Following are the narratives supplied by this year's Century Farm honorees:
Schrepel Family: Founded in Washington County in 1919 by Oliver Schrepel. Applicant is Mark Schrepel.
In 1917, Oliver came west from Minnesota to attend the Oregon Agricultural College where he met his wife Anna Sharp. They were given $1000 by her parents for their wedding gift that helped purchase the original 105-acre farm in 1919. The farm contained mature prune trees. Oliver and a neighbor soon built a prune dryer so they could dry their own prunes as well as others. A warehouse was also added to store dried prunes before sale. He was a good hustler and salesman and even during the great depression was able to sell his crops. The added tart/pie cherries in 1930s to the Bradley Pie Company in Portland. In the 1950s they started pitting cherries for the pie company. More land was added over the years and was predominately planted with pie (tart) and sweet cherries. Oliver’s son Keith joined the operation in 1945 after graduation from OSU and was an innovator. He helped find a machine to mechanically harvest the cherries. Keith’s sons Mark and Lee became part of operation in 1970s and hazelnuts were added at the time. Today the farm continues to grow and process cherries, plums, hazelnuts, apples, pears, and wine grapes. Mark is the grandson the founder Oliver Schrepel.
Saunders Ranch: Founded in Baker County in 1915 by George G.B. Saunders. Applicant is Walter S. Saunders Jr.
The Saunders Family moved from Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Walter Saunders Senior was born in Missouri. The whole Saunders family moved to the Richland/Eagle Valley area in 1886-87. In 1915, George G.B. Saunders purchased the land. Walter Saunders Sr., brother of George, operated the ranch beginning in 1915 and moved onto it in 1916. He was the youngest of 10 children. His brothers owned other ranching properties at the time as well as Saunders Brothers Mercantile in Richland. Walter operated all the ranches while his brothers operated the store. Wallter Sr. eventually purchased the ranching properties in Eagle Valley/Richland from his brothers. Upon Walter’s retirement, his sons, including Walter Jr. operated the ranch. The ranch raised cattle and sheep and all the feed (hay, grain, corn and other grains) for the animals. In early days of the operation, this was harvested using horses. The family continues to raise cattle today. The sheep were sold off in 1967 due to forest grazing permit restrictions. Walter S. Saunders, Jr. is the nephew of George G.B. Saunders. He is 94 years old and still lives on the ranch in the house where he was born.
Box T Ranch: Founded in Grant County in 1915 by John & Margaret Masson. Applicant is Roger O. and Meredith L. Ediger.
John Masson emigrated from Scotland in 1900 and started working in Dayville with James Cant, a friend from “the old country.” He sent for his future wife to come and make a new life with him in America. Saving his earnings he purchased the first property in 1915, and after several other purchases the Masson family moved to the original homestead house near the mouth of McClellan Creek in 1917. The ranch grew through purchases of contiguous parcels that became available in the early years. They raised sheep in those early years. The collapse of the wool market in the 1920s caused some serious hard times for the ranch but thankfully mutual friends from Scotland were able to assist family with some finances and avoid foreclosure. This facilitated the transition from sheep to cattle and the raising of alfalfa along with the native meadow grass hay.
The original cattle breeds were Durham and Hereford. As with all agriculture of that time they used work horses and like most ranches transitioned to tractors in the 1940s and 1950s. Jack, the oldest son of John and Margaret managed the ranch from late 1940s and he was the second generation to make it his livelihood. Today Roger and Meredith raise Sim-Angus, Red Angus, and polled Hereford cross cattle and the ranch is a 15-plus year member of Country Natural Beef, a Family Ranch Co-op. Roger is the grandson of the founders John and Margaret Masson.
Phillips Pioneer Farm: Founded in Polk County in 1894 by E.C. Keyt & George Washington Myer. Applicant is Kathryn Phillps.
The Henry and Elizabeth Myer family traveled the Oregon Trail and arrived in the Smithfield area of Polk County on Oct. 1, 1847, where they staked a 640 acre Donation Land Claim. In 1871, their second-born son, George Washington Myer, married Sarah Margaret Keyt, daughter of Perrydale pioneer, E.C. Keyt. E.C. gifted Sarah the DLC lands he purchased from a local family, as the lands bordered the farm that George and Sarah already owned. This was the beginning of the Phillips Pioneer Farm.
The early crops were prunes (12+ acre orchards), sheep/wool, cereal grain crops, hay, cattle, pigs, and horses. The introduction of mechanized equipment in 1930s-1940s and the drop of prune prices caused removal of the orchard for cereal grain production. The livestock production shifted from sheep to Registered Polled Herefords cattle as the prices for pigs, sheep and wool became unstable.
Today the farm raises wine grapes, patented grass seed, and radish. Kathryn Jane Phillips is the great-great granddaughter of the founder E.C. Keyt, and, great-granddaughter of George Washington Myer.
Wilfred Hamann Farm: Founded in Union County in 1918 by Arthur Hamann. Applicant is Wilfred Hamann.
Arthur Hamann purchased the land shortly after his marriage to Clara Schroder in 1918. They had a son named Wilfred (Willie). In the 1920’s after WWI Arthur had an accident farming with horses that left him with a broken femur bone resulting in a lifelong limp. Due to this accident around 1927 he was ready to sell the farm and move to town. He started the A.W. Hamann and Son Feed store but still returned to farming as well. They sold feed during the Great Depression. Willie returned to the farm in 1945 after WW2 and married Delpha in 1950.
Early crops were dryland wheat, pasture, alfalfa and spring barley. The feed store was closed after Arthur's death. The 1960s brought some irrigation from the Grande Ronde River. New mainline and wheel lines followed shortly. They also started raising registered Angus cattle. The farm continues to raise winter wheat but also now alfalfa, Austrian peas, Kentucky bluegrass, peppermint, fine fescue, wheatgrass and sunflowers. The applicant is the son of the founder.
Klann Farms: Founded in Jefferson County in 1905 by Seth Leulling. Applicant is Klann Farms-The Klann Family (Seth Klann).
Henderson Luelling first came to Oregon by covered wagon in 1847 with 2 wagons filled with grafted fruit trees. Only half of them (700 total) survived the journey. He established an orchard on 100 acres near Milwaukie, Ore. He sold his fruit for top dollar in Portland and his fruit trees became the parent stock of most of the orchards in the Willamette Valley. He is considered the, “Father of the Pacific NW Fruit Industry.”
In 1904, Henderson’s grandson, Seth Luelling, along with wife Cora and 4 children, headed east of the Cascades and arrived on October 10, 1904 to establish a farm north of Madras as part of the Homestead Act. Seth immediately went out looking for land to file a claim on and filed his claim in June 1905 on 160 acres. They raised cattle, wheat, potatoes and chickens. In 1919, Seth and Cora bought an adjoining half section (320 acres) from the Davis family who were also homesteaders. By 1929 Seth had acquired 1200 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. Seth’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, 5 generations, 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.
Kaser Family Farm: Founded in Wasco County in 1913 by Julius Kaser. Applicant is Phillip Kaser.
The story of the Kaser family farm began in 1901 when Julius Kaser immigrated from Switzerland and joined his brother Jacob on his sheep ranch on Cherry Creek. Julius returned to Switzerland in 1906 to marry his bride Lena and they immediately came back to the U.S. In 1913, he decided to branch out from his brother and purchased his first 4 acres along Fifteen Mile Creek in Wasco County near The Dalles.
He raised vegetables, veal calves and his eight children. Many of the children moved away as adults but sons Julius, Carl and Jacob stayed. They used horses to do all farm tasks through 1945. The three brothers raised beef cattle, hay and dryland wheat. They built many of the buildings on the farm as well as a home for their mother in 1954. Carl’s son Phillip joined the operation in 1975. They have always had a policy of leaving the land better than they received it. They have engaged in conservation efforts along Fifteen Mile Creek. They have fenced off cattle from the creek, planted willows and trees along the creek and converted their wheat farming to no-till to help with erosion. Phillip is the grandson of Julius Kaser.
Ellett’s Green Ridge Tree Farm: Founded in Wasco County in 1919 by C.E. & Iva Belden. Applicant is Fritz Ellett.
The land was purchased in 1919 by C.E. & Iva Belden. They raised milk cows, chickens, and a large garden at first. They sold milk, eggs, and butter in town. The family helped on the farm and also worked at fruit processing plants in town. Their daughter Zelma married Ray Ellett and he worked the farm in exchange for paying the taxes. Ray’s four sons, including Fritz’s dad, Virgil, helped work the farm too. In the 1940s and 1950s they would sell peaches and produce in Portland. In 1956 Virgil took over the farm and in the early 1960s he converted it to Christmas trees. A few cattle are still raised but the bulk of the farming is now in Christmas trees. Fritz is the great grandson of C.E. and Iva Belden.
27 Bar Ranch: Founded in Jefferson County in 1917 by William (Bill) Nartz in 1917. Applicant is James Nartz.
The first 320 acres 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, rye grain for hay. They also had pigs, chickens and a workhorse team. Wheat was grown into the 1970s then replaced with native grasses for the Conservation Reserve Program. Irrigation allowed for hay to be raised for the cattle.
Early on the cattle was mainly Herefords, but has now transitioned to mostly Registered Black Angus. Today they still raise cattle and sell the calves as yearlings. Alfalfa hay, corn earlage, and grain hay and bluegrass seed is also raised. James is the grandson of William (Bill) Nartz.
Doz Ag LLC: Founded in Marion County in 1919 by John & Regina Dozler. Applicants are Marty & Amy Dozler.
John and Regina left for Oregon in December 1917 after deciding that there wasn’t enough room in Iowa farming operations for all the boys to make a decent living. They didn’t have any plan on where they were going to settle but ended up in the Willamette Valley and finally settled in Stayton, Ore., in the new year of 1918. He acquired the property in 1919. The early crops were strawberries, cows and pigs. The strawberries phased out and transitioned to caneberries and the livestock left the farm in early 1960’s. Vegetables like corn and beans were grown in the 1990s. The vegetables continue to be grown today along with grass seed. Marty is the great grandson of founders John and Regina Dozler.
Fletcher Family Farm: Founded in Hood River County in 1919 by Leonard & May Fletcher. Applicant is Jill L. House.
Leonard and May were siblings and Leonard purchased the land sight unseen in 1919 after the urging of three other brothers. The siblings moved to the land in 1920 from South Dakota. The early crops were apples, pears, and a few cows for personal use. In the early 1950s Arthur Fletcher the nephew of the sibling pair started to assist is aunt and uncle with the farm and subsequently inherited it in 1964 after his aunt and uncle passed away. The orchard crops changed in variety over time but was still maintained until 2004. The aged trees were then removed and replaced with hay. Today the farm raises Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Pinot gris wine grapes as well as lavender. The applicant Jill House took over the farm in 2002 and is the great niece of the founders.
Gingerich Farms: Founded in Clackamas County in 1919 by Fred & Katie Gingerich. Applicant is Richard L. Gingerich.
Fred and Katie came to Oregon in 1911. The purchased the land in May of 1919. Fred was an ordained minister in the Mennonite church. Fred was a dairyman and raised purebred Jersey dairy cattle. He auctioned the Jersey cattle and drew buyers from Central Oregon. They also raised potatoes, tree fruits, cattle, sheep, and hogs as well. Much of the farm at this time was hay and pasture for the livestock. When Daniel, his son, came into operation in 1944 he expanded the hog and sheep operations. He was one of the first farmers in Willamette Valley to grow grass seed. They also grew flax, wheat, oats, vetch during this era of the farm. When his son Richard took over the hogs decreased and sheep numbers increased and most of the farm was planted into Christmas trees.
By the early 1990s the livestock production ceased and blueberries and hazelnuts were planted. Those continue to be the main crop along with seed crops grown today. The blueberries are packed on the farm and hazelnuts are also processed onsite. The applicant Richard Gingerich is the great-great grandson of the founders.
Cremer Farm: Founded in Marion County in 1904 by Frank & Catherine Cremer. Applicant is John Beitel.
Frank & Catherine moved to Oregon in 1904 and purchased the first 106 acres at that time. They added acreage to the farm in 1909 with a purchase of 65 more. The early crops and livestock were draft horses for farm work, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, hay and oats were raised to feed to animals. The eggs, milk, cream went to Ditters a local store in Sublimity to be sold. They also sold wool from sheep to Paris Woolen Mill in Stayton.
Another unique crop was Chittum bark. They also sold fox glove to a local florist. Over time the farm grew into growing more cash crops and raising cattle. When Richard Cremer, grandson of the founders, took over after WW2 grass seed production was started.
Today the farm, under John Beitel’s ownership raises chewings, fine fescue and other seed crops. The remaining acres are pasture land. John Beitel is the great-great grandson of the founders.
Hewitt’s Greenwood Gardens: Founded in Polk County in 1919 by Guy Glenn (G.G.) Hewitt. Applicant is Brian Hewitt.
G.G. Hewitt purchased the land in 1919 as his retirement farm. At the time the land was largely uncleared with lots of timber and rose brambles. Much of the brush was cleared and timber harvested in the early years. The timber was used to build all of the original buildings and home which still stand today.
The early crops by G.G. were corn, alfalfa, clover, grass seed, Jersey cattle and produce. He was credited to have the first “Gold Medal” Jersey bull and imported some of his stock from Island of Jersey. He was also a founding member of the American Jersey Cattle club. G.G. along with a sibling also owned about 800 acres nearby that was taken by the government in 1936 as part of Camp Adair. Derrel D. (D.D.) Hewitt took over in 1936. Over the years the milk cows transitioned to beef cattle and then from beef cattle to a variety of produce crops. The applicant Brian took over the farm in 1987 and now primarily raised produce for sale and various greenhouse crops. Brian is the great grandson of G.G. Hewitt.
E. Neuschwander Farm: Founded in Linn County in 1919 by Emry P & Lydia Neuschwander. Applicants are Noel & MaryAnn Neuschwander.
The land was purchased in October of 1919 by Emry and Lydia. The early crops were dairy cows, hay, chickens, pigs, grass seed. The age of mechanization changed the farm and what was grown historically. Del (son of founders) and wife Catherine came into operation and worked with his parents. It transitioned to them in 1973 and they worked on it until 1987 at retirement. At the time the dairy cattle were sold. Noel joined the operation in 1983 after his marriage to Mary Ann Gibson. They worked with Del and Catherine for many years and acquired ownership of farm in 1996. Today the farm continues to raise cattle, hay, ryegrass, fescue, chickens, pigs. Noel is the grandson of founders Emry and Lydia Neuschwander
Thompson Farm: Founded in Marion County in 1868 by Alexander Thompson. Applicant is Tim Thompson.
Alexander purchased the Rice Dunbar DLC in 1868 after traveling through Idaho, Montana, and Washington. The early crops on the farm were livestock (sheep) and grains. The farm in these early days was worked with horses. His boys James Jay and George Harris raised sheep. James Jay was known for his Sufflock flock and later grew fine fescue as well. His son James H. continued raising sheep & grains and added pigs and a cherry orchard.
In 1972 the orchard froze out and was replaced with pastureland. James H. grew grains and also sold eggs to local grocery stores. In the 1940s he bought his first tractor and the work horses were transitioned out. The applicant Tim, started farming with his father in 1973. The main crops since then have been horned Hereford cattle and fine fescue grass seed. With James H’s passing in 1983 the farming operation was left to Tim. He started diversifying the grass seed species to include turf type Tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and hard fescue. Tim’s son Jay H. joined the operation in 2008 and lived on the farm with his wife and 2 children, Trent and Annie (6th generation) until 2016. He purchased a farm nearby and lives there now.
The first field of hazelnuts was planted in 2009 with additional acreage planted to hazelnuts through 2018. Jay H. continues to work with his father. James A. another son of Tim, lives on the farm with his wife and his daughter Catherine, is the 6th generation to live on the Thompson Family Farm Tim Thompson is the great grandson of the found Alexander Thompson.
Heller Century Farm: Founded in Coos County in 1869 by Louis Heller. Applicants are Russ and Debbie Heller
Louis homesteaded the land along Cherry Creek in October 1869. The first house was immediately started on and then they went to work clearing the land. The first crops on the farm were oats, wheat, grass hay, fruit, beef cattle, and timber. Charles Heller, son of Louis, took over in about 1877. He acquired a threshing machine and threshed grains for many in the county until about 1935. He also did custom work with his team of horses for nearby farmers as well. By 1940, grain crops ceased and the cattle and timber have been maintained to this day. Nevy Heller, son of Charles and Amanda, took ownership in 1958 and continued with the cattle and timber crops. Russ Heller, son of Nevy, joined the operation in 1978 and continues it today. Russ is the great grandson of founder Louis Heller.
Charlton Farm: Founded in Multnomah County in 1848 by Joseph and Mary Charlton. Applicants are Betsy Charlton Powell and Kelly Charlton.
Joseph Charlton and wife Margaret came to Oregon via the Miller party wagon train from Missouri in 1845. The young Charlton couple claimed the land on Sauvie Island in 1848. The original farm operated as a dairy farm. William Emmett, their son, took over the farming in 1905. He loved the lakes, green pastures, and the groves of Sauvie Island. Dewey Charlton, William and his wife Josephine’s son, became the captain of three Sauvie Island ferries between 1919 and 1950 retiring with the opening of the Sauvie Island bridge in 1950.
Over the years, there has always been waterfowl conservation and hunting on the land. The family has continued to plant crops that feed wildlife and waterfowl. Over time the crops went away from dairy to alfalfa, grass and clover hay and fescue. Today the farm also boasts a high-end boarding and training kennel, The Charlton Kennels, for all breeds of dogs. The kennel was started by Jim and Ellie Charlton and has been in business for over 50 years. The Charlton family also practices conservation and restoration efforts along the creek, forest, and lake areas for wildlife. Jim and Ellie’s children continue the stewardship and care instilled into them by their parents and grandparents today. Betsy Charlton Powell and Kelly Charlton are the great, great granddaughters of founders Joseph and Mary Charlton. They, and their families, own and operate the farm and kennel businesses today.
Ingle Butte Ranches: Founded in Grant County in 1867 by W.D. Ingle. Applicant is Kim Lemmons.
W.D. Ingle purchased the original property in 1867. His daughter Laura Ingle Lemmons married John Wesley Lemmons who had come to Oregon in 1857 via wagon train. She was the second owner of the original land. The early crops were cow/calf operation and hay. John and Laura purchased another piece of property to add to the ranch and began making their home and raising their 11 children there. They built a stone mill powered by water from Butte creek to make flour which they sold to local families in Grant County. John also operated a threshing machine in the county. John Wesley passed in 1932 with his heirs taking over operation of the ranch. Brice Lemmons and wife Inez and then to their son Dennis and finally to his son Kim.
Over time the crops have remained the same but the way they were raised has improved especially with irrigation pivots. Dennis and Kim started an excavation company together that Kim currently manages now with his son John Wesley. Kim is the great grandson of founder.
Nusbaum Farms LLC: Founded in Benton County in 1869 by George Humphrey. Applicant is H. Frank Nusbaum.
George and Cynthia Humphrey came to Oregon from Illinois in 1852 via wagon train. They settled on a claim at Alvadore where they stayed for several years. Their son Albert who was a teenager on the journey later married Ellen Hemenway who also came to Oregon that same year. In 1869 they acquired the claim Orin Belknap had staked at Bellfountain (our farm). Albert abandoned the family and left them destitute in the 1870s. When the place was about to be sold for back taxes, George paid the debts off and gave the farm to his grandsons. Great Grandpa George W and his brother Walt bought the other brothers out and each had half of the farm which they operated for many years.
The early crops were cattle, sheep, hogs, horses, hay, oats, wheat, corn and clover seed. In 1912, George W’s daughter Grace and her husband Frank A Nusbaum started a dairy on part of the farm which they eventually bought. They milked about 35 cows, separated the cream to sell and fed the skim milk to hogs. In 1938, after Frank was in an accident and lost his leg, their son Hermon took over the farm. He and his brother Earl bought the remainder of the farm from George W and discontinued the dairy converting to beef cattle, sheep and angora goats. They expanded the cropping program to include corn, oats, barley, clover seed, fescue seed and ryegrass seed. They also started harvesting timber in the late 1940s. Hermon’s son, H Frank, and wife, Sharon, became partners in the farm in 1978. Christmas trees were added to the farm in 1984 and discontinued last year. Frank and Sharon’s son Orin became a partner in 2002. Current production is grass seed, clover seed, beef cattle and timberland. The farm is currently operated by Frank, Sharon and Orin with a lot of help from his wife Mandy and son Van (11). Little sister Mallory (4) is waiting in the wings! H. Frank is the great great great grandson of the founder George Humphrey.