CRAWFORD COUNTY - Three Crawford County farm families were honored at the 2017 Wisconsin State Fair as families that have owned their farms for 100 years or more. Those families are Stanley and Godela Iverson, Gays Mills; Gari Lorenz, Wauzeka; and Jesse and Kurt Swenson, Soldiers Grove.
In addition, Dorothy and Donald Hyde of Viola, Richland County; Sharon and David Williams of Chaseburg in Vernon County; and Dawn and Doug Birkholz of Wilton in Monroe County were honored as well.
At the event, held on Tuesday, Aug. 8, Alice in Dairyland Crystal Siemers-Peterman talked about her passion for agriculture and offered suggestions of ways farm families can continue to tell their story. Fairest of the Fair Rebecca Starkenburg noted, “Farming is not just a job – it’s a lifestyle.”
Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel asked families to think about that first generation on their farm and the things they needed to do with the land before they could even put a seed in the ground. He talked about disasters of fires and storms that have threatened farms over the years and the perseverance it took to keep the farm in the family.
“I thought I was rich when I grew up, but I came to realize we had no money, but we had family, Brancel said. “Every generation has its struggles and challenges.”
Wisconsin State Fair Historian Jerry Zimmerman welcomed the farm families and invited them to see the new log-cabin historical museum at State Fair Park. Noting the seventh and eighth generation families that were on hand at the fair he said, “That’s true love; it’s how I feel about the fair.”
Fifty-one farms were honored for 150 years or more on the farm. So far, 785 farms have received the Sesquicentennial Farm and Home Award since 1998.
Another 132 farm families joined the 9,212 Century Farms already honored since 1948 when the program was started as a part of the fair’s Centennial celebration.
To qualify for the award, families are required to provide proof of continuous family ownership of a property in the State of Wisconsin for either the last 100 or 150 years.