CAMBRIDGE (F&R) — After 155 years, the time has come for the historic Wilkerson Ranch of Cambridge to change hands, according to a news release.
The ranch, honored as one of Idaho’s century ranches for being in the same family since pre-statehood in 1890, has been in the Wilkerson family since they came into the Salubria Valley in 1863 and acquired the beginnings of what has long been known as the Wilkerson Ranch, which they homesteaded in 1866.
The ranch is noteworthy for having the oldest barn in the state of Idaho, reverently referred to as the Lincoln Barn, having built of hand-hewn, heavy-timber beams and wooden pegs in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln was in office. The 1,222-acre ranch straddles both sides of U.S. Highway 95 and both sides of the Little Weiser River, located about 5 miles northeast of Cambridge and has run as many as 800 head of cattle in years past.
The Wilkerson family, now led by Mrs. L.K., Russell and Jan, and Gordon and MaryAnne Wilkerson, have sold the entire ranch to another multigenerational farming family: The Mosekian family, consisting of Brett and Melanie and their two children, Briel and Brice. The Mosekians have been helping the Wilkersons for the past month. Brett and Brice Mosekian have farmed for decades in the Central Valley of California, outside of Fresno. In addition, Brice has had cattle experience working on a Colorado ranch.
While the Wilkersons consider it a hard and emotional decision to allow its long-time ranch pass to another family, it has become all too common lately. In fact, in a national conference a few years ago, the national director of the USDA’s Natural Resources and Conservation Service remarked that the estimation “is that in the next 10 to 15 years, between one-half and three-fourths of all farms and ranches could trade hands” out of long-time family holdings.
“One of my strongest passions for being in this business is to help retain the continuity of farming and ranching for the future of the ag community and help younger farmers and ranchers build their future,” said Lon Lundberg of Gateway Realty Advisors, the business that brokered the transaction and represented the buyer. “Otherwise, we’ll have retiring farmers and ranchers leaving with no one to fill their boots; except perhaps corporate farming. It has truly been my honor and privilege to work with these two fine families in this historic transition.”
To the Wilkersons, it is a time of somber yet joyful reflection of a great life in a great community of friends raising their families. For the Mosekians it is a time of hopeful expectation to carry on the tremendous legacy and high standards set by the Wilkersons in their ranching and farming operations. They are excited about being a contributing part of this community.
And if the Mosekian family is still there in 2163, there will have been two families spanning 300 years.