Sale of Walla Walla County farmland expected to draw national interest

The deadline to snap up 6,000 acres well suited for crops or a destination vineyard is fast approaching.

The Walla Walla County property owned by the Weidert family is northwest of Touchet, straddling Highway 12, about 20 miles from Pasco.

Iowa-based Peoples Company is accepting sealed bids expected to be valued in the millions.

Peoples Company president Steve Bruere said the Weidert family first began assembling the contiguous property about 50 years ago and likely never expected it would grow this large, but “always had a vision for something other than a wheat farm.”

The realtor considers the land to be an unprecedented opportunity for buyers based on its location, water rights, elevation, drainage and slope. In the past, portions of the property have been used for wheat, potatoes and other crops.

Bruere said the land is ideal for permanent crops like grapes, apples or hops.

As part of the two-year process of preparing for the sale, Bruere asked soil scientist and former Washington State University agriculture professor Alan Busacca to profile the land.

“There is nowhere else in Washington state that I know of where the soil over such a large tract of land – several thousand acres – is so uniform and so perfect for perennial crops like tree fruits and grapes,” Busacca said.

The land also is part of the Walla Walla Valley American Viticultural Area. AVAs are designated regions for growing wine grapes and distinguished by geographic features.

The Walla Walla Valley AVA includes four distinct soils, and the soil profile found on thousands of acres within the Weidert farm includes Ellisforde and Sagemoor series soils.

As Walla Walla AVA land became highly sought after, the Weidert family began working with the state Department of Ecology to acquire water rights and installed a state-of-the-art water delivery system, Bruere said.

Additionally, the property is advertised as having an extremely high water-holding capacity. This allows for the potential to grow various permanent crops. The quality of the land’s soil, water and location are key to positioning the property for future development.

During the two years since Bruere first took a helicopter tour of the land, he has been speaking with local farmers, winemakers and investors to spread the word and drum up interest in the property.

Bruere said his real estate company was chosen for the sale due to its national presence and ability to share the listing on a broader level.

“Properties of this quality, value and potential do not become available often,” he said. “With excellent climates suitable for permanent crops, an abundance of productive soils and superior access to water and distribution points, the Weidert property is extremely unique and highly-coveted.”

Bruere said most transactions he handles are straightforward, but this offering presented a new opportunity to think outside the box as a means of properly articulating the listing to the marketplace. Bruere expects the sale to be “one of the larger development deals the area has seen.”

There is no set listing price for the property, which has resulted in the acceptance of sealed bids only.

“The Weiderts wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity and not to put a cap on it,” Bruere said. He would only confirm its value to be in the millions.

The property is owned by Tim and Jennifer Weidert of Pendleton, Oregon. Tim Weidert said the family first bought 50 acres near the highway.

“Over the years, when we were putting this farm together, we always had a vision that it would probably go into permanent crop. And now is going to be the time,” he said.

Bids for the property are due Nov. 10.

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