The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Bryan Wolfe Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

October 31, 2014


“A Fifth-Generation Farmer and Rancher”  October 31, 2014  Location: Valley Library, Oregon State University.  Watch Video | Download Transcript (PDF)

In the interview, Wolfe describes his family background as a fifth-generation farmer and rancher growing up near Wallowa, Oregon. In this, he discusses his parents and grandparents, his contacts with 4-H and FFA as a boy, and his wife's background as a native of Joseph, Oregon. He likewise reflects on community life in the Wallowa area, his memories of high school, and his decision to attend Oregon State University.

Recalling his OSU experience, Wolfe speaks of his transition to a larger community and a different climate, the 1962 Columbus Day Storm, his academic progression in Agricultural Economics, and his social life, with particular attention paid to his activities as a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity. He also notes his participation in agricultural clubs and the OSU Flying Club, a trip that he took to the 1965 Rose Bowl football game, and jobs that he held while an undergraduate.

The session then shifts focus to Wolfe's activities as a farmer and rancher following college. Wolfe begins by sharing his memories of returning to the family ranch and setting up a household. He then outlines the specifics of the family's expansion of its operations, including their purchase of large tracts of land near Pendleton and Hermiston, the growth of their cattle herd, and their implementation of center-pivot irrigation circles. He also touches on the risk that farmers assume, particularly with respect to inclement weather, and the personal impact that weather disasters have made on his own crops over the years.

As it nears its conclusion, the interview concentrates primarily on Wolfe's civic engagement. He speaks of his work on the state Board of Forestry, comments on the proliferation of windmills in eastern Oregon, and notes his continued connection to Extension and Experiment Stations. The session ends with Wolfe's thoughts on the future of agriculture in Oregon and some remarks on the paths that his children have followed into adulthood.