The vast majority of the folks who desired to settle in the West were looking for opportunities to own their own land and raise crops to support their families. The fertile Willamette Valley with its mild climate and ample water supply drew many from the eastern United States as well as those from much farther away. Recently we spoke with Greg & Judy (Ditchen) Bennett whose family has been farming onions and other crops in the Lake Labish/Labish Center area of northeast of Salem for five generations.
Family farms have grown into modern businesses, "manufacturing plants without walls," as Greg puts it, utilizing all the management and marketing skills of any other industry. Trade organizations focusing on specific crops have developed, providing support in many forms for their members. The Bennetts are very active in the National Onion Association, as well as Future Farmers of America (FFA) and other local organizations promoting agricultural opportunities for youth.