Thursday, June 20, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
David Hiebenthall, left, and his son Joe work on a baler Friday at the family farm near Perrydale. The property has been in their family for 100 years and three generations.
August 07, 2012
POLK COUNTY -- David Hiebenthal said he remembers as a child plaques hanging on certain gates or entrances of farms in Polk County signifying membership in an impressive club -- that they had been belonged to one family for 100 years.
"My great uncle had one on his farm near Oak Villa," Hiebenthal said. "I always thought it was neat to have that recognition."
Hiebenthal has 105 acres in the Perrydale area where he and his wife, Kari, grow crops and raise grass-fed livestock. The farm has been in his family for three generations.
Hiebenthal will have to pick out a spot for a plaque of his own in September. His is one of 16 farms and ranches in Oregon to be granted "Century Farm" status by the Oregon Agricultural Education Foundation.
Hiebenthal also has a flesh-and-blood link to a nearby farm in Polk County that also qualified for the century list this year. August Hiebenthal, David's ancestor and the original owner of David's farm, also founded what today is the Schierling Farm.
The latter farm is owned by Abram Schierling and run by his son and grandson, William and Timothy Schierling.
"It means a lot to me," said William Schierling, David's cousin. "And I'm really glad dad will get to see this ... he was farming until he was 80."
The families will be honored on Sept. 1 at the Oregon State Fair in Salem.
The Oregon Century Farm & Ranch Program, created in 1958, honors families with century-long connections to their land. To qualify for a century or sesquicentennial award, the farm must be owned by one family for 100 or 150 years, respectively, have continuous farm operations there over the same period, and other criteria.
August and Frieda Hiebenthal came to Oregon from Nebraska and purchased 296 acres in Perrydale in 1912. Half of the land was in timber, and the other half in open crops and pasture land.
In 1945, William Schierling's grandmother, Adaline Dyck, inherited 90 acres out of the original Hiebenthal property. That land was passed down to LaNora Schierling, Abram's late wife, in 1963.
"My grandpa would say mom and dad could get maybe 10 head of cattle here," William Schierling said. "When they started farming and had 60, grandpa said `I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it.'"
Schierling took over the farm in the late 1990s. Most of it is used for pasture and cattle today.
The farms aren't the sole source of incomes for either the Hiebenthals or the Schierlings. David and Kari Hiebenthal both work at the federal prison in Sheridan, while Schierling runs a cabinetry business in Dallas.
David took over the Hiebenthal farmstead in 2004 and said it would be tough to make a living off 105 acres.
"But I'm in a fortunate situation," he said. "I can retire and devote the rest of my time to keeping it up.
David said the farm would see a fourth generation if his sons want to farm when they're older.
"It's hard to keep a property in one family," David said. "With people growing up and moving away and land getting sold, it's hard to have that lineage."