The operation of college farms is a marvelous story in itself. For many decades, leading farmers of the region, both alumni and non-alumni, have donated vast amounts of time and talent to the highly successful operation of our farms. The volunteer members of the Farm Committee, working with the treasurer of the college, select tenants to manage the various properties and then maintain close relationships with the tenants throughout each year. Several tenants and their descendants have operated college farms for generations.
The Farm Committee manages a total of 15 farms and approximately 21,200 acres in four counties. Whitman farms generate crucial earnings used for student support and important college projects. Although a non-profit organization, the college must pay property taxes to local counties, which helps to support the region. The Farm Committee's good stewardship and responsible management assure the farm community that Whitman farms will be producing abundant crops for many generations to come.
In addition to the traditional crops of eastern Washington and Oregon, Whitman now receives income from wind power generated by turbines on the Braden Farm. Whitman partnered with FPL Energy to allow FPL to construct wind turbines on the Braden Farm as part of the larger Van Sycle project. Whitman now receives royalty payments from the energy produced by the 62 turbines and still farms the Braden farm as well.