Oregon program honors oldest farms in continuous operation
Aug. 21, 2018
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon program will honor the state's oldest farms in continuous operation at a ceremony this weekend, including two farms that have been tilled for 150 years.
The awards reported on by the Capital Press also include a dozen farming operations that are a century old from all over the state, from populous Multnomah County to rural areas in Umatilla and Wasco counties.
Mullen Farms is one of two sesquicentennial farms designated this year by the Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program.
Founded in 1852, seven years before Oregon became a state, a farm in Saint Paul, Ore., is continuing to build on its legacy as a family operation.
"We are definitely a family farm," said Jerry Mullen, great-great grandson of one of the farm's founders, Patrick Mullen.
Through the years, it has been important to every generation to keep the farm going and in the family, Mullen said. He never knew his dad, who died when Mullen was two years old, but Mullen spent a lot of time with his grandfather, Charles S. Mullen Sr., who taught him about the farm.
On the property is a house where Mullen's grandfather was born and lived for 101 years.
"It was important to my granddad especially that we kept the farm together," Mullen said.
Mullen recalled growing up on the farm mentioning how they had their own pigs, dairy and granary.
"I grew up with all that to self-sustain and then grow enough to make some cash," Mullen said.
Over time the farm has grown from 150 to 1,300 acres as the Mullen family has added other farms and land to the business. They now grow mainly seed crops and hazelnuts.
"We are doing everything we can do at this point to make sure it is a viable farm going forward," he said.
The other sesquicentennial farm honored this year is the Robinson Stillwell Taggart Farm in Dayton. It was founded in 1844 when Benjamin and Elizabeth Robinson came to the Oregon territory on a wagon train.
The farm is still in the family, though pieces of it were sold off during the Depression.
"(The farm) has been a source of pride for our family for generations," said John Taggart, current owner of the farm.
The farm is leased to a couple who Taggart says he is close to and trusts. Taggart lives in Eastern Oregon and wants to keep the farm because of its history.
Also on the list are 12 newly designated century farms:
— J.G. Kuenzi Farm, H.M.K., began in 1917 after the founder traded a smaller farm in Mt. Pleasant for the 217-acre farm near Silverton. The farm has grown different types of berries over the years, as well as grass seed, hogs and clover.
— Watts Ranch in Klamath County was founded in 1910 when its founders, Jim and Jack Watts, moved to Oregon from Utah. The family runs cattle and grows hay.
— Brown Farm, in Morrow County, goes back to 1912 when Chris P. Brown, an immigrant from Denmark, purchased 350 acres to grow wheat. His grandson and his grandson's wife, Chris E. and Kathy Brown, currently run the operation.
— Wilsonview Dairy Inc. was founded in 1918 in Tillamook County by the Josi family, which immigrated from Switzerland and began a dairy in a lease-to-buy arrangement.
— Henry W. Jones Farm in Yamhill County has been operated by four generations of the Jones family. They have grown many crops including clover, wheat, oats and silage corn. Today, the farm is run by Steve Jones, the great grandson of the original founder, Henry W. Jones, who purchased the farm in 1918.
— Howard-Allstott Ranch in Umatilla County was founded by William Howard in 1884, when the homestead claim was approved. The ranch was eventually passed down throughout the generations to Richard and Dorothy Howard Allstott, the great granddaughter of the founder.
— The Rockwell-Doherty farm was founded in 1906 by Seth and Sarah Rockwell in Umatilla County. The farm has seen many different uses through the years, including fruit orchards, raising horses and growing irrigated wheat, pasture grass and alfalfa. Richard Doherty now runs it for the family.
— Tilla-Bay Farms in Tillamook County began when Fred and Gotfried Josi purchased the land in 1918. In the beginning the dairy operation consisted of 24 milk cows. Today the dairy is operated by the founder's granddaughter, Terry Mizee and her husband, Bart, along with their son, Kurt Mizee.
— DeLano Farms in Clackamas County was founded by Hatsil DeLano in 1916 as a nearly 57-acre plot and today has grown to 216 acres. Over the years the farm has shifted from dairy and vegetable production in the early years to cattle and hay production and added a horse barn and arena. Karen DeLano now runs the horse barn and Renata Squier raises cattle and hay.
— Sandoz farm was founded in 1880 in Wasco County by three brothers, Alphonse, Arnold and Charles Sandoz. They grew root vegetables, fruit trees and grapes. Ted, Charles Lee and Mary Sandoz are the third generation and operate a farmstand where they sell USDA beef and pork along with fruit, vegetables and other products.
— Beitel Farm was established in 1915 by Alois and Cecilia Beitel in Marion County. Currenty the farm grows grass seed is being passed on from John J. and Debbie Beitel to the next generation, John R. Beitel. In the early days the farm was typical of many farms during the time with chickens, sheep, cows and pigs.
— Tideman Johnson Farm goes back to 1880 when Tideman and Olava Johnson settled 60 acres in Multnomah County. At one point part of the farm was donated to the city of Portland as a park. The original farmland still owned by the family is around 8 acres. However, the family continues to farm the land in cooperation with several organizations.
The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program is administered by the Oregon Farm Bureau Foundation for Education.
The awards ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Oregon State Fairground's picnic grove area.
Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington