1925 Art Hornby moves to Washington from Wisconsin and purchases 80 acres of land. Only 5 acres are cleared at this time.
1928-33 Art makes a go of farming and sells beef, pork, milk and chickens. When the Great Depression hits, most of his food is given away on credit and written off as bad debt. Art decides to start up a more profitable sideline in the moonshine industry. Surprisingly, the same people who bought his food on credit had cash for whiskey and he was able to weather the financial storm.
1933 Art marries Dora Cox. He and his wife use a team of mules and a stump puller to clear the rest of the land. It takes years to finish the daunting task.
1939 James Hornby is born at home, before the doctor could arrive. This sets the tone for the rest of his life because he is always on or ahead of schedule. Growing up on the farm, Jim develops a good work ethic and a love of animals.
1957 Jim goes into the Navy and sees the world beyond Glenoma.
1971 Jim marries Liatris Sweetman, a California school teacher with roots from the farm next door.
March 27, 1974 Arthur Luke Hornby is born, the first of Jim and Liatris’s eventual eight children. Jim farms and works at the sawmill to support his family.
June 1974 Art passes away after having lived long enough to meet his first Hornby grandchild. His wife Dora is left to manage things, but Jim lives about a mile away and helps take care of the farm.
1983 Grandma Hornby re-marries and moves off the farm, and wants her son “Jimmy” to take over the place. Jim gets rid of all but the six best cows, and from them proceed the amazing cattle found on the farm today. They have been bred to have the best traits for this land and these conditions.
1986 The last Hornby child is born, finishing a project started fourteen years earlier.
1983-2007 Jim produces fine animals each year and they are purchased at the livestock auction and sold to feedlots, where they will eventually end up in the supermarket. Meanwhile, Jim’s sons notice that beef prices at auction over the last 25 years have remained stable (or even decreased) while production costs have tripled due to inflation, creating a perilous situation for the farm.
2007 Jim’s middle sons (Mark, Jon, and David), concerned for the farm’s future, decide to take matters into their own hands. They make a plan to take the prime animals produced by the farm and offer them directly to the people that would be most appreciative, both keeping the farm alive and selling good people great beef.
2008 Mark leaves the construction industry to pursue the farm plan full time. He brings his lovely wife Jill and two beautiful girls Lia (2) and Eden (2 mon) to the farm to live.
Jan 7, 2009 A series of massive landslides take out thousands of feet of fence and cover over 30 acres of prime pasture in mud and logging debris. This is a severe setback after months of hard work, and Jon decides to take a sabbatical from his studies at the university to help Mark and his father clean up the farm.
2009 The difficult conditions are stressful for everyone, human and cow alike. Eventually the majority of the debris is removed and most of the fields are replanted. At the end of the year the first animals are ready for market. It is a momentous occasion, marking the first time Hornby beef has been sold directly to the people fortunate enough to eat it.
2010 The website is launched, letting the world know that Sweet Water Farm is operational and ready to serve!
We raise our beef from birth to brisket, overseeing every step of the process. This ensures that things are done right and that no shortcuts are taken that will affect the quality of our product. We know that we have something great to offer, and we are still figuring out the best way to let people know about us. We have a ways to go and much more to learn, but we are certain about the quality of our animals.
We appreciate you taking the time to learn about our land and our family. Please feel free to call or email anytime.
We welcome all visitors who would like to tour the farm. Please use the above link to arrange a visit. Drop-ins are also welcome, but you might have to trek around the back 40 to find where we’re working on any given day!