My name is Jake Madison and my family is the fourth generation to operate Madison Ranches in Echo, Oregon. We have grown from a 160-acre dryland wheat homestead in 1914 to a diversified and very efficient, deficit-irrigated farm. Our crops include soft white seed wheat, corn, seed corn, alfalfa, canola and potatoes. Our potatoes end up at a coop that provides fries and baked potatoes to fast food establishments such as Five Guys Burgers and Wendy’s.
Most of our wheat is seed wheat that we clean and sell to neighbors and other wheat growers in several states. Our canola is processed by Family Generation Foods and sold as virgin cold-pressed canola oil in six different flavors, Garlic, Lemon, Basil, Adobo spice, Habanero, and Original. The seed corn we grow is processed locally here in Hermiston by Pioneer, while our grain corn is sent to be fed to the Country Natural Beef program. We also lease ground out for grass seed, peas, beans, sunflowers, sweet corn and cattle pasture for the Country Natural Beef program. Pretty much everything we grow is processed locally.
Madison Ranches is a deficit-irrigated farm, using 30 percent of the flow that a fully irrigated farm would use. Our crop rotation is managed in a way that helps us make up for our lack of water with lower-valued, lower water-use crops strategically located in combination with higher- value, higher water-use crops.
Most of our water is pumped over twenty miles out of the Columbia River. Declining ground water levels have kept our deep well shut off for over 20 years, so we designed and constructed the world’s first agricultural ASR (Artificial Storage and Recovery) well. This allows us to take excess winter runoff from Butter Creek, apply it to designated recharge basins and recharge the shallow alluvial ground water. Downstream we pick the water back up via drain tile, treat it, and pump it back down into our well for use during the hottest summer months. We are constantly adapting to new innovative technologies, crops, value added opportunities, and environmentally friendly practices and we are proud to be part of Oregon agriculture.