Document 5: Farming in the Inland Empire

Spokane Chamber of Commerce. A Farm Home For You in the Inland Empire (Spokane: Chamber of Commerce, c. 1930?), 3-4, 8-9.
Pacific Northwest Collections, University of Washington Libraries.

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This booklet, a publication of the Agricultural Committee of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce, presents general information of the farming of the Inland Empire. Opportunities for home seekers are numerous in this rich agricultural domain, and this booklet is give to you to aid in your study of the various districts and the types of agriculture, typical of these districts.

The Columbia Basin, the world’s largest irrigation project, offers unlimited opportunities to experience and industrious farmers, interested in establishing their farm home on new and fertile land in a new district.

No reference is made in this publication to land costs, which vary greatly throughout the area. Some lands can be secured at low cost while other land requires substantial investment.

After you have studied the information presented here, feel free to call on the Agricultural Committee of the Spokane Chamber of Commerce for any additional information you may desire.

A Better Place to Live, Play

To the farmer seeking to better his condition and to establish a finer standard of living for himself and his family, the Inland Empire offers outstanding opportunity…

Here 52,000 farm families, till the soil, harvest crops in abundance and enjoy life in true Pacific Northwest fashion.

Farm Incomes High

Their farm incomes are 50 above the nation’s average. This higher farm income and the prosperity which accompanies it is reflected in many ways. Automobile ownership is 26.5 percent higher than the nation’s average among these farmers. Motor truck ownership is 46.3 percent higher.

Almost all crops are above the U.S. average. Wheat yields, per acre are 54.2 percent above the national average. Dairy cows produce 21.7 more than the U.S. average; wool production is 26.5 percent, per fleece, above the average and egg production is 32 percent per hen greater than the nation’s average.

Many types of agriculture are followed in the Inland Empire. The farms vary from the small, but highly productive garden and berry farms to the highly mechanized wheat ranches often comprising several thousand acres under one ownership. They include the diversified farms, the poultry farms and the vast beef producing acres.

Irrigation is practiced in many districts.

Climate is an Asset

The climate is temperate, with but seldom extremes in either winter or summer. Spokane’s climate is probably typical of the entire area. Spokane’s annual mean temperature is 48 degrees; the summer mean is 67 degrees; while the winter mean is 30 degrees…

More than 85 percent of the Inland Empire population is American born. Predominating nationalities among the foreign born are Scandinavians. About 99percent of the population is white.

Improved Highways

Hard surfaced highways from the arterials to all portions of the Inland Empire. Hundred of miles of paved highway are included. The majority of the lateral roads have gravel surface and many of them are oiled.

Five transcontinental railroads converge at Spokane and serve the Inland Empire. These include the Northern Pacific; the Great Northern; Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul and Pacific; Union Pacific and the Canadian Pacific which serve Spokane and Northern Idaho by the Spokane International Railroad…

Scenic Lakes Attract

Within a radius of 50 miles from Spokane are 57 lakes and numerous streams, which offer some of the country’s finest fishing, boating, bathing and other vacation attractions. Vacation facilities vary and in this variation have attractions within the reach of every purse.

Public camp grounds with facilities for cooking and camping are maintained at lakes in the National and State parks and forest areas. Cottages and cabins are available at the public resorts and a large number of people own their own lake cottages.

Birds and game are found in abundance. Upland birds and ducks attract hunters in all parts of the district. Deer and other big game hunting each fall attract hundreds of hunters to the hills and mountain areas.

The region reaches its climax scenically in the grandeur of its National Parks. Five of the United States and Canadian National Parks are within an easy drive of the Inland Empire. These include: Yellowstone, Glacier, Mt. Rainier and Crate Lakes parks and the Banff-Lake Louise scenic wonderland in the Canadian Rockies.

Electricity in Abundance

No where in the United States is hydro-electric power produced in such an abundance as in the Pacific Northwest. Grand Coulee Dam, located 90 miles west of Spokane, when operated at peak capacity, will have the greatest power development possible on the North American continent, a total installed power capacity of 2,742,200 hp.

On the Spokane river, within a radius of 30 miles from Spokane, are six hydro-electric plants with installed capacity of 183,000 hp, owned and operated by the Washington Water Power Company, the utility serving Spokane and vicinity. This company’s totaled installed generating capacity is 276,640 hp.

Private utility companies maintain a series of dams and generating facilities and the output of these and the government plants are lined together in the Northwest Power Pool for the distribution of electric energy throughout the Pacific Northwest.

The private utilities and an number of rural electrification associations supply power to towns and many of the rural districts. Farmers use electricity liberally, thus lightening the burdens of farm work.

Electrification of farms in the Inland Empire is more than 30 percent greater than the national average. In Washington state more than 95 percent of the farms are accessible to power lines. Consequently the use of electric ranges, electric refrigerators, power pumps, feed grinders and other appliances is among the highest in the country.

Many Basic Resources

Basic resources of the Inland Empire are: agriculture, lumbering, mining and manufacturing. The processing of food products from the farms is a major manufacturing industry…

Spokane is one of the principal centers of the mining industry in the nation. The district near Wallace Idaho, known throughout the nation at the Coeur d’Alenes, is one of the richest commercial mining areas in America. Another heavy producer is the Metaline area, north of Spokane and near the Canadian boundary.

More than one-third of the nation’s lead; one-fourth of the nation’s silver; one-fourth of the nation’s copper and one-eighth of the nation’s gold in addition to large quantities of other important minerals are produced in the Inland Empire. Among these are magnesite, mica, manganese, molybdenum, antimony, asbestos, arsenic, cadmium, bismuth, cobalt, nickel, quicksilver, tin, tungsten, graphite, gypsum, coal, industrial stone and ceramic clays.

Industrial Spokane

Rapid industrial gains have occurred in the last few years in the Inland Empire. Spokane in particular, has become an industrial center of note.

The largest aluminum rolling mill in the west is located at Spokane. Here also is located one of the largest aluminum reduction plants. Both of these industries were located in Spokane, because of the availability of largest quantities of low-coast electric power.

Machinery of various types are produced in Spokane. Included are several types of agricultural implements, especially adapted to the needs of Inland Empire farmers. Other farm implements are manufactured at other points in the Inland Empire.

The processing of food products is a major industry. Meat packing plants are operated in Spokane by Armour & co., Swift & co., and by the Carsten Packing Co., in addition to several packing plants operated by independent operators. The Old Union Stockyards at Spokane provides a market for livestock from throughout the trade territory.

The Sperry division of General Mills, Centennial Milling Company, and Spokane Flour Mills have large flour mills at Spokane. Other large scale milling operations are conducted at Cheney, Washington, and at Lewiston, Idaho. There are a number a cereal and feed mills throughout the district…

Farmers in Aviation

The Flying Farmers’ movement is well established and is encouraging the use of air craft among farmers. Many Inland Empire farmers now own and operate their own airplanes, using them for transportation between farm and city and as a general utility craft as well as for pleasure.

Nearly all towns and communities of the area have landing fields and many of the larger farms boast of their own landing strips.

Center for the Study of the Pacific Northwest