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The first issue of the Ranch, located in North Yakima, came off the press of the Yakima Herald on January, 20, 1894. During the same year Charles Pollock, P. Wilcox, William H. Wilcox, George N. Tuesley, and Edgar Howard Libby formed the Yakima Publishing Company and bought the Yakima Republic. The group also took responsibility for the Ranch. Financial problems triggered considerable turnover in the Yakima publishing community, and the Republic was nearly defunct before W. H. James and L. E. Sperry became owners in early 1896. The Ranch may also have been a victim of the troubled economic climate and frequent changes of ownership; no issues are known to have been printed after August 18, 1894.
The Ranch is among the earliest agricultural journals published in the state of Washington. It encouraged farmers to employ scientific knowledge to their farming practice. The Ranch may also have inspired Miller Freeman to found a similar journal, the Ranche and Range in 1897. For the few months of existence, Edgar Howard Libby remained the editor and creative force at the Ranch. Educated at the University of Massachusetts, Libby spent his early professional life editing and publishing journals such as the Scientific Farmer (Amherst and Boston), American Agriculturalist (New York), Land and Home (New York), Farmer's Review (Chicago), and Our Country Home (Greenfield, Massachusetts). He also contributed to the Irrigation Age in Chicago. News of planned irrigation projects in North Yakima may have encouraged Libby to move to Washington. The financial panic of 1893 brought instability to the local publishing industry, and conditions were unfavorable for his new venture. By early 1896 Libby had left North Yakima and formed the Lewiston (Idaho) Water and Power Company, an organization that completed ambitious irrigation and bridge construction projects in the Lewiston-Clarkston area with the financial backing of East Coast investors.
Provided by: Washington State Library; Olympia, WA