As the youngest of six children born to Arbra and Margaretta Zimmerman, Bill excelled in school, graduating from Battle Ground High School in 1971 as the Vice-President of the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Bill continued his FFA project building it into what is now Bi-Zi Farms. He began by raising hogs, a few cattle and doing custom haying on the side. His business began to grow by leaps and bounds.
Shortly after graduating High School and due to the military draft, Bill joined the U. S. Army Reserves where he honorably served for six years. This was a difficult time as the Army never consulted with him before ordering him away during key farm seasons.
After dating for several years, Bill married Peggy Tribe, a Hockinson native, in May of 1974. Later that week Bill bought Peggy her wedding gift; a new tractor and baler… They soon began a family, giving birth to their first child, Joe, in 1975 and their second, Amy, in 1976. Their youngest son, Doug, was born in 1978. Bill took a position with a Hazel Dell tractor dealership and returned to custom farming for additional income.
In 1981 agriculture appeared to have a positive outlook, so Bill and Peggy decided to make farming their sole source of income. Bill quit his job at the tractor dealership, sold all of his hay equipment and focused all of his efforts on raising cereal grains (oats, barley and wheat) and clover seed. It was also at this time that Peggy suggested that they create a business name and proposed Bi-Zi (pronounced “busy”) Farms; Bi for Bill and Zi for Zimmerman.
Although things looked up in 1981, by 1984 they were looking very, very down. If not for one fateful August day, Bi-Zi Farms may have been bankrupt. Bill was approached by a local racehorse owner and asked to sell his oats in 80 pound bags. They leapt at the opportunity. Throughout the 1980’s and 90’s Bi-Zi Farms grew oats and clover seed while operating a horse feed sales and delivery business at Portland Meadows and Longacres in Seattle selling feed, hay & straw.
In 1993, as a High School freshman, Doug Zimmerman asked to use some acreage (which is now the parking lot east of the store) to raise sweet corn. With help from his grandma, Margaretta Zimmerman, he sold his product off the front porch of the family’s manufactured home. His first year brought him enough profit to buy a computer. After several years, each better than the last, Bill and Doug joined forces, deciding to expand Bi-Zi Farms with strawberries and a few other vegetables besides sweet corn.
In October 1996, Bi-Zi Farms had their first Pumpkin Patch. It consisted of a single wagon that would take people to and from the field and an animal petting area with a few animals. The store was nothing more than a small canopy with a picnic table for a counter. Since that time the farm has seen tremendous growth, expanding several times and moving in to new products such as flower baskets and reselling cut Christmas trees.
To see what the Bill envisions for the future, click HERE!