Dairy 2019 WIll-O-Dell

Erik Peterson with Gemma at the 2016 Twin Falls County Fair.

The Will-O-Dell Farm near Filer, Idaho — which has been in the family 100 years as of April 3 — is operated by Dale Williams and his wife, Della Ann.

Their son, Eric, has farmed the land since 2015 and their daughter, Kathy, and her husband, Erik Peterson, run the dairy.

They raise and milk registered Holsteins.

Dale’s father, Fred E. Williams, came to Idaho from North Carolina in 1908 because he wanted to farm something more than a small tobacco patch, which was all that was available to him.

In Idaho, he worked for several farmers and in 1912 settled on a small farm south of Filer. He went back to North Carolina in 1915 to marry his sweetheart, Litha Pugh, and brought her to Idaho.

They raised turkeys, sheep, milk cows, red clover seed, beans, wheat and hay. Their first two children were born on that farm.

In 1919 they purchased the 80-acre farm and had three more children. Dale was born there in 1930 and lives in the same house.

His father purchased another 40 acres a quarter-mile down the road and added potatoes to his crops. Fred farmed with horses, and young Dale was driving teams, working the farm ground, at age 10.

Fred bought his first tractor in 1939 and a second tractor in 1948.

Dale married Della Ann “Scotty” on June 10, 1951.

“Mom’s nickname was Scotty because Scott was her maiden name,” Kathy says. Dale raised potatoes like his dad but also grew field corn, grain and hay for the dairy cows as the herd grew larger.

“They bought their first registered Holsteins in 1952. Dad’s siblings had no interest in farming, but he did, from an early age, so he purchased the farm in 1958 from his siblings after my grandparents passed away,” she says.

Dale and Scotty have four children — Kathy, Mark, Eric and Susan. Eric farms 500 acres nearby and raises silage corn for the dairy and other dairies in the area.

Mark used to milk cows when he lived at home but is no longer involved. Susan lives in Gooding, working for a company that sells feed and commodities. When she lived at home, she helped with the calves at the dairy, and the animal registrations.

“They all had to help with calf chores when they were growing up, and Kathy got to drive the tractor first,” Scotty says. “They all worked in the fields.”

Erik and Kathy have two children, including a daughter who is interested in the dairy.

“She’s currently working on her Ph.D. in animal physiology at the University of Idaho. She’s always loved the cows,” says Erik. “She may be the next generation to keep the dairy going.”

Dale is a member of the Idaho State Holstein Association and from 1977 to 1985 held a variety of offices, including president.

They showed registered Holsteins at the state Holstein shows and the Twin Falls County Fair for 40 years. Dale was inducted into the Southern Idaho Livestock Hall of Fame and the Idaho Dairy Hall of Fame.

Dale and Scotty sold their cows in 2010 and Erik and Kathy took over the dairy with their own cows at that time. Last November they received a quality award at the Dairy West convention.

“They were nominated by the Dairy Farmers of America field man for this award for dairies in Idaho and Utah,” Erik says.

The centennial celebration for the farm will be July 20, when all the family can be there. There are 12 grandkids, some in college, and they will be home for the open house at the farm.

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