By Justen Ollendick, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern:For over a hundred years, the Flake family has been farming and ranching around the community of Snowflake in northeastern Arizona. As a fourth-generation native Arizona rancher, Gerald Flake has continued this agricultural legacy and is passing the heritage down to his children and grandchildren. Mr. Flake quietly embodies the rural values and the historic ranching traditions he inherited while happily embracing the innovations and new technologies that have come into the field.
An interview with Gerald Flake of Snowflake, Arizona.
Part of an ongoing series about Arizona farming and ranching families.
Tell us about your farming and ranching: In the late 1970’s, I left my job with the Farmers Home Administration with hopes of operating my own alfalfa and cattle operations
Arlene and Gerald represent more than 100 years of ranching in Arizona. The next generation of Flakes
Why did you choose to go into agriculture? In 1878 my great grandfather William Jordon
What changes have you seen in your lifetime as it relates to farming and/or ranching? I have watched many ranchers in my area succumb to subdividing their rangeland off into 40-acre “ranchettes.” I myself have made changes to adapt. We utilize EPD technology and the latest information on range nutrition and supplements. We have made extreme improvements in cattle handling facilities and range management.
Will anyone in your family -
Would you ever consider growing an emerging crop or changing your farm or ranch model? I continually make changes to adopt new techniques into my operation. I leveled my irrigated
What are your community activities? Though my farming and ranching operation keeps me busy, I have found time to serve the cattle and crop industries by serving in the Arizona Farm Bureau at the county and state levels. My wife Arlene and I have traveled to Washington, DC to lobby for the industry. I served for many years as the 2nd vice-president for the Arizona Farm Bureau Federation. I continue to be an active member of the group and Arlene currently promotes agriculture by volunteering in student education programs that help teach kids about the origins of their food.
During a break at an Arizona Farm Bureau Board of Directors meeting, you can find this dedicated couple holding hands and chatting.
We are also active in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and spend time volunteering in the various organizations.
What do you enjoy doing? Taken from an earlier article: A Study in Leadership from One Arizona Agriculture Couple!; All types of engagement exist, but Arlene’s love of sports might be a good example to start with. Says Arlene, “I loved being secretary to the athletic director at Snowflake High School and still love High School athletics.” Perhaps this is because in her youth she was a softball
- Gerald received the FFA Honorary Chapter Farmer Degree.
- He and Arlene served an
18 monthmission in Nebraska for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and continue to be active withtheir church.
- Gerald is also a member of the Navajo County Cattleman’s Association.
- Arlene is past president of the Silver Creek Performing Association and volunteered to coach softball and basketball with the Snowflake recreation program.
- She is currently serving as the Snowflake Heritage Foundation president.
- They both support the local sports teams.
- Gerald was chairman of the Jr. Livestock Committee for the Navajo County Fair for several years
- Arlene served as a 4-H leader in several different kinds of clubs
Why are you a farm bureau member? I grew up in a Farm Bureau family. My parents were members for as long as I can remember. FB is our representation with state and federal governments.
How will the next generation of farmers have to operate? New technology is becoming available every day. This increases