Palouse farmers fire up fleet to plant early crops



Posted on April 3, 2013 at 5:48 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 3 at 6:25 PM

VALLEY FORD, Wash. -- Eastern Washington wheat farmers are taking advantage of the recent dry and sunny skies.

They’re planting their crops earlier than they did the past few years.

Wednesday was day one in the dirt for Emtman Bros. Farms. The family is doing some quick repairs to the rigs before seeding their fields. It’s a job that typically doesn’t get done for another week.

“Sometimes we get in in March. Sometimes, it’s not until May,” Roy Emtman said.

Roy Emtman and his son Jeff say recent samples showed enough moisture in the soil, so they’re firing up their fleet to plant 500 acres of spring wheat. They claim the earlier crops come in, the hardier they become.

“This year we should get good growth out of it by the time it gets the heat on it, so it shouldn’t get hurt by the hotter weather,” Jeff Emtman said.
The dry start to spring is getting the wheels turning, but it’s the soaking rains the farmers are really banking on.

“May and June rains are what make a crop. Regardless of how wet and dry the winter is, we have to have May and June rains,” Roy said.

These men’s roots go deep into the ground. Five generations have made a living off of the land.

“It’s in your blood. It’s farming. That’s what it’s all about,” Roy said. Jeff quickly added, “It’s just fun to put a seed in the ground and see what you can produce.”