A century of farming
photo by Jill Aho - Carleton Farms turned 100 this year and was
honored by the Oregon Department of Agriculture as a Century Farm.
From left, Jim, Dick and Greg Carleton run the operation outside
of Merrill. Carleton Farms honored for its 100th year
By JILL AHO H&N Staff Writer December 3, 2009
One or more Carleton has been working the same land outside
Merrill for the past 100 years.
Carleton Farms, now operated by Jim, Greg and Dick Carleton, was
honored this year by the Oregon Department of Agriculture and
awarded a Century Farm and Ranch designation. The family
partnership owns about 650 acres, but grows potatoes, alfalfa and
grain and raises livestock on 2,500 acres, Jim Carleton said.
Jim and his cousin Greg share much of the responsibilities of
operating the farm. Dick, Jim’s father, said he is proud the
family’s farming tradition lives on.
“It’s nice to see them stay in the business,” Dick Carleton, 65,
said. “I guess every father wants their kids to follow in their
Jim Carleton said nothing beats working for himself, and there’s
no better place to raise children than on a farm. Jim Carleton,
and his wife, Heather, have four children in their blended family:
Kyle, 15; Cody, 14,; Madison, 11, and Noel, 11.
Greg Carleton, and his wife, Wendi, have three children: Andrew,
19; Rylee, 16; and Logan, 13. Both men said they think it’s
possible one or more of their children will choose the farm life
“It just gets in your blood as a kid,” Jim Carleton, 41, said.
Each Carleton said he grew his first crop at the age of 15.
“We were working as farm hands when we were old enough to drive a
tractor,” Greg Carleton, 46, said.
In 1994, Jim and Greg Carleton bought out Dick Carleton’s former
partner, and Greg’s father, Sam. Dick said the progression from
his father, Alfred, to him wasn’t as formal and felt natural.
“It got to the point where I was running the farm,” Dick Carleton
said. “We just did it.”
Running the farm
Now, Jim Carleton spends much of his time inside the farm office
running the business side of the operation. Greg Carleton works
the production end. Both men said their wives serve in a
supporting role when it comes to the farming life.
“(Wendi) has an off-farm career,” Greg Carleton said.
Dick said Helen Carleton, his mother, was able to accept the
Century Farm designation before she died and was particularly
proud of the award.
“It’s quite an accomplishment to see a farm stay in an immediate
family that many years,” Dick Carleton said. “There’s not many