Jefferson County gains two century farms
Two Jefferson County families have been honored as part of the Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program, administered through the Oregon Farm Bureau Foundation for Education.
Klann Farms, which was founded in 1905 by Seth Luelling, and is now run by the Klann family, descendants of Luelling, and 27 Bar Ranch, founded in 1917 by William (Bill) Nartz in 1917, and now run by his grandson, James Nartz.
The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program, one of the oldest agricultural heritage programs in the nation, this year honored 15 families with Oregon Century Farm or Ranch status for remaining operational and within the same family for at least 100 years. Another five farms reached sesquicentennial status for reaching the 150-year milestone.
The families, from 15 counties across the state, bring the total number of Oregon Century Farms and Ranches to 1,227 and Sesquicentennial Farms and Ranches to 46.
Henderson Luelling first came to Oregon by covered wagon in 1847 with two wagons filled with grafted fruit trees. Only half of them (700 total) survived the journey.
Luelling established an orchard on 100 acres near Milwaukie, Oregon, and sold his fruit for top dollar in Portland. His fruit trees became the parent stock of most of the orchards in the Willamette Valley. Luelling is considered the father of the Pacific Northwest fruit industry.
In 1904, Henderson's grandson, Seth Luelling, along with wife, Cora, and four children, headed east of the Cascades and arrived on Oct. 10, 1904, to establish a farm north of Madras as part of the Homestead Act. Seth Luelling immediately went out looking for land to file a claim on and filed his claim in June 1905 on 160 acres.
The Luellings raised cattle, wheat, potatoes and chickens. In 1919, Seth and Cora Luelling bought an adjoining half section (320 acres) from the Davis family, who were also homesteaders. By 1929, Luelling had acquired 1,200 acres of tillable land.
In 1948, the North Unit Irrigation Project was finished and the land was transformed to be able to raise more diverse crops, such as clover and grass seed, mint, garlic sets and vegetable seeds.
Over the years, some of the ground has been sold, purchased back and new parcels bought. Luelling's sons, Lloyd, Chester, Roy and Johnnie Luelling, daughter, Ellen Luelling Klann, grandsons, Jim and Harold Klann, great-grandson, Brad Klann, and great-great-grandson, Seth Klann, have all farmed the property.
In 2014, Brad and Seth Klann started growing malting barley and established a new business venture, Mecca Grade Estate Malt.
27 Bar Ranch
The first 320 acres of what is now the 27 Bar Ranch was patented in 1917 by William Nartz. His wife, Sadie, patented an additional 320 acres in 1919, with an additional 240 acres added in 1923-24.
The earliest crops on the ranch were cattle, wheat, and rye grain for hay. They also had pigs, chickens and a workhorse team.
Wheat was grown into the 1970s, and then replaced with native grasses for the Conservation Reserve Program.
Irrigation allowed for hay to be raised for the cattle. Early on, the cattle were mainly Herefords, but that has now transitioned to mostly registered black Angus.
Today, William Nartz's grandson, James Nartz, and his family, still raise cattle and sell the calves as yearlings. Alfalfa hay, corn earlage, and grain hay and bluegrass seed are also raised.
The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program began in 1958 to honor farm and ranch families with century-long connections to the land. To qualify for a century or sesquicentennial award, interested families must follow a formal application process.
Members of the Application Review Committee review each application against the qualifications, which include continuous family operation of the farm or ranch; a gross income from farm use of not less than $1,000 per year for at least three years out of five prior to application; and family members must live on or actively manage the farm or ranch activities.
Application documentation may include photos, original deeds, personal stories, or other historic records. Those records help support Oregon's agricultural history by providing valuable information about settlement patterns or statistics on livestock and crop cycles. All documents are archived for public access.
Award winners receive a certificate signed by the governor and director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Historic roadside signs are imprinted with the founder's name and the year the ranch or farm was established.
The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program is administered by the Oregon Farm Bureau Foundation for Education, and supported by a partnership among the Oregon Farm Bureau, the State Historic Preservation Office, OSU University Archives, and by generous donations of Oregonians.
The application deadline for 2020 is May 1, 2020. Learn more at https://centuryfarm.oregonfb.org.
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