Keeping the same piece of ground in agricultural production, under the management of the same family from one generation to a younger generation, is no small task.
Now imagine keeping that land going for more than 100 years through multiple generations.
27 Bar Ranch, in Ashwood, has seen multiple transitions over the years as the younger generations take over for the older ones and those transitions have kept the ranch going strong for nearly 102 years.
On Saturday, in Salem, the Nartz family gathered at a ceremony to receive recognition as one of only three Century Farms in the county.
The Century Farm and Ranch program fields applications each year for ranches and farms around the state that have been owned by the same family for more than 100 years. They also give sesquicentennial recognition for those that have met the same criteria for more than 150 years.
A lengthy application, as well as a family history narrative, must be completed for consideration. Plus, a farm or ranch must meet a list of criteria, including grossing more than $1,000 per year.
The program is about recognizing Oregon agricultural heritage and 27 Bar Ranch has definitely been a legacy for the Nartz family through the generations.
Beginning with William and Sadie Nartz, the ranch was passed to their son J. Willis Nartz in 1953. When he passed away in 1987, the ranch was passed to his son, James (Jim) Nartz, who still owns and works on the land along with his son and daughter, Aaron Nartz and Jody Holmes, and Holmes's husband, John.
Today, three generations reside on the ranch, including the grandchildren of Jim Nartz, who make up the fifth generation.
Not only has the family kept the ranch going strong for the last 100 years, but they have added to it dramatically, with the original ranch consisting of 1,520 acres and today spanning 9,337.
The day to day of agricultural life changes often as with the seasons, making it a lifestyle and not your average day job.
The ranch primarly raises cattle now, or more specifically, black Angus-cross cattle, selling the yearlings each year. However, at one point, the herd was made up mainly of Herefords.
Hay has been a staple of the ranch from the beginning, grown to feed the livestock, though for quite a while, the land grew large amounts of wheat as well before the transition to cattle.
At Saturday's ceremony, in Salem, 14 members of the family attended to receive the certificate recognizing the ranch as a new Century Farm — including some members of the fifth generation.
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