Meet Our Growerst: Kaelin Family
Grower Connect: Kaelin Family
Meet the Kaelin family, our local growers in the Pacific Northwest who cultivate wheat for the area.
To truly understand the impact of your food, you need to understand each step of its production. That’s why we’re connected from grower to consumer. In Spokane, Washington, that means working with wheat growers, cooperatives, distributors, and bakers in the Pacific Northwest.
Kevin and Cindy Kaelin started their own farm in Spokane, Washington, 38 years ago. They didn’t have the fortune of inheriting a family farm that had been passed down for generations. Instead, Kevin worked to secure 3,600 acres to begin his dream of working the land.
“You’ve got to really want to do it and have the drive for it,” Kevin explained. “I got fortunate to get the leases. I knew the men, and I guess they believed in me and what I was doing.”
Kevin has been farming since high school—working on a neighbor’s farm until he could start his own. And, it’s rarely easy. The stress of running a business and managing the mountains of paperwork that goes along with it can be taxing on him and his wife Cindy. But at the end of a long day, it’s all about the satisfaction of growing high-quality crops. And to him, the soil is the most important part.
“The soil is something you can’t build,” he said, as he talked about his philosophy of land stewardship and his commitment to protecting his farm. “It’s here once and then it’s done, and when it washes down the creek, it’s all over.” That’s why proper land management is so important.
The livelihood of his family depends on his ability to take care of his land and to provide a quality crop to local mills. But it goes beyond responsibility for Kevin—farming is his life. Farmers like Kevin are passionate about the work they do. “The farm means an awful lot to me. People say I ought to retire, but I don’t know what I’d do,” he said.
Once the wheat leaves Kevin and Cindy’s farm, it’s sent to the ADM milling facility in Spokane. “It opened our eyes to see what is on the other end,” said Kevin after a visit to the mill. “Going to see the machines that clean the wheat…it’s quite the set up.”
The Spokane milling facility has been a fixture of eastern Washington for 76 years. With an eye on the local community, the mill employs approximately 60 people and produces flour for bakeries in the area.
An agricultural co-op allows farmers to pool their resources and farm jointly. In the Pacific Northwest, ADM has partnered with local cooperatives as well as a not-for-profit organization composed of growers, millers and end-users. These partnerships help local grain farmers maximize production and increase end-user quality.
Once the wheat arrives at the mill, it’s made into flour. This flour is sold to local bakeries, retail outlets and distributors in the Pacific Northwest.