Christensen Ranch 1923 - 2023
colorado centennial ranch
Since 1923, our family has been farming and ranching in Northeastern Colorado. In recognition of our 100-year history, Christensen Ranch was designated as a Colorado Centennial Ranch through the Centennial Farms Program. Our family will be honored at the Centennial Farms & Ranches Celebration at the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo, Colorado on August 25, 2023. We join an incredible list of families who have contributed to Colorado’s agriculture industry for generations. Click here to see the full list of 2023 Centennial Farms & Ranches Honorees.
Eric and Kathy’s grandfather, Edward R. Christensen was born in Brush, Colorado in 1898. He came to Weldona, Colorado in 1923, leasing the future homeplace from the long-time area Schaefer family for a year and half. He chose Weldon Valley for the important water rights found in the Weldon Valley Ditch, which was established in 1881. It is the second oldest water right on the South Platte River, making it valuable in short water years as it is the second to last water right to be called out of use in the river when water is in short supply.
Grandpa Edward leased the house and farm ground for a couple of years, growing and raising sugar beets, alfalfa, corn, sheep, hogs, a few beef and milk cows, turkeys, and chickens. He married Mary Critchfield in 1927. Mary taught school before becoming a farm wife. They raised 4 children: Arlene, Don, Glen, and Larry.
After Edward passed in 1969, his sons, Don, Glen, and Larry, continued the business of feeding and finishing cattle year-round while expanding the ranch. The ranch began marketing custom bulk natural beef to consumers in 1995 and by 2000, with third generation cousins Kathy and Eric back in the business, a cow herd was added. The cow herd supplies the retail beef program that launched in 2017. To date, Christensen Ranch has shipped to all 50 states and Canada.
In the mid-1980s, after decades of fighting to stop the federal government from forcing the valley where the farm and ranch are located to be covered under an unsustainable reservoir, the Christensen family along with neighboring families, stopped the project from progressing.
Considerable family time and finances were expended to stop this project, which was not feasibly sound. Starting with ER Christensen fighting the government in the early 1900s, then second generation brothers, Don, Glen, and Larry taking up the fight in the 70s and 80s, the small community of Weldon Valley was able to stop the federal government from proceeding.
It was the first time in US history this type of project was stopped by citizens versus the government. The fight was not about keeping the land for only those families to continue their livelihoods, but rather because the site chosen for the reservoir had engineering documentation showing it was not suitable to hold water for the long term and the dam would fail.