TULELAKE — Butte Valley ranchers Harold and Roger Porterfield, who operate the family’s 20,000-plus acre ranch near Dorris, will be honored at the Tulelake-Butte Valley Fair’s third annual Farmers and Ranchers Appreciation Day dinner Friday night.
The Porterfield ranch has been in the family since 1939 when Harold and Roger’s father, Guy, bought a ranch originally settled in the mid-1800s as the JF Ranch. They still use Fairchild’s historic brand.
Following Guy Porterfield’s death in 1945, when he was killed in a ranching accident, the ranch was operated as Mary Porterfield & Sons until the early 1960s, when her sons bought the ranch. Mary Porterfield, 103, still lives on the ranch.
Handle daily operations
Harold, 81, and Roger, 75, handle the day-to-day operations of the 2,500 cow-calf operation. Along with ranch duties, they oversee full-time and seasonal crews and direct the ranch’s extensive hay growing program.
“We stay busy,” Harold said Tuesday afternoon after spending the day riding horseback and shipping steers. “We get help, but we do most of the riding ourselves.”
Their names will be added to a perpetual plaque started three years ago. They will be honored at a 6 p.m. Friday free dinner at a special tent on the fairgrounds.
Fair manager Dave Dillabo said the appreciation day and dinner honors the region’s farmers and ranchers.
“It’s really turned into a great event,” he said, noting last year’s dinner attracted more than 250 people.
“The settling of the whole Klamath Basin was started through agriculture,” he said. “The agricultural economy is the largest economic sector in the Basin. Really, the day is just a reflection of everybody’s appreciation.”
The free dinner, he said, is made through possible through major donations from JW Kerns, American Ag Credit, Sierra Cascade Nursery and Floyd A. Boyd Co.
“It really gives the fair a good opportunity to show our appreciation to all the farmers and ranchers in the Basin,” Dillabo said.
Last year’s farmer-rancher of the year was Robert Byrne of Newell.