“In 2014, my son Andy called me and said, ‘I want to come home and farm,’” says Dave Baldus. For Dave, it was essential that Andy kept his day job until they had a plan. “I needed Andy to know what he was coming home to.” Since that pivotal phone call, the Balduses have embraced one-on-one transition planning sessions, learned to communicate better as a family, and created a working partnership to set up B4 Sunrise for the future.
“When it comes to transferring a farm to the next generation, success is temporary, but failure is permanent,” says Ryan McCarthey of Dungeness Creamery. Their ongoing success is the result of a creative shift in their business model, a cash infusion from selling the property’s development rights, training, and a little bit of fate.
“We are constantly asking ourselves—how can we do our best?” says Jana McClelland. Constant evolution, learning, and care for the land are at the heart of success for McClelland Dairy. It is reflected in day-to-day operations, as well as the transition of the farm from father to daughter through partnership.
The root cellar at Wild Hare Organic Farm is finally full this year. After two years, “we could grow through winter with confidence and load up the root cellar without worry, because it was fully ours,” says Katie Green. In 2017, Mark and Katie Green purchased a 21-acre farm just outside of Tacoma from local sustainable farming leaders, Dick and Terry Carkner—and the deal they struck ensured it will stay a farm forever.
“I remember when we finalized the conservation easement on our farm, friends said, ‘are you crazy, do you know what that property would be worth if it was subdivided?’ Our response is, and has always been, money isn’t everything, they don’t make land any more, and we wanted to protect the legacy of the natural open space, and resources that are here.”