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Noble Farms

Noble Farms sits just outside of Connell to the west and is owned by Carl & Marti Noble. They have been in operation since 1974 (44 years), farming and ranching. As well as being the home base of a successful agricultural business, it is the place they have called home and raised their two daughters.

Farming is unlike a typical business office job. The American farmer works 24/7 to feed the world. When Carl & Marti were farming full time, the potato harvest payroll was up to 65 people. Even though they have stepped back from farming full time, they continue to have 2 full time employees. Noble farms grew and expanded over the course of 44 years but it all started in 1972 when Carl began custom farming in the area. The corn and hay silage that was harvested was hauled to the Andy Biorn and Herb Camp Feedlots. At the time, Carl’s machinery fleet consisted of 2 International tractors, 2 John Deere choppers and 2 Ford trucks. Marti confirmed, “those ‘antique’ trucks are still in the shed today”.

Carl graduated from University of Washington with plans to enter Law School. Those plans were interrupted by a 3 year term of service in the Army. While in Vietnam, Carl decided that he would begin farming when he returned to the states. In 1974, Carl and Marti married and purchased their present home site. Over the years, as they have made their home in Connell and in this community, they have shared their time and talents. Carl was instrumental and enjoyed helping to build the Field of Dreams and the athletic complexes that followed at Connell High School. Marti enjoyed helping in the North Franklin Schools, organizing the Ag Week Program at Connell Elementary for several years. Both Carl and Marti were members of the original Eagles Nest Board.

Marti also served on the Chamber of Commerce Board for many years and continues to remain involved. She remembers decorating tables for the annual chamber banquet when it was held at the CHS Student Center – who else might remember those years? Noble Farms has been Chamber of Commerce members for many, many years and have continued to show their support of the schools, of church, and of community projects and events. Marti stated, “We are both thankful and blessed to have built relationships, to live and raise our family, and to work that allows us to give back to this community.”

johnson agriprises

Johnson Agriprises

Johnson Agriprises has been a local farming operation for over a century. Since 1906, starting with Arthur Johnson, the farm has been in the family passing from generation to generation over the years.

Johnson Agriprises farms both conventionally and organically. The crops raised conventionally are wheat, potatoes, peas for seed, triticale, grass seed and corn seed plots. Their organic crops include onions, potatoes, asparagus, wheat, triticale and spelt. Johnson Agriprises employs approximately 20 people year-round with many more hired seasonally.

The Johnson Family emigrated from Sweden to California. In Sweden the farming season was relatively short because of how far north Sweden is located. When they moved to Yuba City, California, they had to farm 12 months of the year. Looking for a farming season that was longer than in Sweden but shorter than in California, after harvest in 1906, the James Johnson family loaded up their mules on to a train and moved from California to Eastern Washington. Orman and Gavin Johnson’s father was born here in 1910.
In the mid-1950’s, they received their first water to start irrigating some of their farm. They started growing potatoes in the mid-1960s. Following a few years later, they started growing potatoes for Lamb Weston. Johnson Agriprises continues to grow potatoes for Lamb Weston today. In 1971, the family corporation, Johnson Agriprises, was formed.

In 1999, they expanded into the organic crop market. It was and still is a challenging endeavor. Recently, Johnson Agriprises signed an agreement with Progressive Produce to supply the majority of US Trader Joe’s with organic mini-red, yellow, and purple potatoes for half of every year. Orman stated, “We are in partnership with Brad Bailie for that supply.” One of the biggest challenges they are faced with is the need for a more reliable water supply in the near future with Orman saying, “the Columbia Basin Project water supply is needed to replace our depleting wells.”

In recent years, an addition to their agricultural business was the purchase of Pacific Produce in Bruce. As their business continues to grow, so does their family history. Orman and Gavin Johnson are part of the 3rd generation; Frank and Tami Baxter (Orman’s daughter and son-in-law) and Nick & Kate Johnson (Gavin’s son and daughter-in-law) are a part of the 4th generation; and many grandchildren have established the 5th generation on this family farm. And if you didn’t already know, the Johnson families are big WSU Coug fans – many have stopped to take pictures at their “GO COUGS” potato shed on highway 26 between Othello and HWY 395 on the way to Pullman. Johnson Agriprises is located at 1010 S Johnson Rd Othello, WA.

franklin pud

Franklin PUD

Although Franklin PUD was organized January 14, 1935 it was not energized until November 7, 1947. Franklin PUD is owned and governed by the people and communities they serve. They are united behind one goal – to provide affordable, reliable, non-profit electricity to their customers. They offer electric service and broadband to their customers. There are 3 elected commissioners – Roger Wright serves as commissioner in District 1, Bill Gordon is commissioner of District 2 and Stuart Nelson is commissioner of District 3. Commissioners serve a 5 year term before they are up for re-election.

Franklin PUD centers around 6 key values: Customer Focus, Respect, Integrity, Personal Responsibility, Teamwork and Forward Focus. Through these values they hope to provide the communities with the best possible service. They will grow and expand as the communities that they serve do, making sure to reach all customers with high satisfaction. Connell and Kahlotus, as well as other surrounding areas, sit within the service boundaries of Franklin PUD.

They currently employ about 100 full time employees. Franklin PUD and its employees continue a long tradition of community involvement – dating all the way back to 1948. Anything from helping put up holiday lights around towns to educating area children and their families about electrical safety. They have a culture of trying to help whenever called upon by those they serve.

Franklin PUD has been a member of the Greater Connell Area Chamber of Commerce for several years. They have continually supported events that the Chamber sponsors as well as supported other community groups and efforts within the community. Most recently, they have worked to provide electrical services to the new information board project being planned at the post office.

Franklin PUD is located at 1411 W Clark St Pasco WA. You can reach their office Monday through Friday from 8:30am to 5:00pm at 509-547-5591. Visit their website franklinpud.com to access your account and for additional information on services, programs, safety tips and education and more.And a great reminder as we get into outdoor fall projects – remember to CALL 811 BEFORE YOU DIG!

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Connell Sand & Gravel

Connell Sand & Gravel has been owned by Buzzy & Toni Hille for 28 years. They bought the business from previous owner Ray Carlisle in 1990. When the business was brought up in conversation to buy it, they saw an opportunity and thought it would be a fun and interesting business to venture into and grow. Hilles already had a strong spray business they were operating from their home that they were building outside of Kahlotus at the time. They sprayed in Franklin, Adams and Whitman counties at the time. To date, Buzzy & Toni Hille are the 3rd owners to run and operate Connell Sand & Gravel.

Connell Sand & Gravel offers not only gravel but ready mix concrete, sand/gravel mix, and general construction services. They are a supplier for other businesses that need their products, as well. They have 28 full time employees; many are local to the area. In 2000, they expanded into the Tri-Cities market, offering more products and additional services to grow their business.
Currently, Connell Sand & Gravel is a successful and steady business but if Connell was to grow then they would expand the business further but as it is now, both owners are happy with how the company is doing.

Over the years, Buzzy and Toni have been involved in community events and committees whether in service or offering financial support. They both were EMT’s for Kahlotus for 20 years. Connell Sand & Gravel has been a huge supporter and contributor to the North Franklin School District, the Greater Connell Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show, just to name a few. They have enjoyed living here and raising their family in the Columbia Basin community and like being able to support the community by giving back.

Both Buzzy and Toni graduated from Washtucna. Toni attended school in Connell before her family moved to Washtucna. They have 4 kids who all attended and graduated from the Kahlotus School District.

Connell Sand & Gravel is open Monday through Fridays from 7am – 5pm. To find out more about their products and services, call the main office located in Pasco at 509-545-4066.

nutrien ag solutions

Nutrien Ag Solutions

Nutrien Ag Solutions is a unit of Nutrien Ltd. Along with Nutrien Retail, they are the world’s largest agriculture inputs company. Nutrien is comprised of four business units: Nitrogen, Phosphate, Potash and Retail. They offer many products and services to our area local farmers; fertilizers, pesticides, application agronomic advice, soil & tissue sampling as well as organic products.

Nutrien Ag Solutions was established in 2018, but predecessor companies began operating as early as 1859. Through advancements in technology it has allowed for more effective growing methods while minimizing environmental impacts. They’ve welcomed more operations into the family and expanded their products and services. The company is global and now Nutrien Ag Solutions is a part of a network retailers that spans three continents. They have never lost sight of the American farmers and the work they do, decade after decade they have continued to provide the best technologies, tools, and products so that farmers can do what they do best – grow.

Nutrien Ag Solutions has gone through many name changes and merges over the years. In 1992, the company was called PureGro, transitioned to Western Farm Service,and then lastly known as Crop Production Services. Robert Oliver is the current manager of the Connell division. Bill Erickson, a Crop Consultant,who has been with the company in Connell since 1992, stated “I have been here through many acquisitions & mergers. The name may have changed but our quality of product, relationships with growers, and high customer services has always remained as the same high standard.”

When it comes to expanding the company – both locally and has a whole company, Bill states “We are always looking for good business opportunities to grow and expand – whether in products or services.” Listening to the growers and customers and what they need and are looking for helps drive and lead those decisions. We like helping farmers make their crops grow. If we do a good job, and the farmer is successful, then hopefully, they keep coming back.” Nutrien Retail continues to grow its international and North American presence. Over the past 5 years, approximately 250 independent retailers have been added to the growing family of Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Nutrien Ag Solutions has 8 full time employees and 1 part time employee at the Connell location. The office is open from 7:30am-4:30pm Monday through Friday. They often work extended hours working with farmers during the busy spring season. The office is located at 108 N Columbia Ave at the north end of town. For more information you can call the office at 234-3441 or visit their complete website at www.nutrienagsolutions.com

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Zurcher Dairy

Zurcher Dairy, owned by Ed & Heather Zurcher, is a local dairy farm located just north of Basin City. They have 3 daughters…Olivia, Alena, and Abby. The Zurchers came from the Enumclaw area to start their dairy farm in November of 1997, however, they still have the farm in Enumclaw to pasture their unbred heifers.
The Zurcher Dairy employs about 9 workers who work shifts to span the 20 hours a day that it takes to milk approximately 1,000 cows twice a day, to clean-up, and to feed. It takes about 10 minutes per rotation to move cows through their 36 cow parlor. An average cow produces 7-8 gallons of milk per day….or over 2,750 gallons per year. An average cow can produce for 2-10 years but a good milker could be as old as 15 years. From the body temperature of the cow, the milk is cooled to 39° within 30 seconds of leaving the cow’s udder. Zurchers have 3 tanks on the farm with a storage capacity of up to 15,000 gallons of milk, which is less than 2 days’ supply. They belong to the Northwest Dairy Association Co-op. The milk is sold under the Darigoldbrand, however, other brands use Darigold milk, including Costco.
Zurchers grow about 70% of their feed demands including corn silage and triticale (a plant cross of wheat and rye). They purchase haylage from area farmers and sometime supplement with leftovers from other industries such as cottonseed and canola meal. They utilize the manure from the dairy as fertilizer for their 450 acre farm.
Milk is Washington state’s second highest valued agriculture commodity. In the nation, Washington state ranks 10th in milk production.
Currently, Ed serves as the President of the Washington State Dairy Federation and Heather is President of both the Mid-Columbia Dairy Women and the Washington State Dairy Women. Two of their daughters, Olivia and Abby, have had the unique opportunity to serve as Dairy Ambassadors. As Dairy Ambassadors, they promote the dairy industry and the health benefits of having milk in a diet. Olivia served as the Mid-Columbia Dairy Ambassador from 2012-2013 and as an alternate for the Washington State Dairy Ambassador in 2013-2014. She attended University of Idaho where she graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education. She currently is an Ag teacher at Prosser High School. Abby served as the Mid-Columbia Dairy Ambassador in 2017-2018 and is the current Washington State Dairy Ambassador for 2018-2019. After completing her term, she will attend the University of Idaho to study Elementary Education. Alena just started her senior year at the University of Washington and will graduate with a degree in Corporate Tax Accounting in the spring of 2019.
Zurcher Dairy has been a member of the Greater Connell Area Chamber of Commerce since 2016. Their support of school and local events, however, has been generously evident since coming to the area in 1997….from elementary to high school programs and sport teams, community events, county fairs and so much more. They have always been committed to supporting our community. In closing, Heather stated, “We just like to help the kids in our community.”

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Tri-State Seed

Tri-State Seed is co-owned by 50% Dana Herron and Craig Teel and 50% by Tri-City Grain. They have been in operation since May 2005. Tri-State Seed offers primarily cereal grains: wheat, oat, barley, triticale, but also has grasses, alfalfa, pasture mixes, and sorghum Sudan. They have 8 full time employees and 3 part-time/seasonal employees. Two of their new hires are local resident, Stacy Kniveton, who came on as Sales/Marketing and Lind native, Kevin Starring, who is also with Sales/Marketing. Tri-State Seed Company’s mission is to provide the customer/grower with products of exceptional value and quality along with a level of service exceeding the customer’s expectations.

In conversation about expanding Tri-State Seed, Dana Herron stated “the company is growing now – we will likely take over Ritzville in the spring of 2019 and soon Lind. This is at the peoples request and wanting us to do more, so why not, if it makes good business sense and helps our growers.” When they originally opened, the goal was to offer more products and services to growers cost effectively. “We want and need to make farmers money – that’s the bottom line and the goal. If we don’t make them money – they won’t come back” stated Herron.

Since opening, they seem to be successful at achieving their goals as evident by the anticipated expansions. They are doing well with this years’ harvest and growers are happy. In addition to the local market, they currently ship seed to 17 other states as well. In the last month alone, they shipped to Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, New York, Pennsylvania, Nevada, New Mexico, California, Oregon, Idaho and of course around Washington. Sales range from $10-$15 million/year, depending on the year and the demand. Tri-State is always looking for new products that will help them solve problems that the growers come across. Solving problems, working with growers and building that customer relationship is important to good business and is something that all employees strive to do well. In 2014, Tri-State Seed started selling Ag chemical to dryland farmers – the need was there so the growth and expansion was necessary to help their customers.

Over the years, Tri-State Seed has been a big supporter to our area youth that are involved in the Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show, donating towards their animal projects. They are also Chamber members and strive to support other local businesses in and around the Connell area.

Dana grew up in Connell and graduated from Connell in 1969. He then went on to WSU to pursue degrees in Political Science and Ag Economics, after which he returned to Connell and married and raised his own family here. Craig Teel is originally from Davenport. He also attended WSU earning a degree in Agronomy. Both owners are looking forward to the upcoming year and what it entails for Tri-State Seed and its growers and customers.

The office is open Monday through Friday 8-5pm. During harvest they are likely to have extended hours for the guys outside and salesman. If you have further questions or would like information on any of their products or services, please call 234-2500 or stop by the office and visit them. The Connell office is located on the north hill as you’re leaving town, above Connell – across from the entrance to CRCC (prison) at 1000 N Columbia Ave. You can also visit their website tristateseed.com for additional information.

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Lep-Re-Kon Harvest Foods

Lep-Re-Kon Harvest Foods is the local grocery store in Connell. They have just about everything you might need and is just a quick stop on your way home. Owned by Joe Montemayor since 2000, the hometown full service grocery store is one of a few in the Columbia Basin Area.

The Connell Lep-Re-Kon, managed by Juan, has 12 full time and 10 part time employees. Montemayor has made improvements over the years and continues to look for areas to improve and expand the store, whether its products/services or the store facilities themselves. He hopes to expand the Connell store again in the near future. Montemayor likes being able to offer the community a place to shop locally for all their grocery needs and serve fresh produce, a full-service deli, bakery and meat counter. Having good food for the community to enjoy and take home to their families is something that is important to Montemayor and all the employees. If you are looking for baked goods, the deli/bakery offers special orders for baked goods and pastries. You can also get lotto tickets, scratch tickets, access the ATM and purchase liquor at the store too.

Lep-Re-Kon puts out a weekly sales ad or specials insert in the local Graphic, highlighting the weekly deals, sales and specials that are happening at all the Lep-Re-Kon locations. While checking out with the cashier, if you need assistance to your vehicle and loading groceries they also offer carry out service – so just ask!

Lep-Re-Kon Harvest Foods is open 7 days a week from 6am to 10pm. The store is located at 620 S Columbia Ave. Their phone number is 234-2491. You can also visit their website harvest foodsnw.com for additional information.

steele computer

Steel Computer Sales & Services

Tim Steele and son, Tyson Steele, are the owners of Steele Computer Sales & Services in Connell. They have been in business since September of 2003. The Grand Opening was on the Saturday of Connell Fall Festival in 2003 – a kickoff of events and a great start to a new local business in town. Tim started the business because computers were a hobby of his that eventually he was invested enough to open up a shop to service other computers and help the community.

Steele Computers sells and repairs all makes and models of both new and refurbished desktop computers, laptops, Mac’s, and more. They are a one stop shop – able to handle everything from virus removal to computer backups, data recovery, forgotten passwords, hardware/screen/battery replacement, setting up new printers, and even making a slow computer fast again. They also sell and repair cell phones and tablets and replace screens on them as well. You can get prepaid cell phone plans through many different carriers there too. They are busy with what they have now but if opportunities come up they may expand and offer more products and services in the future.

Tim also owns the liquor store next door (in the same building) and at times finds it challenging keeping both businesses open when they are both busy at the same time – a good problem to have but with only 2 people working it can be a challenge. The liquor store is open Monday through Saturdays from 10am to 8pm. Tim offers a good selection of liquor, beer, and wine. He will also do special orders for people if they are holding an event or if what they are looking for is not on the shelf. He offers a discount of 10% on 6 bottles or more of wine.

So, if you have questions on your computer, phone or other piece of technology, take it to Steele Computer’s and get it looked at and fixed. You can also call them at 234-4500 for quick questions or to check on availability and lead time. Steele Computers is located at 311 S Columbia Ave just north of the Grange Supply. They are open Monday – Friday 10:00am-5:30pm and Saturdays from 12:00pm to 5:30pm.