The Land Report

2019.1

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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DEALS OF /THEYEAR Farmland Wichner says his company had been trying to expand into the Walla Walla region for about ve years. "e whole Columbia Basin area has just a beautiful grow- ing climate," Wichner says. "It's blessed with a tremendous amount of water, both under- ground and on the surface. And the soil in certain areas is just tremendous." Wichner says Weidert Farm is one of those areas, prais- ing the "beautiful light topsoil" that is uniform throughout the entire property. In addition, the area benets from superior air drainage. is topographical feature, which facilitates the -ow of cold air downhill, is of vital importance when growing grapes. And then there is the water access, which is more than plentiful. Tim Weidert had gradually established the water infrastructure on the property, building out a total of four wells. Farmland LP recently added a fth well, and is in a two-year process of expanding irrigation capability to anywhere from 3,200 to 5,000 acres. It is also switching from center pivots to drip irrigation. "e fth well that we just built can produce double the amount of water than what it's permitted for," Wichner says. "So there's really tremen- dous water availability on that property." Farmland LP is working to rmly establish the prop- erty's capability for organic and sustainable crop production before embarking on any wide- spread planting. "We nd it works much bet- ter to get the soil health and ground prep done right rst, than to go straight into the organic program crop produc- tion," Wichner says. "So we focus on making sure the soil biology is healthy and working for the plants. "If the soil is healthy and strong, the plants will be able to ght oŠ invaders and pests on their own better. Part of that involves growing the right plants in the right spots, to get better biological productivity from the system. is all results in lower input costs, higher yields, and higher price premi- ums for organic products." It is the type of extensive transformation that the Weidert family would not have under- taken on their own. Wichner points out that Farmland LP has "a team of 60 people and a decade of experience doing stuŠ like this," making the company extremely well equipped for the transition to organic, perma- nent crop production. "Tim did an amazing job extending his dad's vision for the property. But the amount of work needed to take this prop- erty to the next level is pretty amazing," Wichner says. "We're just thrilled that Tim chose us to do that, and what it will mean for the property. We have a shared and common vision, and we're honored to be able to execute on that." AIR DRAINAGE One of the key attributes of the farm is the many ways cold air can descend to lower elevations. 86 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | SPRING 20 19

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