June 13, 2018
Passing down the farm from generation to generation has been a tried and true business model for farm families throughout the United States. Although the practice of multigenerational farms is less common today than it once was, one local family is celebrating four generations and 50 years of growing wine grapes in the Yakima Valley.
Marcus Miller and Lori (Miller) Stevens are the fourth generation to operate their family farming business, Airport Ranches and Airfield Estates Winery. Their goal is not to just sustain the business; they are laying the foundation for the next generation.
“Farmland today is often purchased by larger corporations and is no longer passed down to future generations,” said Stevens. “One of our goals is to pass this legacy of farming on to our children. We want to think about what our great-grandfather created and the vision he had for the potential of the Yakima Valley.”
H. Lloyd Miller, a successful real estate agent and landowner, began acquiring dry farmland in Sunnyside in the 1920s with hopes he would have access to water and could someday farm his property. Eventually he became chairman of the Roza Irrigation Canal board and saw the project through to its completion in 1951.
When the country was preparing for World War II, Miller was approached by the Olympia Air Transport Corp. to lease his land for a civilian flight school. Knowing he wouldn’t have access to water anytime soon, he signed the lease. Construction began Dec. 21, 1941, and included three dirt runways, a 70-foot water tower, multiple airplane hangars, a mess hall, barracks and several storage buildings. In 1943, the school changed to the War Training Service Program and began exclusively training aerobatics and evasive flying techniques.
The buildings were auctioned…>>>Read the entire article on the Yakima Herald