There are only two dairy farms left in Sequim, and those are the only two left in all of Clallam County. Both are small family operations. Dairy farms have been going away in Washington and throughout much of the Northwest as the profit of producing milk diminishes coupled with the extraordinary increases in the value of land for residential development.
Here is a graphic showing the decline of milk cows in Clallam County, Washington.
Click on graphic to enlarge.
From a high of over 7,300 milk cows in 1950, we are now at about 500. The small dairy farms have been going away in western Washington rapidly over the last decade.
Chuck grew up in remote Alaska, graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in Economics and Teacher Certification, and after teaching high school for two years, went to law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He served four years as a Captain and JAG in the USAF at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. After practicing real estate law for 20 years in Washington, Chuck founded iRealty Virtual Brokers covering Sequim and the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. He is the author of 2,200 real estate articles and a dozen real estate books, and he produced over 100 real estate videos. Chuck combined his love for real estate and technology to create a massive Internet presence, and his articles and videos and books have been viewed by millions. Chuck is a well recognized real estate expert and his counsel is sought by other brokers and practicing attorneys around the country. Buyers from New York to Hawaii and from Florida to Alaska seek him out to retain him as their buyer's agent, and home owners around the State of Washington seek him out because of his new Flat Fee Listing Service.
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I am a Clallam County Agricultural Land Commissioner and have watched with dismay the continuing gobbling of our farm land. Granted, I am also a real estate agent and I am obligated to protect property rights whether it is to sell the farm or find some means to protect it. I have worked both sides of this issue as many of my colleagues have. We, the CCALC have had some success in this valley, by means of public and private contributions through Friends of the Fields, the North Olympic Land Trust and grants from the Federal Government in saving portions of several farms. However the issue goes beyond viewscape managment and open fields. The issue is food security.
What people are coming to understand is that food does not just come from Safeway. It comes from far and wide and the farther it travels the more expensive it is and the more compromised it is. What I mean by compromised are the factors which compose nutritional value. Nutritional content degrades rapidly upon picking and in the time it takes to get it to market. Additional factors include what is used to grow it by means of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, the integrity with which it is processed – how clean and sanitary are those conditions. How pure is the food you are putting into your body?
Over the last several days the news has focused on infant deaths in China stemming from melamine laced baby formula. The officials have traced this back to a dairy farm. So the Chinese have killed not only our animals with tainted pet food but now we are threatened by tainted dairy products as well.
At the forefront of security is the capacity to take care of our community from within our community.
Our farms feed the immediate area as well as the Puget Sound. Our farms grow seed that grow crops elsewhere in the world. What would happen if we did not have the capacity to feed ourselves? Anarchy.
Buying locally may seem expensive but at least we know who is growing it, how it has been grown and that we are supporting the economic infrastructure of Clallam County. Thanks for listening. Karen Pritchard