Thursday, July 11, 2013

On Location: Grower Trip to Washington | by Michelle Stolte

Greetings from lovely, steamy Pasco, WA. Last week, my co-worker, Jill, and I were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit the Pasco area to check out various fields, talk with growers, and see the different irrigation equipment in use in the Northwest. I am happy to say that many growers in this part of the country have realized the value and potential of center pivot irrigation and are using this equipment to make their operations as profitable as possible. As for our Valley® customers, besides being amazingly hospitable, they are very progressive, adopting the use of Variable Rate Irrigation (VRI) and the BaseStation remote management tool. 

I periodically get to travel to farm fields in different parts of the USA (even to fields in a select few countries), but I have never seen anything like what I saw on this trip. The diversity of crops is extremely impressive, with crops varying from onions to mint to asparagus to lavender. I don’t remember the last time I had to constantly ask “And what is that crop?” Coming from Nebraska, you learn to recognize corn and soybeans pretty quickly, but not a whole lot more. 

I have also come to realize that maybe I am becoming a bit of an agriculture geek, because I think the scenery out here is absolutely beautiful. This area of Washington is very dry, averaging 5-7 inches (130-180 mm) of rain a year, but when you look out at the hills and see green circles in a sea of dry, brown land, it is a beautiful sight (pictured above). And unlike the majority of Nebraska, these circles are NOT on flat ground. The terrain is rolling, so you may only see half of the circles coming down the front side of the hill while the other half is on the back side. If you have ever see Salvador Dali’s painting “The Persistence of Memory,” which features melting clocks, that is exactly what the center pivot circles out here reminded me of. This picture isn’t the best as the triple digit temperatures created a bit of a haze, but hopefully you can at least get the idea. 

Many thanks to our tour guides, Shane Shiplet and Jonah Lindeman, as well as to our local dealer, Valmont Northwest. This has been a great, educational experience for me!

Michelle Stolte
Global Marketing Manager

Michelle has been at Valley Irrigation for over 10 years and is finally no longer a newbie! She has spent her entire time at Valley in the Marketing Department (international and domestic) and loves every minute of it. Michelle enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband. She also likes reading, swing dancing (although she isn't really that good...), and warm weather.