Senator Larry Crowder sent these pictures of the Centennial Farms honorees in Senate District 35 at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo. The ceremony took place at 1-2:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 23.
History Colorado honors these families whose family farms and working ranches serve as reminders of how the West was settled. They have withstood the pressures of growth, changes in farming methods, drought, and economic conditions to preserve their part of the state’s history.
Senator Crowder writes: “To qualify for Centennial Farm Award, a person or family need own and operate the same farm for one hundred years. Pictured are families who have qualified and contributed a great deal to Colorado communities and our heritage. Congratulations to all and thanks for your diligence and contribution to the people of this state.”
State Fair bios for Centennial Farms and Ranches in Senate District 35:
Brent Wertz Farms in Bent County – Crowder and Lewis
Brentz Wertz Farms in Bent County is being honored as a Colorado Centennial Farm this year. Since 1986, the Centennial Farms & Ranches program has honored families working the same property for 100 years or more.
Joseph Lee Wertz moved from Kansas to McClave, Colorado in 1919 then purchased the family farm. On it, he proceeded to cultivate milo, alfalfa, sugar beets, wheat, corn and cattle on roughly 150 acres.
The family donated land in 1933 to establish the Dunkard Brethren Church on a corner of their land. The farm was passed down through cousins and eventually to W. Brent Wertz, the current owner.
The members of the Colorado Senate State Senate are proud to recognize Brent Wertz Farms as a Colorado Centennial Farm.
Davis Ranch in Huerfano County – Crowder and D. Valdez
Arthur L. & Alma Becker Davis journeyed from Ashby, Nebraska to start their new lives and claim their southern Colorado plains homestead in 1919. In 1923, having fulfilled the requirements of the Homestead Act, Arthur Davis received a 640 acre homestead that was 11 miles from Walsenburg.
Arthur raised various dryland forage crops, cattle, and a large sheep herd. He grew the ranch to over 6,000 acres. Marvin Davis, the youngest Davis son, and his wife Francie Killion Davis, became the owners of the ranch around 1970, building an extensive stock pond system and other improvements. Today the ranch is owned by Marvin & Francie's children and managed by Scott Davis, continuing the tradition of cow/calf production. The members of the Colorado Senate State Senate are proud to recognize the Davis Ranch as a Colorado Centennial Farm.
Miller Ranch in Custer County – Crowder and Wilson
The Daniel Miller family immigrated to The United States from Germany in the 1840s and ultimately ended up in south central Colorado. In April of 1919, Daniel purchased what was to become the Miller Ranch. Daniel’s son, Martin, married Freda Kitzman and the newlyweds moved to the ranch and purchased the ranch from his father in 1936. In the late 1960s, Martin sold the ranch to his son, Wilbur and in 1977, Wilbur’s son, Robert, purchased a neighboring ranch.
In 2004, Wilbur, Robert and his wife Deborah, purchased an adjoining ranch to grow the contiguous acreage. The ranch has raised a variety of crops, from peas and oats to alfalfa and potatoes, and even served a stint as a dairy. Currently, the family now concentrates on high quality Timothy horse hay and a commercial beef cow herd. The members of the Colorado Senate State Senate are proud to recognize Miller Ranch as a Colorado Centennial Farm.
Schmittel Ranch in Saguache County. Historic Structures Award – Crowder and D Valdez
The Schmittel Ranch in Saguache County is being honored as a Colorado Centennial Farm this year. Since 1986, the Centennial Farms & Ranches program has honored families working the same property for 100 years or more.
William Hagan started the Schmittel Ranch in the early 1900s with 160 acres in Saguache, Colorado. He purchased the brand in 1906, and the water rights were filed in 1909. The nearby Anderson Place as well as other land was purchased over the years, leading to 3,360 total acres of land owned and 2,240 state-leased. Sheep, cattle, horses, and native grass hay are farmed on the land.
Kenneth and Mary Schmittel (daughter of William and Jenny Hagan) started managing the ranch after moving onto it in 1942. Kenneth served in the European theater of World War II. Kenneth and Mary’s son, David Schmittel married Verna Shoup and they moved to the ranch in 1992, raising cattle, horses, and mules. The homestead cabin built in 1915 still houses the family today. The members of the Colorado Senate State Senate are proud to recognize the Schmittel Ranch as a Colorado Centennial Farm.
Seufer Farm in Prowers County – Crowder and Lewis
The Seufer Farm in Prowers County is being honored as a Colorado Centennial Farm this year. Since 1986, the Centennial Farms & Ranches program has honored families working the same property for 100 years or more.
Mary Elizabeth (Lizzie) DeBus was born in 1888 in Geddes, South Dakota and moved with her family to Prowers County, Colorado in 1901. After watching her older brother Vincent homestead south of Holly, Lizzie proceeded to do just the same in 1914.
Her father William helped her improve the acreage by building a dwelling and relatives were hired to plow and cultivate 40 acres to grow crops. Lizzie was granted her homestead deed in 1919.
She also owned and ran the Holly Millinery Shop but sold it in 1923 and married Primo Borelli. Lizzie's niece and husband, Dorothy and Jewell Seufer began farming and grazing cattle during the year of 1987, growing wheat, grain sorghum and millet.
Today, the farm is still in its original 320 acres and Dorothy's son and daughter-in-law, Dale and Denice grow wheat, grain sorghum and graze cattle on the grassland. The members of the Colorado Senate State Senate are proud to recognize the Seufer Farm as a Colorado Centennial Farm.