Wheat builds schools, too

spring wheat
Winter wheat is planted in the fall, goes dormant during the winter, and emerges from dormancy the following spring. Photo: DNR.

There’s more than trees growing on the 3.1 million acres of state-owned uplands managed by DNR. About 1.2 million acres are leased to farmers, ranchers, orchardists — even wine producers — whose lease payments to DNR are a steady source of non-tax revenue for public school construction, state universities and other beneficiaries of state trust lands.

What’s coming up now across large areas of eastern Washington state is wheat — winter wheat to be exact — and lots of it. In fact, Washington is among the nation’s top three wheat producing states along with Kansas and Oklahoma. As a recent article by the Washington Grain Commission explains, DNR-managed lands are a big part of that production. We currently lease 187,000 acres (through 639 leases) to wheat farmers, much of it in Whitman, Adams, Douglas and Lincoln counties. Dryland leases generated $4 million last year, part of the $21 million that DNR-managed agricultural and grazing lands contributed to the $161.9 million the department distributed last year to the various trust land beneficiaries.

Leases of all types of DNR-managed agricultural lands can be viewed in the department’s Lease Opportunity Viewer.

View the 2015 DNR Annual Report.