Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ag Week Special Blog Post---History of H&K Farms

Since today is National Ag Day and after my ranting and raving yesterday about people finding any excuse to celebrate 'holidays' I fear I may have been a little hypocritical since this post is dedicated to celebrating a very little known holiday. Today is National Ag Day. Unfortunately there are fewer and fewer farmers to celebrate this holiday, but thanks to American agriculture 17% of this country's workforce can trace their job origins to something in the Agricultural field, so if I am half close on my math (and please don't check my numbers, just play along) that means about 1 in 6 people SHOULD consider this day a 'holiday' of some sort. ;)

Our family, August 2008

Now how to celebrate it? I, for one, have no clue. I will tell how we have celebrated it so far. I sorted through the large stack of farm magazines we seem to accumulate and tossed the oldest ones. Got a roast from the freezer that was out of a calf raised on this farm, for tonights supper. Washed a load of towels that were used with baby calves. Now my Farmer is out feeding the cows. He is also checking fence lines. He watches the herd health and gives sick animals needed medicines. He tracks and ear tags new baby calves, he records their number along with the number of their mommas in a notebook. That's all before 8am in the morning. Is this a holiday? Some, if not most would say, no. And that's fine, guess what, if it was a REAL holiday, our routines would likely be about the same. For example on Christmas morning, the cows still get fed and checked. We still eat food produced on this farm. To pick out one day and say we are celebrating Ag seems odd even to this farm wife. Maybe that is because everyday WE celebrate Agriculture. We are thrilled that the rest of the world, or nation, would single us out and give us a day. We hope you celebrate it!

The Farmer (in the middle), his dad, Bob (on left) and his grandfather, Garrett (on right) in the early 1970's 

Now that my ranting and raving about Ag Day is out of my system, I would like to share another aspect of our farm. Today that aspect is the history of our farm. Yesterday I mentioned that the farm we live on is where my husband did most of his growing up. His parents, ALONG WITH HIS GRANDPARENTS, purchased this farm in 1972. That nowhere near puts us in the running at this location for Missouri's Century Farm status. But if they based it on a family staying in the same occupation for running years, we may be over 200 yrs of farming on the Hasekamp family tree. A few years ago, I was very 'into' scrapbooking and dabbled with a little geneology. I have a cousin on each side of my family who had done the work for me, more or less for my family. So with the combination of boxes and boxes of 'Hasekamp' family pictures and memorabilia and I delved into The Farmer's family history.

Garrett (on right) and one of his brothers, Bill, in 1910 at the farm in Warren County

The farm that they moved from in 1972 had been in the family over 100 yrs before that in Warren county Missouri. Think of where the Rest Stop is on Interstate 70 just west of Wright City, that's where they lived. When I married my Farmer he was farming in partnership with his dad and grandfather. Very interesting and sometimes slightly entertaining, particularly after I realized that they really did like each other, watching 3 generations do ANYTHING together, particularly when you throw livestock into the mix.

Cody and Sam playing on The Farmer's 30+ yrs old Pedal tractor, summer 2000

It's always interesting to me to see what is the 'newest' thing on the market that The Farmer can use to work more efficiently. But when I think back even two generations to the changes that his Grandfather saw in his lifetime, its mindblowing. His Grandfather was born in 1908. When he began farming, he did so with horses. He milked cows, we even have one of the milkcans he sent to the 'milk house' in, with his name on a brass plate on the can. Can you imagine the difference in the team of horses and the 200,000 plus dollar combines that you could readily buy 15 years ago when he passed away at the age of 90? I know I can't. We have an Amish community near us, which gives me a small glimpse at the way of life similar to what Grandpa 'Farmer' lived. The Farmer went to college and has a degree, his Grandfather went to school through 8th grade. Any guesses who could do long division faster and more accurately, in their head? While we have improved many things, there were probably a lot of things we have left behind that maybe shouldn't have been.

Jenna with the bottle calves, Sam in the background, Summer 2008

Sorry sheep friends, but I don't think that I have ever heard any stories about a Hasekamp having sheep. But through the generations, there have always been a diverse amount of animals raised on the farm. Like I said above, The Farmer's Grandfather milked some cows, while I am not sure how many from 'back in the day', I do know that when we first got married there were always two cows here. Enough milk for the family and a few neighbors and kept the barn cats happy. I attempted to milk, more than once, but NEVER got onto how to do it well. Now The Farmer's Grandfather was a 'milking machine' long before there were actual milking machines, LOL! He could sit on this weird little stool, that was sort of one legged and somehow tip the bucket and hold it between the toes of his boots and milk that cow so fast she barely knew what happened. (I should go explore the barn and see if the old 'stool' is still around, I would love to share the picture) Okay, back to the animals raised, besides the 'milk cow or cows' there has always been beef cattle and several of them. Currently they are mostly registered Angus cattle. In the past they raised Herefords (yes Bob Bagnell, there were RED COWS HERE!) Along with cattle, they raised hogs, in a farrow to finish operation. (Farrow=birth, finish=the 'piggie that went to market') There have always been chickens, although at the moment we don't have any.

Seth feeding summer, 2012

Sam feeding, summer 2012

My Farmer's dad was an only child. He and The Farmer's mom farmed with the Grandparents. When my farmer graduated from college, he was brought into the operation. Now as the years have progressed, the operation has evolved into an operation that includes my brother and sister in law. Our future plans are that some, if not all, whoever is interested of our collective children will continue to farm this land that we love. All of our children have varying degrees of interest and specific areas that they are interested in. I know that agriculture is one of those jobs that will always be needed, as long as they are willing to do the work, evolve with the technology and embrace the changes as they come.

The next generation is about here, hoping as farmers we've been proper stewards of the land and as parents we've raised these kids to take their turn in Agriculture and further it until their children are ready, its a cycle we are proud to be a part of.

Now thinking that I will 'celebrate' some more and go put the load of work jeans on the clothesline,
From Tulip~


Julie V. said...

I love this post! Great job! It was a great read! :)


Anonymous said...

Love this Kathy!! Thank you for sharing. Not 100% sure, but I am at least the fourth generation to be involved in farming/agriculture. Would love to dig in the family troves to know more.

Mo Aggie said...

Well I have to admit I hadn't keep up with your blogs lately, but then my wife informed me you mentioned my name and once again picking on Herefords so I had to comment :) truthfully after this winter I don't care what color they are as long as we get a live calf, been a hard winter for us, both black and red/white cattle.