Written by Christina Nellemann
Photos courtesy of Ciara Ressel, Nevada Department of Agriculture
The cover of the Winter 2018 issue of edible Reno-Tahoe magazine features a sizzling steak synonymous with Nevada’s legacy ranchers and members of the Centennial Ranch and Farm award. Three more 100-year-old ranches were added to the award list during the Nevada Cattlemen’s Association’s Annual Convention Awards Banquet on November 16, 2018.
The Miller family of Miller Ranch in Paradise Valley
Miller Ranch is located in Paradise Valley and has been an operating ranch since 1914. The original owner, Gerhard Miller Sr., and his wife, Maria Gesina Miller, ran the 450-acre ranch where they raised cattle with their son, George, and his wife, Elizabeth. Gerhard’s grandson, Paul, later irrigated the ranch to produce alfalfa and grain. Paul’s son, Stacy Dean Miller, now owns and operates the ranch and grain farm.
The Moura Ranch milking barn in Lovelock
Located in the Upper Valley of Lovelock, Moura Ranch was founded in 1916. The original 80 acres were purchased by Manuel and Maria Moreira, and a portion of the land was dedicated to Fairview School, which their daughter, Virginia, attended. Virginia and her husband, Manuel Moura, purchased additional land to expand their livestock business. Virginia and Manuel’s son, Thomas, and his wife, Darlene, took over the ranch and have passed it down to their three children. Thomas and Darlene’s eldest son, Anthony, and his wife, Lisa, handle the daily care of Moura Ranch along with their children, Daralyn and Devin, raising calves and farming alfalfa and grains.
The Pursel family of Pursel Farms in Yerington
Pursel Farms has existed in Yerington since 1918. Henry Melvin Pursel purchased the original 160 acres and grew potatoes, alfalfa, and cattle. A milking barn, chickens, and a root cellar were added later, and the milking barn can still be seen today. Henry and his wife Rosa’s children, Ralph, Shirley, and Henry Ivy, inherited the farm after Henry’s death. In 1957, Ralph’s son, Melvin, and his wife, Phyllis, purchased the farm from his parents. Melvin’s son and Henry’s great-grandson, Darrell, and his wife, Suzanne, continue to farm alfalfa and raise cattle on the original site.
Hay bales at Pursel Farms
The Nevada Centennial Awards Programrecognizes agricultural families who have owned and operated the same land for 100 years or more. The program started in 2004 and there are currently 52 families on the list. The awards program is sponsored by the Nevada Agriculture Plate funds, Nevada Farm Bureau Federation, Nevada Agricultural Foundation, Nevada Department of Agriculture, Cattlemen’s Association and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.
To qualify as a centennial award recipient, an applicant’s ranch or farm must have belonged to his or her family for at least 100 years and must be a working ranch or farm with a minimum of 160 acres, or, if it is less than 160 acres, it must have gross yearly sales of at least $1,000.
Visit the Department of Agriculture website for a list of past award recipients.