Lewis County has a long-time heritage of farming and agriculture, with some farmers being the third or fourth generation to grow in Lewis County. For many years, these local farmers and growers have dealt with flooding and natural disasters, loss of processing facilities, and a lack of infrastructure to support agribusiness.
In response to these issues, regional producers formed the Southwest Washington Growers Cooperative to support agricultural development in Southwest Washington. Today, the Cooperative has 31 active members seeking to increase the viability of family farms through collaborative opportunities. These producers worked closely with Northwest Agriculture Business Center (NABC) and WSU Extension and found that grain, especially malting barley, could serve as a viable crop replacement for both growers and buyers. However, infrastructure was still needed to provide storage and facilitate transporting crops to regional buyers, most of whom require rail transport.