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A Dairy Farm In Elma Redefines The Meaning Of Family

"I don't have any need to have things to follow bloodlines. That's never been important to me. DNA is DNA, but my family is the people that surround me," said Jenny Goeres.

Out in Elma, Washington, there’s a modest dairy farm, set against the backdrop of low hills and the cooling towers of the defunct Satsop nuclear power plant. On the farm, cows are doing what cows do.

Jose Torres owns the place. But that wasn’t always the case. Jose started out as an ordinary farm worker, when this farm was owned by Bill Goeres. Bill’s father farmed around here, and so did his grandfather. But eventually, Bill became sick. He had to make a decision as to whom he would pass on this land and this way of life.

In the end, Bill didn’t give it to his children. He gave it to Jose. Bill had encouraged his children to become school teachers, and found an eager student in Jose.

Click on the audio for the full story above, and hear how Bill’s wife, Jenny, explains how Jose became part of their family starting more than 20 years ago when Jose was new and barely spoke English. You’ll also hear how Jose found a father figure in Bill, and how that was one of the inspirations to follow in Bill’s footsteps.

Kevin Kniestedt is a journalist, host and producer who began his career at KNKX in 2003. Over his 17 years with the station, he worked as a full time jazz host, a news host and produced the weekly show Sound Effect. Kevin has conducted or produced hundreds of interviews, has won local and national awards for newscasts and commentary.
Gabriel Spitzer is a former KNKX reporter, producer and host who covered science and health and worked on the show Sound Effect.