit Land Manager Ryan Cloud at (509) 545-2025; Lease Marketing Manager Kathleen Beach at (509) 925-0912; or view lease auction documents about each offering.

Columbia County dryland

Columbia County dryland in production. Photo: WSU

Dryland Agriculture and Grazing Lease No. 12-C60502:  The Territorial Road 36 lease public auction is for a nine (9) year eleven (11) month lease containing approximately 325.8 dryland crop acres and 314.2 grazing acres, all located in Section 36, Township 12 North, Range 38 East, W.M., containing 640 acres, more or less. This auction offers bidders an option to select one of two rental structure options associated with the dryland crop acres. (Under both lease options, annual grazing rent is $395.89.)

Lease Option 1: Annual cash rent for dryland agriculture of $16,775.44, plus leasehold tax at a rate of 12.84% of the rent paid. Total annual rent for dryland agriculture, including leasehold tax is $18,929.41.

Lease Option 2: Crop share division rent for dryland agriculture where the State’s share is 28% of crop, plus 8.6% leasehold tax (28 x 1.086). The total share of crop due to the State, including leasehold tax, is 30.41%.

Grazing Lease No. 10-A80788: The Kellogg Hollow 36 lease public auction is for a two (2) year, five (5) month lease described as that portion of Section 36 lying northeasterly of Kellogg Creek Road, Township 12 North, Range 37 East, W.M., Columbia County, containing five (5) grazing acres. Rent for the entire term of the lease is $500.10.

These sealed bid lease auctions will be held at the DNR’s Southeast Region Office on April 25, 2014. Auction of Lease No. 12-C60502 will be at 2:00 p.m. Auction of Lease No. 10-A80788 will be at 2:30 p.m. For bidder’s qualification packets, call (509) 925-0912.

Other Upcoming Lease Opportunities

Another Columbia County dryland agriculture lease that will be offered soon is the Crawl Hollow 36 lease. This lease, No. 12-B72535, is for a ten-year term and includes 251.48 acres of dryland crop land, and 54.5 acres in CRP. This lease is located in the W1/2 of Section 36, Township 10 North, Range 39 East, W.M. The auction date is yet to be determined.

Meet our Southeast Region Agriculture Administration Staff

Most lessees interact with their local Land Manager on a regular basis; however, there are three people behind the scenes who provide critical functions in managing agricultural trust properties in the Southeast Region. They also are the first line of contact when members of the public have questions about trust properties.

DNR Southeast Region agriculture administrative staff

From left to right: Linda Hazlett, Becky Kennedy, and Claudia Haddon. Photo: DNR.

Linda Hazlett, Claudia Haddon, and Becky Kennedy (photo) comprise our agriculture administrative staff. They have more than 60 years of combined experience at DNR. They are responsible for producing the documents that Land Managers need to keep leases up to date. This group processes thousands of documents annually; including new leases, assignments, and improvement authorizations. Additionally, they set up every new lease in our billing system to ensure that the lessee’s information is up to date in our system and that invoices are correct before they are mailed.

In addition to agricultural documents, the administrative staff processes the lease documents for gravel pits and other special uses such as wind power and communication sites. They also are responsible for managing all the data in SAP, which is our business software for tracking lease information.

This group is kept very busy all year long, and the field staff would like to thank our professional and competent administrative staff for all they do for us.

How to Find the Parcel of Leased State Trust Land that’s Right for You

Ag lease viewerThe Interactive Map Viewer is a new tool that can help you and other interested parties locate DNR agricultural and grazing lands to lease.

Use the tool to locate parcels of interest. Once your inquiry is submitted, it will be forwarded to a DNR Land Manager who will contact you to answer any questions.

Visit the DNR agriculture lands leasing webpage to look for available leases and to submit an inquiry.