Hodnefields still keeping busy on their Century Farm
Original owner came to the United States from Norway
JACKSON — Peter and Sherri Hodnefield have been farming in Jackson County’s Hunter Township for more than 40 years. Their son, Nick, has lived and farmed at the site for the last eight years, while they’ve moved to a home along Loon Lake.
The Hodnefields’ farm, however, has a much more extensive history, as it’s being recognized this year as a Minnesota Century Farm. As is the case with many area Century Farms, the tale of the Hodnefield’s property begins with the story of immigrants.
“The original owner was Carl Hodnefield and he originally came from Mosteroy, Norway,” Peter said. “He immigrated in 1904, at age 19, and lived in North Dakota for a while and started his farm work there.
“Later, he traveled to Montana with the intention of homesteading, but he was not satisfied and he returned back to North Dakota,” Peter explained of his grandfather. “After he married his wife, Malina, they moved to Jeffers on land that belonged to Malina’s father. Then, after three years, her father sold the land in Jeffers, and they moved to Jackson County in September 1914.”
Carl and Malina initially rented another farm that belonged to Malina’s father in Hunter Township, and lived there and worked the land for about two years. In 1917, Carl bought two 80-acre tracts, also in Hunter Township, from Albert and Mary Schultz for $224 per acre.
“There were two 80s right across the road from each other,” Peter said. “I know he had cattle and hogs, and he probably milked a few cows because I know there were stanchions in the old barn.”
Peter said the current farm house was constructed in 1922 with materials purchased from Montgomery Ward. Carl lived and farmed at the site until 1947, when son Ernest — one of 12 children, and later Peter’s father — took over.
“Carl and Malina moved to the Twin Cities … and Dad bought the farm on a 30-year contract for deed,” Peter said. “He did a lot of livestock, too, and he had feeder cattle and farrowed pigs.”
Ernest had previously attended the District 15 country school directly across the road from his farm. Shortly after taking over the farm, he purchased a 1948 Case VAC tractor that remains in the family’s possession. A Farmall Super H tractor that is also still on the farm was bought in 1954.
Peter, meanwhile, recalled that “as a kid, all I did was pick rock and walk beans all summer long” on the farm. He and his sister, Laurel, grew up on the property, and Peter started farming it in 1979 after his high school graduation.
Ernest died in 1991, and Peter purchased the farm from his mother, Yvonne, in 1997. He continues to farm with son Nic today; Nic and wife Lindsay have two children — Milo and Ada — who are the fifth generation to live in the Hodnefield farm house.
“The home is still there and the old chicken barn, but that’s really it for original structures,” said Nic, adding the last cattle left the farm about the time he was learning to ride a bike without training wheels.
Peter and his wife, Sherri, have another son, Eric, who lives nearby and works at AGCO as an engineer. Nic’s wife is also an engineer.