Four generations of farming

Barb Holmgren
Special to the Plaindealer

Four miles north on Highway 4 is the Anderson family farm. The Anderson family has lived on and farmed their land for the past four generations, John, Clarence, Dale, and Dustin. 

It all started back in 1880 when John bought the farmland from the railroad. In 1930, Clarence started farming and took over the farm in 1960. Clarence's son Dale now lives on the farm with his wife Debbie, they moved to the farm in 1983.

They were married in October 1997 during harvest time. All the combines in the neighborhood shut down to come to the wedding, but it was back to work on Monday. Debbie said she is still waiting for a honeymoon.

The fourth generation is Dale and Debbie's son Dustin. He works on the farm with Dale and assists with the hog operation.

Debbie and Dale were high school sweethearts and have been married for 46 years. They are blessed with four children, Dustin ( Kara), Danielle ( Ryan), David (Jen), and Danon (Tricia). They also have 12 grandchildren. The whole family lives 30 miles from the farm and admits their best times were growing up on the farm.

Andersons agree that harvest is the best time on the farm. Getting up early every morning and going to bed late every night. The smells of harvest grain, corn drying in the dryers, black dirt turned over, and fresh spread manure. And the beautiful colors and the harvest moons, are some of the things that make it the best time.

Since the family started the farm there as been a lot of changes. Clarence used to use horses and mules that only worked half a day. Now Dale uses tractors with cabs that have heaters and air conditioning, it has the ability to drive itself, and it can run all day and night.

How they harvest has also changed back when Clarence farmed he used a John Deere corn picker that only picked two rows at a time. With the advancements now Dale has a combine that can harvest 80 or more acres in a day. Harvesting machinery isn't the only change during harvest time, after harvesting the corn Clarence hauled it to the elevator by tractor and wagon. Those are long gone, Dale uses a semi-truck to get the grain to the elevator.

How they took their break was different when Clarence worked on the farm too. He would have a coffee break at 10 a.m., lunch at noon, and coffee again at 3 p.m. Dale with how his tractor and combine are has a fridge in them, so he can take breaks in the tractor.

The Andersons used to have to walk the beans and hoe to get rid of the weeds. But now they have spray and sometimes use airplanes to assist.

Debbie and Dale's advice while farming is to go back to Sundays as a day of rest and enjoy family time. They also said that farming is perfect if you want to be your own bass and it allows you to be close to nature. You usually get one shot at things and make the best of it.