Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Learning From a Century Farm

While I was back in Minnesota for Easter, I visited the bf's family farm. His family has a 80 cow dairy and plans to put in 2 robots to do the milking in the near future, as his younger brother is taking over the farm and has a 78 head herd of Angus cattle as well. It's a Century Farm - a feat recognized each year by the Minnesota Farm Bureau at the Minnesota State Fair for families farming for 100 years or more. My own grandpa farmed my family's farm before my dad, but it is far from a Century Farm as he bought it and moved from a different farm when my dad was young, so it's interesting for me to see and hear the history behind a Century Farm. My grandpa passed away years ago, but he helped on the farm until he longer physically could. The bf's grandpa similarly helped out until he no longer could, and still talks about farming frequently.

After Easter dinner, the bf's grandpa started talking about when he was younger and farmed the same land the family farms today. He got to talking about how they used horses to do all the field work, how the mares were strong and well-built, and how it was 3 1/2 miles to one of their far fields. With horses, 3 1/2 miles was a pretty long trek. His grandpa is over 90 years old, and it still struck me to hear how different farming was back then and how much progress we've made since then,  even though I'd read about it previously. Somehow hearing it firsthand was just different. It's so interesting to think back to a time before tractors were common, before artificial insemination was used, before many things common on today's operations were even thought of.

His grandpa doesn't often talk about when he worked on the farm, but is fascinating and I hope to be able to hear him talk more about it. As the bf's younger brother starts his own beef herd and prepares to eventually take over the dairy operation as well, the farm has a bright future ahead and it appears to have had a great history as well.

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