Co-op Member Spotlight: 5-H Farms, LLC

Joe & Ashley Hynes, 5-H Farms, LLC

5-H Farms, LLC is involved in all sides of agriculture, from hauling and distribution to custom harvesting; all while farming their own acreage of diversified crops. Located on the outskirts of Salem, OR, owners Joe and Ashley Hynes share a love of farming. Joe is the fifth generation to farm in the Willamette Valley, with his dad’s family homestead along Howell Prairie dating back to 1889.

In 2011, at age 21, Joe started with one truck and a squeeze, custom harvesting and hauling straw in the summertime for local farmers. By the end of that summer, he had enough money to rent 65 acres from his grandma to grow wheat. The next year he ran two trucks. And that’s how their farming enterprise grew, through hard work and resilience.

Ashley grew-up in Escalon, CA, and graduated from CSU, Chico with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Business and the young couple met through their grandparents, whom had been friends for many years. They married in 2016 and have been focused on growing their business together ever since. Ashley does most of the bookwork and handles the majority of truck dispatching, which consists of seven full-time employees, including Joe’s dad, and a few seasonal workers as needed.

They truck in three different industries: construction, landscape, and agriculture. “Keeping our customers happy is very important, and we’re not very good at saying no,” Joe said. “So even if we get a call at 8pm at night from a customer that needs something moved tomorrow, we can get it done. I think that’s what has really helped grow our business,” he added. “We help solve problems for other people.” Ashley adds, “We feel very blessed to have made such great business relationships over the years that have also turned into really great friendships.”

They rely on Wilco for their petroleum needs, both in their trucking company and their farming operation, which consists of planting, growing, and harvesting grass seed, wheat, sweet corn, and cauliflower. While grass seed remains their primary focus, they are looking to transition into growing more row crops and see a lot of opportunity for smaller growers. In May of 2023, they planted cane berries, which won’t have a first crop ready to harvest until 2025. They continue to do a lot of trucking, fertilizing and custom harvesting for other farmers in the area.

“I always knew I wanted to farm,” Joe said. “The challenge of it, the logistics and economics of it, all of it,” Joe added. “It’s not as easy as throwing seed in the ground and hoping it grows. We have to do the best we can, with the amount of land and time we have, all while factoring in the weather, which can be our biggest challenge.” He noted the dry summer as an example of how quickly crops can be adversely affected and how challenging it can be to have the manpower to cover it all. “We have a really good crew, so once we got irrigation setup the guys really took it upon themselves to make sure the water was being kept up,” Joe said.

The Hynes are supportive of FFA and try to hire a high school student each summer to train the next generation, sharing their knowledge and love of agriculture and teaching them about their farming operation. “We’ve never been afraid to jump at opportunities, and that has benefited our business,” Joe said. “If we have the manpower and capability to get it done, we’ll do it.”