Weber Farms is a 3rd generation family farm that was established in 1962 in Quincy, Washington. The farm typically raises around 4500 acres of potatoes that are processed by Lamb Weston. Varieties grown include Clearwater, Altura, Umatilla and Burbank’s. Other crops include sweet corn, apples and cherries.
During an interview with Potato News Today, Adam Weber shared more information on the Weber Farms operation. Adam is 3rd generation and is running the operation day to day together with his brother Josh Lybbert, and cousin Deven Johnson. Adam is a business graduate from Boise State University.
Adam mentioned that 2nd generation includes Dad Kevin Weber, and my uncle Alan Bird. “1st generation is my grandfather Bill Weber, who started doing custom farm work in the late 50s, then eventually buying his first farm in 1962,” Adam said. “He is still around and in good health at 81 years old! He still comes out to the farm almost every day, running road grater and that sort of thing.”
Adam manages agronomy on the farm, while brother Josh manages field operations, and cousin Deven manages the irrigation department.
In 1998 Weber Farms purchased a hashbrown producing plant in Warden Washington, and then in 2000 added a French fry line. By 2008, Lamb Weston joint ventured with with Weber Farms in the fry line, and then completed a buy out in 2018. “We still supply a good portion of that plant today,” Adam mentioned.
“We use a lot of composted manure and green manures are also an integrated part of our operation,” Adam said. “I believe this has resulted in achieving a great level of soil health over the course of 20 years.”
Adam noted that Weber Farms apply several modern technologies to streamline the operation and to track for example water stress and patterns, get on top of soil profiles, yield monitoring and sound, practical application of the agronomy data gathered with several state of the art technological devices.
“With all the modern technologies and sound agronomic practices which we put in place at Weber Farms all the time, we intend to continue growing spuds for several more generations to come!”
“This last season was a solid average year for us, while it was down slightly from last year,” Adam said. “We avoided the late winter issues that some producers down in the south Columbia basin experienced. We consider ourselves lucky as other parts of the potato producing areas such as North Dakota and Canada had wet and frozen weather during harvest.”
Adam foresees a few challenges that Weber Farms will have to sort out during the coming season.
“Labor and input costs continue to sky rocket. But I’m hopeful contract pricing will increase as demand for frozen potato products here in the US and worldwide goes up in both demand and value.”
Adam is of the opinion that under current contract pricing, “producers are subsidizing costs for processors with land purchases completed decades ago by earlier generations.”
He says processors continue to pull in record profits, but investments need to find a way back to producers. “This is absolutely necessary to ensure consistent crop production for years to come, and is of importance to growers and processors alike.”