Popular farm may be turned into wetland

05:38 PM PST on Wednesday, March 2, 2005


MARYSVILLE, Wash. -- For close to 60 years, Biringer Farm has been a popular destination for families. Now it could literally find itself underwater.

The Biringer family has been farming in the Marysville area since 1948. For the past 20 years, they've been farming on a particular piece of land adjacent to I-5. Within the next two years there is a good chance it could be turned into wetlands.

Mike and Dianna Biringer have dedicated their lives to farming. They have created a farm that not only produces well-known berries, it's become a popular destination. In the summer it's the annual Pig Out, and in the fall people flock to the widly popular corn maze.

"Mike loves the soil, it's probably his second love after me," Dianna said.

The farm has been a popular rural destination for decades.
For decades hundreds of people have relied on the farm for work.

"The pickers that have grown up now are now bankers and lawyers, and when they come back and talk to us, I remind them that we taught them how to work, laughed Dianna.

In 1993, the Biringers sold their 350-acre farm to the Port of Everett. Instead of owning the land, they began leasing it from the port. That sale could now mean the end to the farm.

"We're at the point that they may want to use it for what they originally bought it for," Mike said.

The port wants to breach the dike, allowing the Snohomish river to flood the farm and create wetlands.

This would "really create some pretty fabulous habitat, especially for other fishes and salmon but also for birds and crab and heron, said John Mohr of the Port of Everett. It's going to be a really great project."

Although the Biringers have been aware of this possibility for years, its still hard to accept.

"Weve been here a long time and you become attached to the property," Mike said.

The Biringers plan to ask the port if they can continue to farm a portion of the land. Port officials say it's too early to know if that's feasible. Commissioners are scheduled to vote on the wetlands plan next Tuesday.

The Biringers say if they can't stay, they'll find a way to still be a presence in the community.



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