Woodward family

Four generations of the Thomas-Woodward family, who are being recognized with the Century Farm Award for working the same land their ancestors had 100 years ago or more.

NAMPA — The Thomas-Woodard family in Nampa has been honored with the Century Farm Award, which recognizes families that have owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years.

Maurice Woodard and his family received a Century Farm sign on Thursday and certificate signed by Gov. Brad Little, Idaho State Historical Society Executive Director Janet Gallimore and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Executive Director Celia Gould.

The presentation took place at the Idaho State Archives in Boise.

Ira Thomas arrived by train in 1908 to Idaho to choose a suitable place to relocate his family, according to a press release from the Historical Society. Being a dry-land farmer from Nebraska, he chose the north Nampa area. With a newly organized irrigation district, it promised a supply of irrigation water to ensure a yearly crop.

There was no house on the farm, so the family lived in Nampa while Ira lived in a granary while building the family home. In 1928, Ira’s son, Floyd Thomas, took over the farm, milking cows, raising hay, grain and pasture. All machinery was horse-drawn.

Elaine, Floyd Thomas’s daughter, married Maurice Woodard in 1950 and shortly thereafter moved onto the farm and continued to milk cows and raise hay, grain and corn. In 1974, Steve, son of Maurice and Elaine, and his wife joined the farming operations. Steve and his daughter, Valerie, work together to manage 1,300 acres of winter wheat, seed corn, field corn, peppermint, onions and sugar beets.

Maurice Woodard continues to live on the original 40 acres.

Since the Century Farm/Ranch program began in 1990, more than 450 farms and ranches statewide have been designated Idaho Century Farms or Ranches by the ISDA and the Idaho State Historical Society. The program recognizes family farm operations with at least 40 acres of the original parcel still maintained.