Business People Fall 2018 - Page 18

CENTURY FARMS The 1858 deed at left provides proof that 80 acres near Hedrick have been in Vernon Lowenberg’s family for 160 years. Above, In 1909, Francis Buckner deeds the land to his deceased daughter’s children. had to raise oats and legumes to build up the soil. And then it went to commercial fertilizer to raise corn. And soybeans helped with the nitrogen in the soil,” Lowenberg said. Lowenberg no longer farms the land. John Kielkopf raises crops there now. Kielkopf applied for the Century Farm sta- tus, Bienfang said. “And we got the Heritage [Farm Award] this year, too.” The 80 acres has been owned by the family for 160 years, even if they don’t continue to farm it. “We don’t have any farmers in the family,” Lowenberg said. His five children are scattered across the country: Ted and Fred in Florida, Tony in Nebraska and Janet in Arizona. Bienfang lives south of Kansas City. Lowenberg enjoyed farming, he said. “You’re outdoors … working with the soil. It's just a nice way of raising a family. A good place to raise a family.” Lowenberg farmed about 300 acres, he said. “I did have live- stock on other farms. I had live- stock cattle, hogs and sheep.” “The farm we grew up on was north of Ottumwa,” Bienfang said. “That’s where we had all the livestock – chicken, hogs, cattle.” Lowenberg attended the Iowa State Fair to receive the Century Farm award this summer. Family members that were present took their turn being photographed in front of the large Century Farm sign. “It was fun to be at the fair. I hadn’t been there for a long time,” Bienfang said. “Janet came back from Arizona. Janet and I and Dad went up, and it 18 BUSINESS PEOPLE was a hot day.” The family received a metal plaque to hang on the property, but there’s no building on the 80 acres where they can hang it. “And he got a paper certificate that we can put in a frame,” Bienfang said. Lowenberg worked long hours while farming, he said, and retir- ing didn’t come all at once. “I sort of retired slowly. I didn’t retire completely. I retained some things to do on the farm when I retired. Other people did the actual farming.” The industry, like everything else, has changed, Lowenberg said. “It’s hard to keep up with the changes. The machinery and the cost of machinery is just so difficult to pay for. So it’s a whole different ballgame than when I farmed. “I started farming in about 1938,” Lowenberg said. “I still planted corn with horses, and the horses came into the picture quite a lot.” He picked corn by hand and harvested oats with a binder. “There wasn’t any combines at that time,” Lowenberg said. The bean field was weeded by hand, Lowenberg said. “My kids have never forgotten.” Bienfang confirmed that. She had to ask for help pulling some of the tougher weeds, she said. “If the ground was dry and hard, the weeds were tough to get out of the ground,” Lowenberg said. “I was there, too,” Lowenberg said. “It’d be hot, so we’d get out there early in the morning and quit by noon in the heat of the day. It was a family job.” It was a family farm. South Side Drug SALES & RENTALS • HOSPITAL EQUIPMENT 1200 ITEMS • HOSPITAL BEDS • WHEELCHAIRS • WALKERS COMMODES • TRACTION EQUIPMENT • OSTOMY SUPPLIES ORTHOPEDIC GARMENTS • POWER LIFT CHAIRS SALES RENTALS INSTRUCTION REPAIRS SERVICES • FREE DELIVERY• WEEKDAYS 8-8 • SUN. 9-5 Medicare & Insurance Billing 337 Church St • Ottumwa 641-682-3467 If you or a loved one have questions about Hospice, please call, (641) 684-9309 and any of our staff will be happy to assist you. Serving: Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Mahaska, Monroe Van Buren, & Wapello counties Hospice 1111 No. Quincy Ave. Suite 127 “In Christ’s Love Everyone Is Someone”