At 21, Roy Farmer Is Already a Veteran of the Fields

By Jacob Dimond / jake@yelmonline.com
Posted 8/11/22

Yelm High School graduate and lifelong Roy resident Colton Lester, 21, has completed yet another successful haying season.

Each summer, he tends to his family farm of over 100 years, cutting their …

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At 21, Roy Farmer Is Already a Veteran of the Fields

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Yelm High School graduate and lifelong Roy resident Colton Lester, 21, has completed yet another successful haying season.

Each summer, he tends to his family farm of over 100 years, cutting their hay fields and yielding a successful harvest.

With the whole operation being weather dependent, Lester waits for weeks of dry weather each summer to begin the haying process. According to Lester, the entire process usually takes three to four weeks to complete.

The process begins each summer with equipment preparation, consisting of greasing of the tractors, oil and filter changes, and simply making sure each machine properly runs. Once all the boxes have been checked, each field gets cut down one at a time. The farm itself consists of 200 acres, which is divided into several fields.

Once the hay is cut, it sits for two to three days to dry out. When that process is complete, the hay is tedded, raked and then bailed. After they’re bailed, Lester drives a harrow bed for the bales to be picked up and taken to the barn.

At the end of each summer, Lester has usually yielded six to seven thousand hay bales. He said the farm has already sold out their bales for their summer yield.

“I’ve been doing this for basically 21 years, since I was born. I started off by riding on the tractor — well mainly falling asleep. As I got older, I started to drive the tractor and got more involved,” Lester said during an interview with Nisqually Valley News. “Now, I can pretty much do all of the aspects of it.”

Once all the bales are collected into the barn, customers will have the opportunity to call the farm and place an order. The set order is eventually placed into the shade for customer pickup.

After 21 years of work on the farm, Lester has grown accustomed to loving everyday life in the fields, or with his cows. He said that some of his favorite aspects of farming is being able to get away from the drama of everyday life to tend to his field.

“It’s nice to be able to just get away and clear your head in the tractor,” Lester said.

Aside from cutting, baling and selling hay each summer, Lester also runs his successful “Lester Angus Ranch” business. His grandfather, Jack Kominski, helped him get started with cows, and now Lester maintains his own herd, which consists of over 100 cows.

“My grandpa bought me my first few cows when I was just a couple years old and really helped me get going in that aspect,” Lester said. “He showed me the ropes when I was a kid.”

He added that when he was just 13 or 14, he was learning money management skills and using his own hard-earned money to buy cows and tend to them. Lester’s herd is continuously growing, and he plans to continue adding to it over the next several years. He tends to his cows on a daily basis and does everything from feeding, to watering, to examining them.



Aside from tending to his own herd on the farm, Lester also raises yearlings that eventually go to a feedlot in Eastern Washington where they get fed out, and eventually sent to the store. Lester also sells registered purebreds cows for breeding.

Through his cattle and haying businesses, Lester has been able to build many strong relationships with his customers over the years.

“Building all of these relationships with my customers has been my favorite thing about farming,” Lester said. “When I first started out, I didn’t really know anybody, and now I know people from all over the state, especially Eastern Washington.”

He added that he’s thankful for each relationship, which is unique to each individual.

“When you first meet your customers, they’re just regular people to us. But once that relationship starts to build, they become family,” Lester said. “Building these relationships can be so rewarding, because you never know where they’ll lead or how they’ll grow.”

Lester said that he’s met different customers or associates randomly and developed friendships strong enough to join them for dinner.

The most important life lessons Lester has learned while on the farm always includes hard work and integrity. He said that with farming a handshake is a handshake, and that local farmers always rely on trust with one another.

Farming isn’t as glamorous as television shows or movies may lead it to be, according to Lester. He said that it takes years of hard work to successfully run a farm.

“You gotta have a lot of ambition for it. You have to take care of the animals and the land,” Lester said. “You have to be able to put back into it all, the land, the animals and the farm itself.”

Over the next couple years, Lester plans on taking his own advice by upgrading some of his equipment on the farm. He wants to add more equipment such as scales and handling equipment, and build the future around that.

Lester also wanted to give credit where credit is due. He wanted to thank his grandparents Jack and Candy Kominski for setting him up for success on the farm in his younger years, and teaching him how to tend to the cows and the land. He also wanted to thank Mel and Rebecca Wheeling for guiding him when he first began to raise yearlings.

Learn more about the ranch by visiting https://www.lesterangusranch.com/ or following the business on its Facebook page.

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