Our Family of Farmers
Read and Deanna Smith, with Jeremy
in St. John, WA
My Grandfather, Edgar W Smith, was raised on a farm near Pendleton, Oregon. As a young college graduate (University of Oregon) he entered the insurance business in the Portland, OR area and was very successful. He saved his money, and when the 1929 depression arrived, he had the cash and the courage to purchase much of what we are farming today. My Father (Jackson W Smith) returned to the farm following WWII (B-17 pilot) and actively farmed until the mid-80's. Deanna and I joined my Mother and Father on the farm in 1973. That would make Son Jeremy the 4th generation on the Whitman County farm and a 6th generation farmer.
I must admit that most of the past 30+ years there was little to look forward to in the farming profession. With almost relentless consistency, we marketed our products below their true cost of production. Our bright young people would leave the farms forever and our small towns were closing up businesses and those that remained struggled as well. Our growing equity financed our operations as carryover debt mounted and equipment aged. Much of this has not changed for most. The idea of providing the consuming public with value added food products, produced in a sustainable way by local family farms, has provided a much needed glimmer of hope for the future. Change is not easy, and most of the consuming public has no idea how or where the food they buy is produced.
Why Shepherd's Grain?
We at SG know the public very much cares about their food today, and they are willing to support the family farms that go to the extra effort to produce it for them while caring for the resource and our workers. I am very bullish about Shepherd's Grain (and similar efforts) that can finally let consumers vote with their purchases. We will know that this is a success when our young Sons and Daughters once again want to be involved with the family farms and our small town main streets thrive again.