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Nevada Centennial Families Announced for 2009

By Bob Conrad

News release from NRCS

Washburn-gens_4_5_-6_save4webFive pioneering families are being inducted into the Nevada Centennial Ranch and Farm Awards Program. This year’s award recipients are the Perfect Vista Ranches-Mathewson Ranch in Fallon, established in 1909; the Testolin Ranch in Fallon, est. in 1907; Genoa’s Ranch No. 1, est. in 1909; Bradshaw Ranch north of Las Vegas, est. in 1873; and the Bailey Ranch in Diamond Valley, est. in 1875. An awards ceremony will be held on Oct. 9 at the Governor’s Mansion in Carson City.

A sixth ranch, the Kallenbach-Ormachea-Sherman Ranch in Fallon, est. in 1908, was inducted last year but will be honored at this year’s awards ceremony.

“We are really pleased to sponsor this award to recognize those long-standing families who have been excellent stewards of their land,” said Bruce Petersen, state conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Nevada. “They are outstanding examples of Nevada’s pioneering heritage, taking care of the land, changing their operations, expanding and surviving.”

“Most people don’t think there is much agriculture in Nevada.  These families prove we have agriculture and it’s been here for generations.”

Dennis Hellwinkel, project coordinator for the Agricultural Council of Nevada, said, “Most people don’t think there is much agriculture in Nevada. These families prove we have agriculture and it’s been here for generations.”

The Centennial families are very proud of their heritage. Wilfred and Barbara Bailey currently run a cow/calf operation and raise hay on the ranch his grandparents settled in 1875. Robert and Marietta Bailey bought the original 300 acre ranch for $20 in gold coin. An old barn and wash house (right) built in the late 1800’s are still in use on the Bailey Ranch.

After 126 years, the End of the Rainbow Ranch has returned to its original use. When Jaime Bradshaw started the ranch north of Las Vegas in 1873, he raised fruits and vegetables to feed workers at the Delamar Mining Camp. It became a range and cattle operation during the 1950’s. Now grandson Don Bradshaw and great-grandson Loren operate a certified organic apple orchard with 2,000 apple trees. The general public can pick their own apples and enjoy two sparkling clean lakes on the ranch.

Antonio Testolin left Italy for America in 1901, eventually homesteading 120 acres in the Union District of Fallon in 1907. He cleared the sagebrush and turned the farm into a produce garden, raising fancy vegetables such as eggplant, celery and cardone that he supplied to mining camps in western Nevada. He soon added poultry and eggs to his list of foods since fresh food was very scarce in the remote camps. After marrying childhood sweetheart Italia Benito in 1910, he started raising turkeys, beef, hogs and dairy cows and making cheese to feed their growing brood of seven children.

Ranch No. 1, also known as the Trimmer/Giovacchini Ranch, was staked when Nevada became a state in 1864 by Colonel John Reese who built the trading post known as Mormon Station in Genoa. Robert and Sarah Trimmer bought the ranch from the Frey Family in 1909. Currently owned/operated by their great granddaughters, Lisa Lekumberry, Terri Billiman and Sheri Walters, the ranch still boasts a stone building constructed around 1860, a barn built in the 1880’s (left), and the ranch house built in 1885.

Six generations have lived on the 120 acres Horace and Mary Newcomb purchased in 1909 near Fallon, raising alfalfa hay, grain and an orchard. Currently owned by Bill and Gwen Mathewson Washburn, the Newcomb’s great-granddaughter, the property still maintains an ice house built around 1887.

Inducted as a Centennial Ranch last year, Fallon’s Kallenbach-Ormachea-Sherman Ranch will be formally recognized at this year’s ceremony. Marie Ormachea Sherman was born on the ranch her grandparents purchased in 1908. The ranch was famous for its apple orchard. The family also ran 4,000 head of sheep and 1,200 head of cattle on their Clan Alpine Ranch and Bell Flat east of Fallon.

To qualify for the Centennial Award, the ranch or farm must have belonged to the same family for at least 100 years, and must be a working ranch or farm with a minimum of 160 acres, or if less than 160 acres, must have gross yearly sales of at least $1,000. Centennial families receive a sign (below) commemorating their achievement and dated the year their property was established

The Centennial Awards Program started in 2004 and has honored over thirty ranches across the state. The program is sponsored by the Agricultural Council of Nevada, Cattlemen’s Assoc., Nevada Dept. of Agriculture, Farm Bureau, and the NRCS.

For more information about the award recipients or the program, contact Liz Warner, NRCS, (775) 857-8500 x 105 or visit the website at http://www.nv.nrcs.usda.gov/centennial_awards.html.

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