Lease San Juan County Land Bank Land to Graze, Hay on San Juan Island

Beaverton Marsh Preserve

From San Juan County Land Bank

If you frequent Roche Harbor Road, passing by the Land Bank’s Beaverton Marsh Preserve, you’ve probably noticed some different agricultural activities happening in the roadside fields lately.

That’s because these pastures are transitioning from annual hay harvest to a seasonal grazing operation.

San Juan Island rancher Mike Sundstrom has decided he doesn’t need the extra hay anymore, and the Shephard family has been selected for a two-year farm lease for seasonal grazing.

The Shephard’s will bring in a flock of sheep to rotate through the pastures using portable electric fencing. In preparation, the pastures have been trimmed to extend the grass growing season.


In addition, you may see flagging and odd mowing patterns mid-field. These areas are Washington State University Extension research plots.

Research is focused on soil amendment applications and no-till seeding trials, with the goal of providing useful pasture management information and recommendations to San Juan County farmers and landowners.

Looking for Long-term Leasee

During this lease period, the Land Bank intends to develop a Request for Proposals for a long-term farm lease(s).

In preparation for doing so, they will be looking closely at the agricultural resources and infrastructure needs, including soils, water resources, fencing, and access.

If water resources allow, there is potential for more than one type of farming operation, perhaps a small-scale row crop production or orchard area in combination with grazing or haying.

If you are interested in
learning more about future farmland lease opportunities, contact Charlie Behnke at

The San Juan County Land Bank is a local land conservation program, created by voters in 1990, and funded by a 1% real estate excise tax paid by purchasers of property in San Juan County.

Posted on June 22, 2021 at 5:30 am by

Categories: Environment, Nature

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