Dan Chin of Wong Potatoes said while
things are much the same as last year, he planted fewer
acres, but increased the number of organic acres. Onethird
of his potato acres were organic this year.
“We don’t have the (chemical) expenses
that you would on a conventional crop. If you turn that
flip side around, organic production is usually less yield
per acre,” he said. “You have to get more for your product
to make up for the less yield you’ll get.”
Chin also planted more specialty
potatoes, growing 24 different varieties. One of the
largest increases has been in the Klamath pearl variety.
Jason Flowers, of Flowers Farms, experimented with growing
canola in 2006, but decided not to replant it.
“I think it’d probably grow pretty
decent,” he said, “but with grain prices the way they are,
it’s pretty hard to compete.”
At Bigfoot Farms, Roger Taylor has been
watching his fuel costs very closely.
“It used to be whenever we needed a part,
we ran and got it,” he said. But this year Taylor has been
trying to consolidate trips to town and has even begun
riding his bicycle if his destination is within half a
“The exercise wasn’t going to kill me and
I didn’t save that much time by driving a gas-powered
vehicle,” he said. “It’s kind of a sad day when a farmer’s
excited that he got a new bike for Christmas.”
Taylor also is taking a close look at the
land he farms tp consider eliminating the more labor
intensive fields because they are unprofitable. He has
focused the last few years on pooling resources with his
neighbors by sharing equipment.
“One person can’t do it all and own it
all,” he said. “We used to be very independent. It’s
becoming more prevalent that we’re realizing there is so
much money at stake, we need to develop more
Several small farmers are interested in
using satellite technology to take the guesswork out of
planting and spreading fertilizer, as well as its
applications in other areas of farm work.
Basin Fertilizer is an Auto-Farm dealer
said owner Chris Moudry.
“It’s amazing technology. It’ll be used
more and more as the amount of people in agriculture are
reducing every year,” he said.
The technology triangulates using
military satellites and is repeatable, meaning a farmer
can return with a different piece of equipment and go back
over the f ield with the same precision.
While the system is expensive to
purchase, costing between $5,000 and $7,000 to buy into
the power system and up to $30,000 per tractor, Moudry
said the price is coming down every year.
Flowers said he would like to use it on
his fertilizer buggie.
“Hopefully, it would pay for itself,” he