AgForestry is lucky to have many family branches who have gone through the leadership program. One of those families is the Brinks of Pomeroy Farm in Yacolt, Washington. Bob (Class 19) and son, Dan (Class 35) represent the 4th and 5th generations to live and work the land that E C Pomeroy originally purchased in 1910. In 1982, Bob and Jane Brink picked up and moved their kids to the family farm, 6 years later they opened the Pomeroy Living History Farm. Bob had been an educator and felt like there was a big disconnect with younger generations in the understanding of where their food comes from. So, the Brinks took the farm back to the pre-electrical 1920s and turned it into an educational living farm. In normal years, the farm hosts tours for approximately 3,000 local school children to teach about how people in the Pacific Northwest lived 100 years ago, and where their food comes from.
Pomeroy Farm also operates a working tree farm spanning 677 acres. Bob recalled that after his time in AgForestry, he felt a strong desire (guilt) to give back to the community. This led him to become the President of Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) shortly after graduation. Bob and Dan are now the President and Vice-President respectively, of the Clark County Chapter of WFFA. They work closely with their very active 11-member board and chapter to grow over 70,000 seedlings annually, which are sold to WFFA members at cost. They also host a popular sale to the public, which sells out yearly and allows the chapter to award college scholarships in forestry and support area high school forestry programs.
When Dan went through AgForestry with Class 35, he was just branching out into the wine industry. One of the biggest lessons he learned from the program was the significance of building connections and networking. Fellow class member Kerry Shiels, and alums Kevin Judkins (Class 33) and Co Dinn (Class 38), along with others, have made a lasting impact on his journey of opening Pomeroy Cellars.
Dan says the forestry industry is often looked down upon, but that being able to educate fellow class members that forestry is similar to crop farming, just with a much longer harvest cycle, really helps people to see forestry in a better light. Bob agrees that the natural resource industries are terribly misunderstood. Through AgForestry, he learned how government works and the importance of building relationships with people ‘on the other side’ to break down differences and, at least, gain a better appreciation of the opposing person’s view.
Pomeroy Tree Farm was recently nominated for the 2020 Washington State Tree Farmer of the Year. Click here to see a video about the farm.