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Twin Falls’ Snow family celebrates a century of farming

September 6, 2018

TWIN FALLS — Never has the Idaho State Department of Agriculture and the Idaho State Historical Society honored a centenarian by declaring their farm a Century Farm.

But on Tuesday the two agencies came close at the Snow family farm south of Twin Falls.

Lois Snow turns 100 in February; the land Lois’ father-in-law, Frederick Snow, purchased in 1908 is the latest Century Farm in Twin Falls County.

Lois and her husband, Walter Snow, farmed the original 40 acres and leased additional ground from their neighbors.

“We used to farm where that subdivision is now,” said Lois’ son Tom Snow, 61, as he pointed to a housing development north of Idaho 74.In order to be designated a Century Farm, at least 40 acres of the original farm must have been owned and farmed continually by members of the same family, explained historian Paul Smith, the Idaho State Historical Society trustee who presented the award to the Snows, including Tom’s brother David. The family received Century Farm and Century Ranch signs and a certificate signed by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.ISDA Director Celia Gould, a graduate of Buhl High School and a former Idaho legislator, also spoke at the Snow’s celebration. The ISDA and ISHS are partners in the program.As a small crowd gathered to celebrate, Tom wandered around the outbuildings, pointing out what changed and what stayed the same over the years. The garage once stood where an outhouse now stands.Frederick Snow’s original one-room shack, built in 1908, still stands in near-perfect shape. Dates of equipment repairs and crops harvested are penciled on its bare wood walls and diary-like entries such as “April 1, 1926, blizzard snow” and “Apr. 4-5 Big rain” document memorable weather events.“That’s how they kept track of things,” Tom said.Walter Snow took over the farm in 1949, several years after Tom’s grandfather died. Walter was the chief engineer of two local radio stations and Lois was a beauty operator.“It’s a three-holer,” Tom said. “We do have indoor plumbing now if anyone needs it.”“People endured a lot of hardships, especially in the 1930s,” he said. Tom pointed out a cistern just outside the 1916 home where irrigation water was stored for domestic use. The family didn’t have running water until the family drilled a well the year he was born.“My mother said every time the drilling rig pounded the ground, it woke me up,” he said.A long row of Russian olives trees that broke the wind and provided the house with shade is mostly gone, as are the corrals that once held up to 200 sheep.Tom recently retired after 30 years with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and now manages the farm and restores antique tractors.Trisha Hoffman, who runs the program for the state historical society, said more than 400 farms and ranches in Idaho have been recognized as Century Farms, including 13 in Twin Falls County. Curt and Shari Darrow of Castleford received the Century Farm Award in August. Duane Ramseyer of Filer received the award in September 2017.The program developed during Idaho’s 1990 centennial.“It’s nice to recognize these people who have persevered and worked hard on these farms,” Hoffman said Wednesday.

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