By ANDREW CHRISTIANSEN
Gorge News Report
The Klickitat County Livestock Association held its annual banquet in Goldendale on March 14, announcing the selection of the Kreps Ranch as Cattlemen of the Year for 2009.
The Kreps Ranch traces its roots back to 1883 when Simon Kreps first homesteaded at Laurel in the western part of the county. The ranch grew to 320 acres by 1926 and raised Hereford cattle until the 1950s when shorthorns were brought into the mix. In 1967, Russell and Marie Kreps sold the ranch to their two sons, Oliver (Chip) and Russell W. (Bodge). Bodge took about 3,000 acres of timber land and Chip continued to farm and raise cattle on the remaining 7,000 acres.
The herd grew to 700 head of cows by 1986 and began to transition to black baldy cows with the influx of black angus into the herd.
The Kreps Ranch currently is an angus, cow-calf operation with land in hay and timber operating on several thousand acres roughly bounded by White Salmon and Bingen on the south, Trout Lake in the northwest, east to Panakanic Road, southwest of Laruel, and along the Rattlesnake Creek to Husum.
This is the third time the ranch has been recognized, with Russell and Marie receiving the award in 1951, and Chip and Pat named Cattlemen of the Year in 1984. Receiving this year's award on behalf of the family was Keith Kreps. Keith's mother Pat is the head of the operation these days with Keith and his wife Susan heading up the cattle operation. Brother, Kris and his wife Shelly run the timber operation and another brother, Kelly is more involved in the farming and haying business.
The traditional field day has been set for May 30.
The evening was also a time to recognize the recipient of the O.P. Kreps Pioneer Memorial Award and the Jim Bridgefarmer Distinguished Service Award. Stanley Crocker of Centerville, was presented a plaque for the O.P. Kreps Award. Crocker is a fourth generation farmer/rancher in the Centerville area. He raised purebred Hereford cattle and sells quarterhorses from the farm he still operates. Crocker was a charter member of the Livestock Association which formed in 1950.
Ray Thayer was named the recipient of the Jim Bridgefarmer Distinguished Service Award for his years of dedication to the livestock industry and Klickitat County.