AVOCA — Alice Vosberg is pleased to honor her late husband, Darwin, with a century farm designation of the land Darwin’s grandparents began farming in 1919.
“It was always Darwin’s dream for the farm to reach 100 years,” she said.
It’s easy to see why.
The 155.2-acre farm has been passed through the Vosberg generations, each bringing new technology and insight to farming the land.
Paul and Helen (Bierman) Vosberg purchased the property in 1919. They managed the farm for 29 years and sold it to their son and daughter-in-law, Edward and Lu Vella Vosberg, in 1948. Edward and Lu Vella subsequently sold the farm to their son and daughter-in-law, Darwin and Alice Vosberg, in 1973.
In the century that the Vosbergs have owned the property, many changes have been made.
The original single car garage is still standing, although the roof and door have been replaced. A corner of the cement floor sports an engraving: “Vosberg and Sons, October 4, 1930.”
Also mostly original is the 70-foot windmill. The structure fell in 2012 and was restored with a new wheel.
Both the house and the barn have been replaced, in 1954 and 1973, respectively. The barn replacement including modernization for milking cows.
Removed and not replaced were the hog barn and the chicken house in 2011 and 2018. The Vosbergs added some more buildings for vehicle storage.
Over the years, the farm has been home to dairy cows, hogs and horses. Crops included flax, oats, corn, soybeans and alfalfa.
Alice said Darwin preferred farming with Minneapolis Moline tractors, the first of which he purchased in 1969.
Although Alice and Darwin loved farming, they began additional employment in the 1980s to supplement their farm income.
Since Darwin’s passing in 2009, Alice has run the farm, including renting the land to a local farmer who rotates soybeans and corn. She has undertaken a host of improvements to the property, including removing some groves of trees, updating the plumbing and electricity and replacing the roof of the house.
“I’m very proud to have done it,” Alice said of her farm management. She also credits help from her children, Greg, Dean and Rhonda.
“It’s not a big farm, but it’s a nice income for me,” she added.
Vosberg describes farm life as “peaceful and quiet.” She likes working outside. She mows the lawn herself, even though it takes eight hours.
Another special project in Darwin’s memory has been finishing his restoration of a 1957 Ford Fairlane 500. It’s the model he drove when he and Alice were dating.
After his passing, Darwin’s family finished the project. Alice now drives the car in local parades.
In the future, she hopes to keep passing the farm through the Vosberg line.
“I would like someone in the family to buy it,” she said.
To celebrate the century farm designation, Vosberg is hosting a family party in August, with cake and outdoor games for the grandchildren. She hopes to have 100 guests to commemorate 100 years.