A century farm doesn’t just happen, there has to be a love for the land and a hard working family. Clyde Ward started farming in 1915. The first several decades of his farming career was done with horses. He enjoyed working with his Percherons, Belgians and Clydesdales to plow his fields and was one of the last of his era to change over to modern equipment. However, you cannot say he was non-progressive; Ward potatoes were sold all over the United States. His life saw a steady progression from planting every third furrow behind a horse-pulled plow to the huge modern potato harvesters, with three operating at one time on the Ward Ranch.
Clyde Ward graduated Baker High School in 1914 and is an alumnus of Oregon Agriculture College (now Oregon State University). He was Grange Master, building supervisor and principal donor in the creation of the Missouri Flat Grange Hall. When the valley irrigation district was formed, in 1956, Clyde Ward was elected one of the three charter directors. He was clearly an organizing leader. He was a member of the Oregon Seed League, Oregon Wheat Growers League and Baker County and Oregon Cattlemen’s Associations and the Farm Bureau and Chamber of Commerce. He was an organizing leader and a charter member of the Oregon Potato Commission which he served for 25 years 1949-1974.
In 1956 Clyde Ward was deemed Baker County Conservation Man of the Year. His clean farming kept him certified as a seed production farm for several decades. He also was awarded the Seed League Grass Man of the Year during the 1950’s and the Gold Potato Award by the National Potato Council in 1977.
To be a Century Farm takes generations of work and cooperation. Clyde and Leonora Ward married in 1922 and their sons Alvin and Ralph became part of the operation in the 1950's. Alvin Ward played an integral role in the construction of the Mason Dam and Ralph Ward was Oregon Wheat Growers League President in 1984. Eventually, Ralph Ward’s sons Mark and Craig Ward, started working on Ward Ranches in 1979 and 1984. The Ward family continues to serve their community; Mark served as President, for five of the thirty years in the Malheur Potato Bargaining Association and is currently Vice Chairman of the Oregon Potato Commission. Craig Ward served as President of the Baker County Chamber of Commerce in the 1990s.
At this time, Ward Ranches primarily grows wheat, potatoes and mint.
Ralph and Alvin Ward
Clyde and Leonora Ward
Craig, Mark and Ralph Ward 1979
. . . and the legacy continues . . . .