Stevens Hay Farms, Inc. Established 1990
Stevens Hay Farms is a sprawling family farm nestled in gorgeous coulees and valleys near Soap Lake, Washington.
Established in 1990, founder Bill Stevens has grown the farm from a single field of 130 acres watered by wheel lines to its current size of 2,800 acres of farm ground. In addition to his own farm, Bill manages and is part owner in Round Lake Farms which consists of 1,200 farmable acres. In 1992 Bill bought his first tractor, a 3588 International. Having an all John Deere fleet with GPS and all the bells and whistles is quite a change. In the spring of 2012, Bill had the opportunity to take over his Uncle Rich’s farm where he had his first farm job, leasing the ground and purchasing all the equipment.
Bill has passed his love of producing crops on to his children. His two oldest children, Kye and Brynna, enjoy working side by side with their dad. Bill started taking Kye out on the farm with him while he was still in diapers. Kye began helping out on the farm when he was very young, earning his first paycheck at age 8. He then moved on to changing water and 3-tie baling, swathing, and stacking. Kye is heavily involved in marketing all of the forage crops and takes pride in meeting the specific needs of the customer. Brynna had her first set of water to change before she caught the school bus at age 11, and was 3-tie baling the next summer. It’s a family affair on the farm with Bill’s other children riding along in the tractor most days of the summer with their dad or siblings. Kye recently graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Agriculture Technology and Management. He is very excited to incorporate what he learned at school into the everyday operations of the farm. Brynna works every summer and every available weekend while still attending college at WSU.
Over the years, Stevens Hay Farms has produced high quality orchard grass, alfalfa, mixed hay, and timothy hay. Bill’s other ventures include organic alfalfa, wheat, green peas, onion seed, and cattle production. Planning is paramount when farming so many acres of hay. There are many factors that go into making a great bale of hay for the consumer. Bill painstakingly watches the weather, trying to dodge the thunderstorms that often come through in the hot summer months. It takes much preparation and experience to plan out when each field’s water is shut off and dry enough to cut and rake, and in the perfect condition to bale. Our quality hay is stacked on gravel pads and fully covered by tarps or stacked into hay sheds on the property.
During the summer months, it takes a crew of over 15 employees to keep the farms running smoothly. During the winter months, it still takes 3 full time employees to keep up with equipment maintenance and repair and to load hay trucks.
Stevens Hay Farms prides itself on a solid reputation for raising quality forage products.
The fertile volcanic soil of Central Washington and the long growing season, combined with water supplied by the Columbia River and the Columbia Basin Project, create the best hay growing region in the country. Hay produced in this region is shipped to livestock producers, dairies, and horse stables across the country and around the world.
At Stevens Hay Farms we take stewardship of the land, air, and water seriously. Some of our farm ground is now in the third generation of our care.
Water usage is monitored throughout the irrigation systems. Data from the sprinkler systems, soil moisture sensors, and atmospheric conditions are collected and analyzed to apply water when and where it is needed in the most efficient way possible.
Farming practices and irrigation systems combine to minimize both erosion and compaction of the soil. Soil is tested for nutrients so that fertilizers are not applied unnecessarily. While some of our fields are “certified organic”, others do use pesticides to control weeds to prevent the movement of non-native and invasive species. All pesticides are applied by fully-trained and licensed applicators using calibrated equipment and meticulous documentation and record keeping.
Our hay fields were laid out in such a way as to provide wildlife corridors, native vegetation, and natural cover. Our farm is home to a wide variety of upland birds, mule deer, and migratory waterfowl. We have planted cover crops and designated certain land to enhance the wildlife habitat for the native animals that share our land.