Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Josh Steward
Farmer and Owner/Manager, Steward Farms

Harrington, Washington
Farm Credit Affiliation
Northwest Farm Credit Services
Josh's Perspective

Five years ago, Josh Steward had a dream of operating his own farm. Formerly an agricultural and farm equipment salesman, Josh contacted a farmer while still in college and soon leased 2,300 acres of wheat land and purchased all the farm equipment he needed to operate his new farm.

“Growing up around agriculture, I witnessed family and community members working hard to overcome obstacles and accomplish goals, all the while willing to give back to others and the community,” Josh says. “This inspired me to emulate the same behavior, now for my own family who motivate me to always do my best to make them proud as well as set a good example.”

Josh nearly doubled his acreage in just four years. Most of this acreage was formally Conservation Reserve Program ground. By making this land productive again, he brings more money into his local, rural economy as he purchases inputs and hires local businesses for needed services.

Josh takes pride in using sustainable agricultural practices, adhering to the strict Conservation Stewardship Program guidelines promoted by the USDA. This includes reduced tillage practices and methods considering long term benefits to the soil, ensuring it will be productive many years into the future.

“I strive to be a good role model to my children and others, so that they can see that hard work, persistence, kindness and integrity still can and still will pay off in the long run, despite the temptation to take shortcuts,” Josh says. “I also hope to provide my kids the opportunity to return home and raise families of their own on the farm.”

Josh serves as president of the Harrington Public Development Authority which, under his leadership, has recently received a grant to connect hi-speed fiber optic internet to the entire downtown business district. This will make it attractive to businesses that are internet-based and support local economic development.

"I believe the future of agriculture is bright but not absent of obstacles, and that the agriculture industry will need to address issues such as a growing world population, government regulation and public perception,” Josh says. “If these issues are handled appropriately, agriculture will lead the world forward.”

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