WaSHI Soil Health Ambassadors

The WaSHI Soil Health Ambassador program works to highlight excellent soil stewards who have adopted soil health practices. Each ambassador has worked with WaSHI staff to create a short video and article that highlights their practices. The ambassadors also serve as mentors for producers who may have questions about practices adoption.

Innovative producers sharing their experience with peers

Soil Health Ambassador: Casey Vetsch—Biochar in Orchards

June 13, 2024

Quality Assurance Specialist, Casey Vetsch has been working with apples and cherries for the past four years. Casey helps manage approximately 7000 acres of orchard in the Yakima Valley.

Announcing the 2023 Producer of the Year Award Winner: Clay and Rachel Hutchens

March 13, 2024
A farmer in a cap and plaid shirt examines soil in a lush field with a black dog sitting nearby.

Clay and Rachel, winners of the 2023 WaSHI Producer of the Year Award, are very thoughtful and intentional in the way they farm. Focusing on managing residue in ways that work for the land in the years to come and prioritize using a diverse crop rotation to improve crop yields and better manage soil nutrients and organic matter.

Soil Health Ambassador: Kesler Farms — Pasture Intercropping

December 13, 2023
A tractor is mowing the grass in a field.

Intercropping is frequently done in row crops, with two or more crops planted together. The Kesler’s have adopted the practice to improve their grass hay pasture. Intercropping benefits the soil by utilizing multiple species that provide different resources and nutrient demands and input than the main crop.

Producer Spotlight: Blue Slate Ranch — Bale Grazing

September 18, 2023
cows in a field.

Bale grazing is a method of feeding livestock during the winter. Bales are placed across a pasture or paddock rather than in one location

three people walking in a field at sunset.

WaSHI Producer of the Year Award

The WaSHI Producer of the Year Award will be awarded annually to a farmer or rancher dedicated to protecting soils and improving soil health. This award is an effort to recognize and promote on-farm conservation practices, innovation, and community leadership.


  • Candidates must farm in Washington and derive the majority of their income from agricultural production.
  • Candidates must have a demonstrated track record of using on-farm conservation practices and working to protect and improve soil health.
  • Candidates must demonstrate leadership of soil health within their community.
  • Candidates can be individuals, couples, or families farming in partnership.


The winner will be announced publicly at SoilCon—the annual, virtual WaSHI conference—in February. Winners will receive:

  • A farmer spotlight video and article in the quarterly WaSHI newsletter
  • A free soil sample analysis and customized soil health report
  • A WaSHI award placard
  • Become a part of the WaSHI Soil Health Ambassador Program

Nomination process

  • Neighbors, friends, family, or other entities may nominate a farmer or rancher.
  • Candidates may self-nominate.
  • Nominees who do not receive the award are encouraged to re-submit in the following years.
  • Up to three finalists will be notified in mid-July to schedule a site visit.