- Associated Press - Saturday, October 22, 2016

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - Terry Roedel has lived in the same place his entire life, or at least most of it.

In 1942, Roedel was born on his family farm in Caldwell, just off Middleton Road, where he was raised until going off to college. After living in Buhl for five more years after that, Roedel moved back to the farm he grew up on, and hasn’t left since.

The story doesn’t start there, however. Before the property was owned by Roedel and his brothers, it belonged to his father, and his father before him.

On Sept. 17, the Roedel family farm was honored as a Century Farm by the Idaho State Historical Society. A Century Farm is a property of at least 40 acres that has been owned and farmed by only one family for at least 100 years, reported the Idaho Press-Tribune (https://bit.ly/2eeXunw).

“It’s important that the family has stayed on the farm and kept it in our family for that amount of years,” Roedel said.

According to Steve Barrett, program manager for the Idaho State Historical Society, there are just nine families in the Canyon County area who have qualified for the Century Farm award, and 439 statewide.

“(This is about) the State Department of Agriculture and State Historical Society recognizing what’s becoming a pretty incredible achievement by these families,” Barrett said. “That they’ve been able to stay in family agriculture all this time.”

The original Roedel farm was purchased in 1909 by Roedel’s grandfather. It was bought in two separate purchases of 60 and 80 acres, costing just over $17,000 total.

Eighty acres of the property was given to other family members and eventually sold for development. The remaining 60 acres was passed down to Roedel and his two brothers.

In the time they’ve owned the property, the Roedels have grown sugar beets, wheat, alfalfa, corn and at one time it was used to grow turnips. The land is still farmed by Roedel’s brother and nephew, who pay rent for his portion of the property.

“I’m sure we could up the rent a little more and he could still make money, but that isn’t the purpose of it, of the family,” Roedel said. “As long as we can just break even we’re fine.”

The 60 acres seems to be enough space for Roedel and his family, where many of them still live themselves.

Roedel said one of his brothers lives on the corner of the property, another brother lives next door, his daughter and her family live next door as well, and the original house on another part of the property is owned by the family but rented out.

Despite developers approaching the family throughout the years with offers to buy his property and the property around him, Roedel is content with staying on the property he grew up on and passing it on to later generations.

“Since I’ve always lived out in the country I enjoy the rural area, I like to have a little bit of freedom to be able to move around a bit, but the subdivisions are closing in fast,” Roedel said.

Barrett said it’s common for families of Century Farms to share the property, like the Roedels have.

“What we look for is that at least 40 acres of the original farm is still in the family,” Barrett said. “Sometimes that parcel belongs to one family member, and the rest of property is parceled to other relatives or sometimes it has been sold to other families, but if they held on to 40 acres that’s all that we’re really requiring.”

The Century Farms program started in 1990. Since then, the Idaho State Historical Society has honored 10 to 12 farms a year with the Century Farm award.


Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com

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