History abounds in southwest Minnesota's newest century farms
REGIONAL — Across Minnesota, 154 family farms are being honored in 2020 for reaching 100 years of continuous family ownership. These century farms qualify for recognition only if they are 50 acres or more in size and, through land records, are proven to have remained in the family during the 100-year period.
In the six counties of far southwest Minnesota, 15 farms are being recognized as Century farms in 2020. Many of them are featured among these pages.
The Globe would also like to recognize the following farms along the northern fringe of our coverage area. They include three Cottonwood County farms, near Jeffers, Lamberton and Revere; a Murray County farm near Walnut Grove and a Pipestone County farm near Pipestone.
Congratulations to all Century Farm honorees.
Earl and Judith Enstad, Section 2, Ann Township, rural Revere, Cottonwood County. Their 160-acre farm was homesteaded in 1871 (149 years ago) from the U.S. Government by Peder Enstad, great-grandfather to Earl. Peder emigrated to America from Lesja, Oppland, Norway, and constructed a sod house on the land for his family and animals. The family lived in the inner part of the sod house, and the animals on the outer part — their body heat keeping everyone warm. Twisted prairie grass was bundled and burned for heat.
Peder’s homestead had a Sioux Indian trail traversing it, and one day a group of braves came by. One of them had a badly infected wound and Peder’s wife treated him with carbolic acid — the only antiseptic she had. When the remaining braves returned a few days later, expecting to find him dead, he was sitting up and eating.
“They were amazed and delighted and stopped in friendship later when they came down that trail,” Earl and Judith wrote on their Century Farm application.
Robert and Marian Schoper, Section 6, Amboy Township, rural Jeffers, Cottonwood County. The 153.72-acre Schoper Farm was established in 1919 (warranty deed filed March 1, 1920) by Henry Schoper, who emigrated from Hehlen, Germany. A home was built on the farm in 1921 and still stands today.
The Geraldine Hubert life estate, owners of the newly designated Hubert Century Farm, was once a 400-acre parcel in portions of Sections 2, 3 and 10 in Highwater Township near Lamberton in Cottonwood County. Today, 100 acres remains in the family. The land was settled by Gust Hubert in 1916. The house, barn and granary are among the original buildings still standing on the homestead.
Gary and Cathy Kassel, Section 22 of Holly Township, near Walnut Grove in Murray County. The Kassel farm was originally purchased as a half-section on April 28, 1911 by Fred Kassel at a cost of $75 per acre. Eighty acres from the original purchase remains in family ownership. The barn stands as the last original building on the farm, with a new home constructed in 1992. The Kassels grow corn, soybeans, cattle, dairy and hogs on the farm that has spanned three generations of Kassel family owners.
John and LaVonne Bucher, Section 14, Gray Township, Pipestone County. The original 80-acre Bucher Farm was purchased by William and Dora Lubke in 1918 for $100 per acre from the estate of Ogden Smith. Smith had homesteaded the land in 1888. The original house, a 12- by 20-foot structure with a loft, was where William and Dora lived with six to eight of their 13 children, they noted on their century farm application. The house was converted into grain storage in the 1950s, and was destroyed by a small tornado in 1984. The barn, built in 1919, is the only original building remaining on the farm, with a new house constructed there in 1981 by John and LaVonne. John is the great-grandson of William and Dora.
The Janice Robertson Trust owns a 160-acre farm in Section 31, Indian Lake Township, Nobles County. All that remains of this farm is the tillable land and an acreage that includes the original grove, a shop and granary, according to Lloyd Robertson of rural Worthington. The land was purchased by his great-grandparents, Adolph and Selma Brink, on March 26, 1917, and transitioned to their daughter and son-in-law, Beda and Will Robertson, then their son, Herbert (Janice) Robertson. Today, the farm produces corn, soybeans and alfalfa.