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Chandler Valley Ranch Brings Agriculture to the Next Generation

By Julie M. Chandler

The beautiful Chandler Valley Ranch north of Weiser just west of Devils Elbow has been hosting and teaching Weiser’s youth about ranch life and agriculture for over 50 years.  Frank and Nancy Chandler began this tradition when they welcomed their first group of youngsters onto their beautiful property inviting them to learn a little of the vital role ranching and agriculture plays in our nation’s survival.  This tradition continues even today with their son Kirk and grandson Cody carrying on this tradition.  The hills are their most beautiful – multiple shades of green as the early spring growth covers them while children run from one station to the next excited to experience this unique life style.  

A few years ago, the Chandler Family decided to enlarge the learning choices by inviting some other local agricultural businesses and the Farm Bureau resources to join in this event.  This year’s ranch day was coordinated by Tricia Roberts, the Promotion and Education Chairperson for the Washington County Farm Bureau Board.  The 180 young people from Pioneer Elementary School in Weiser and The Treasure Valley Classic Academy in Fruitland with many educators and parents “herding” them along, included seven stations.  

Kirk and a couple of his grandsons, Mayson and Monson, taught the area youth all about the sheep industry.  The walk up to the lambing sheds took them along fields of feed growing along the road for the sheep to eat as they are turned out each day.  They learned about the Cattle Industry and the horses used to work them from Cody and Britany and their daughters Larell and Emmy along with a few FFA friends. 

Kelley Orchards owned and operated by Ron and Kimi Kelley shared their fruit business with the young people even letting them sample a yummy dried apples and fresh pressed apple cider.  Megan Parnell, the Farm Bureau District 4 Regional Manager delivered the Farm Bureau trailer with the big dairy cow to teach about the dairy industry and the wheat grinders to talk about the grains grown in our valley.  Tricia, Tristan Winegar, Alex and Cade Chandler, Dusty Bryant a local Farm Bureau agent and Megan talked about these two industries and even cooked the children a pancake from the freshly ground flour.  

The wool industry was shared by Richard White and Tim Chandler.  After they learned about wool, carding, spinning, yarns and all the fun things that can be created from it, Elaina Chandler helped them make a real wool bracelet to wear home.

The last station was Geology.  Begun years ago by Frank and Nancy, the original owners, their oldest daughter Julie, a retired Pioneer 3rd grade teacher (who began bringing her classroom and others to the ranch as early as 1976 until she retired in 2014), has continued the dip into the geology of our area and the amazing rocks found in our valley.  This love of rocks began with their father Frank and continues throughout the entire family.  

This wonderful, informative day always ends in the Chandler’s vast yard with lots of room to run and play and a hot dog lunch provided by the classes.  

What a wonderful way to learn about this most precious resource available in our beautiful Weiser community.

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