Our Family of Farmers
David and Margaret Brewer
in The Dalles, OR
Alonzo Emerson came across the Oregon Trail in the 1840's. His son Chester William Emerson bought farmland SE of The Dalles and claimed a homestead along Fifteen mile Creek. He worked as a blacksmith for the railroad in The Dalles and managed to expand the farm located 15 miles from town. The next two generations of Emerson's continued to grow the farm to the acreage it is today. The family has always taken pride in a strong conservation ethic towards caring for the land. That ethic evolved to adopting a direct seed farming system in 1997. Since 1998 the farm has been 100% direct seeded. Today we produce winter wheat, spring wheat, spring barley, yellow and oriental mustard and a variety of forage crops for our cattle. Our beef production is split between the Country Natural Beef cooperative and a growing direct marketing effort of our own.
David and Margaret our thankful to have the opportunity to live, prosper and raise our family on this land. Being good stewards of this land we call home is one of our greatest honors. Our goal is to manage our business and land in a sustainable fashion such that a sixth generation of this family will have the opportunity to do the same.
Any changes in the land since moving to No-Till?
Since adopting Direct Seeding on our farm we have seen a dramatic change in our soil and its water absorbing and holding capacity. Water caused soil erosion has gone from one of our biggest challenges to nearly non-existent in our fields even though we farm slopes as steep as 45 degrees.
Changes in attitude towards agriculture?
Our attitude toward farming is much more positive. Before adopting direct seeding it seemed that we were always fighting against something. The principal battles were against annual grassy weeds and soil erosion. It seemed like whatever we did to address one problem aggravated the other. With the adoption of direct seeding and a planned spring crop rotation we addressed the cause of both problems and could quit worrying about the symptoms. That was a really healthy change for us.