Tieton farmer achieves his dream with help from a federal loan

TIETON, WA - There is a lot at stake for every farmer in our region; success is never guaranteed. One Tieton farmer is realizing his dream to own his own orchard.

Ranferi Arteaga has spent more than ten years working on farms, starting off as a helper...thinning, pruning, and picking.

"It makes me feel pretty good," Arteaga said. "It took me about 15 years to get where I am, or a little bit more, but I'm really happy where I am."

Now he's the boss...in charge of more than 30 acres of apples in Tieton. 

Arteaga is known as a "Beginning Farmer", receiving targeted farm loans by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Washington Farm Service Agency. With the money, Arteaga bought his property.

"And also it helped me to run my property," Arteaga explained. "It has helped me for the last four years. I also got some money to buy my equipment."

He also grows pears on dozens of acres in Zillah, and knows what's at stake for him as a farm owner.

"It took a while, though, to get where I am," he admitted, "and I do realize though that in my first stage as a beginning farmer the possibilities to go down are huge."

Arteaga produces about 200 bins of Red, Honeycrisp, and Gala apples a year. His dream to run his own orchard was made possible by FSA, and now he's paying it forward even more.

"The people that have worked for me, well, actually I worked with them first and they're working for me now," said Arteaga. "It's really nice to know that I've got something for them and that I'm helping them to get money for their families."

Dozens of farmers like Arteaga benefit from these federal loans, including women and other people of color.

Last year, Washington FSA provided more than $35 million in loans to beginning farmers and ranchers.

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