Lewis County PUD provides wood chips to a local farm that serves the community.

Chehalis, WA – The Lewis County Public Utility District (PUD) recently teamed up with a Glenoma farm by recycling wood chips to help serve the community.

Mark and Noël Bates of Rainy Glen Farms/Bates Family Foods serve the entire east Lewis County area with farm-fresh vegetables and wholesome, nutritious foods. They also give back to their community—in 2022 the farm donated 2,000 lbs. of fresh produce to the Randle Food Bank.

The PUD serves the community through the delivery of safe, reliable, at-cost electricity, which means a significant amount of work keeping the power lines free of vegetation growth and other environmental hazards.  The PUD’s tree trimming crew’s work is never-ending, but one crew, led by Kodie Baker, found an opportunity to add additional value to the community by providing the Bates with a half dozen wood chip drops derived from vegetation management work along the highway and other nearby roads.

“When we explained our needs to Kodie and his crew, bam, it happened. Chips appeared! This is a perfect example of an ideal customer-service-based model of public and private partnership,” said Mark Bates.

The Bates said they learned about the functionality of wood chips for water conservation, and their ability to reduce noxious weeds as mulch on our farm fields and orchards at a small farm symposium last year run provided by a Washington State Noxious Weed Control Board expert.

According to the Bates, they can now grow more food to help feed a hungry America because of the wood chips that the PUD provided.

“It’s stories like these that make me proud to be a commissioner for such a great organization that always embodies being there for the community and being at your service,” said PUD Commissioner and Board President Ed Rothlin. “This is just another example of how our crews’ hard work benefits everyone they work with.”

The Bates said they look forward to working even more closely with the PUD in the future.

About Lewis County Public Utility District

Lewis County PUD is a community-owned, locally governed utility providing power services and telecommunications infrastructure to approximately 35,000 customers throughout most of Lewis County and adjacent communities.