Speaking to Reid Phillips about his family’s farm, Windy Hill Ranch, it’s obvious how profoundly proud he is to be able to pass it to his son, Palmer.
“It takes more than one generation to make a successful family farm or any farming operation,” Reid said. “You have to have a strong commitment. We have long time frames, and it takes hard work, dedication, and commitment.”
Windy Hill Ranch is located southwest of Lind, Wash., and was originally homesteaded in the 1920s by Reid’s grandfather, Robert Hugh Phillips. RH, as the elder Phillips was called, gifted the ranch to his oldest child, Mildred, when she married in 1941. The newlyweds farmed for a few years, but ended up moving to California. Mildred leased the farm to her brother, Robert (Reid’s father), who farmed it until he retired, and Reid took over. In her will, Mildred, who died in 2012, gave Reid the opportunity to buy the land he and his father had spent their lives farming. In 2016, Palmer, the fifth generation, graduated from Washington State University and returned to the farm. The Phillips use direct seeding methods to grow mostly dryland wheat with some winter peas and canola occasionally thrown in.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish together as a family,” Reid said, adding that it hasn’t always been easy. As was the case for many farmers, the 1980s and 90s were financially difficult for the Phillips. “I’m proud of where I’m at.”
This harvest season welcomes the sixth generation of the Phillips family — Palmer’s infant son, Timothy.
“It means a great deal to me that Palmer’s returning and shows such a strong interest in adding to the continuation of the farm and family,” Reid said.