We communicate regularly with farmers that grow the wheat, rye, barley, and other grains for Valley Malt. Mostly conversations about grain varieties, number of acres, yields, pricing, and logistics around shipping and receiving. These conversations happen through phone calls, texts, and emails but once a year a visit to the fields and farms are a priority. Harvest season is the busiest time of year but it is the best time to see what the year’s crop look like. These visits are compelling and always feel like some of the most critical hours we spend in our jobs. During these visits we get to see the worlds of the farmers and understand their realities on a deeper level. Seems like we are always leaving with a new perspective to ponder.
We see, smell, and touch all the ways that farms are evolving throughout the years. In the fields we see crop rotations changing to meet new markets, warmer climate and unpredictable weather patterns. On the farms we see growing families, the adoption of new technologies to improve soil health and yields, the addition of new farm implements like upgraded seed cleaners, more silos, and bigger combines. While walking around in the heat of the day or catching a quick break at a local diner we catch-up - mostly talking about opportunities and challenges on the horizon and how they relate to our collective work. As this 2019 year’s harvest gets close to coming off the field and onto the farm, we thank the fields and farms for all of the extraordinary ways they grow our food and future.