Second & third generation farmers serve as industry leaders - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Second & third generation farmers serve as industry leaders

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YAKIMA, WA – From the earliest vintages until today, the Yakima Valley has grown more grapes for Washington wineries than any other appellation. With such a rich history of growing, farming families here now represent three generations of experience with this remarkable land and how to cultivate it.  Today, the second and third generation farmers are sharing their knowledge in leadership roles throughout the state and beyond.

Knowledge runs deep in the veins of Todd Newhouse, who grows grapes, cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, prunes, pears, and apples in the Yakima Valley. His family began farming alfalfa here in 1913. Newhouse, a third generation grape grower from the Valley serves the wine grape growing industry as a young talented leader. He was elected Chairman of the Winegrape Growers of America (WGA) last month. He also serves as the Board Chair for the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and was named the 2016 Honorary Grower of the Year by the Auction of Washington Wine.

Growth and change are constant for Brenton Roy, a diversified farmer growing hops, grapes, and apples in the Valley. When Roy took over his family’s Prosser farm, the apple and hop markets were depressed and the orchards were outdated. The wine grapes were the “shiniest crop” the farm had in the ground. He was 25 years old, his parents had just moved off the farm, leaving it to him. Today, Roy lives in the house where he grew up, overlooking a farm that he has tripled in size and modernized with new varieties, new crops, and new growing techniques. Roy too serves his industry as a leader. He was appointed Board Chairman of the Washington State Wine Commission in June after serving as the Vice Chair for the past two years. He was also named the 2015 Grower of the Year by Good Fruit Grower magazine, a trade magazine focused on farming.

Newhouse and Roy have deep farming roots growing up in the Yakima Valley, and they both attended small, liberal arts colleges. Roy went to Gonzaga University in Spokane, where he earned degrees in history and philosophy, and Newhouse attended Whitman College in Walla Walla studying history, philosophy and anthropology.

The success of these two talented grape growers is drawn from decades of experience refining the land and supporting world class viticulture.