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Gary and Ida Adamson were recognized on their century farm. (Photo by Caroline Roers)

Growing a long legacy of farming

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news Alexandria, 56308
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549
56308

Within Minnesota there were 79,800 farms in 2011, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Every few years many of these farms are sold or reconstructed.

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So to have a farm stay within one family for more than 100 years is an amazing feat.

A total of 184 farms are being recognized as Century Farms in Minnesota this year by the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau.

Five of these farms are in Douglas County including: John and Carolyn Chlian, Alexandria; Gary and Ida Adamson, Kensington; Gladys J. Freudenberg, Garfield; Ronald James Kraemer, Osakis; David and Deb Waldvogel, Osakis.

Here are their stories:

GLADYS J. FREUDENBERG

Gladys Freudenberg can still remember growing up on the same Garfield farm she lives on now. She can still remember her mother slaving away in the kitchen and helping her father and uncles outside on the farm.

And she can still remember the love she had for the farm, the same feelings she has now.

"I love being part of the farming community and living in the country. I love the open air and the freedom of being outside. I can't see myself living in town," Gladys said.

The farm was first purchased in 1911 by Frank Ziegelmann, Gladys' grandfather, and then passed onto Gladys' father.

After his untimely death, Gladys continued to farm for a few years before she decided to rent the land out and changed it from a dairy farm to an agricultural farm.

Though many things have changed in the past few years, the history of the farm has remained intact because of Gladys' hard work.

"The grain elevator my father built is still used by the renters today," she said.

She has also maintained and painted all of the original buildings on the farm so they can still be used today.

"The farm means a lot to me. I have lived here all of my life except for a few years. Farming has been such a huge part of my life and it will continue to be," Gladys said.

GARY AND IDA ADAMSON

For Gary and Ida Adamson, having their farm honored as a Century Farm is just a small piece of the long history of farming in their family.

The Adamson family farm in Kensington was first purchased by Johan Piippo, a farmer from Finland, in 1873.

Over the past 140 years, it has been passed down five different times within the family.

"It's been a little complicated how it got handed down and exchanged back and forth but it was never sold out of the family," Gary said.

Gary and Ida Adamson have owned the farm since 1960. They currently raise corn, oats, wheat, soybeans and alfalfa. Gary's favorite time though was when they had a small dairy herd of red and white Holsteins until August 30, 2011.

"I used to joke with people that I have the best red and white herd in Moe Township and they would say 'Well, yeah, you have the only red and white cows in Moe Township!' " Gary laughed.

Whether it is cows or crops, the Adamsons love to farm and hope to continue to keep the history alive in coming years.

DAVID AND DEB WALDVOGEL

In 1913, Clara and Paul Waldvogel bought a piece of wooded land in Osakis. In 43 years, they were able to clear most of the land and created a prosperous farming operation for future generations.

"It's mind boggling to think what they went through to clear this land. It is such an honor to continue the legacy that they started," Deb Waldvogel said.

After Clara and Paul purchased the farm it was purchased by Minrad and Maxine Waldvogel and finally by David and Deb Waldvogel.

Now, it is a typical dairy and crop operation with 90 cows that they milk year round.

Though the 560 acres of farm land and 90 cows are a lot to comprehend, for David Waldvogel farming is 100 percent in his blood and he loves every minute of it.

"My husband grew up here and lives here. He has been milking cows for the past 45 years and doesn't want to stop anytime soon," Deb said.

However, the Waldvogels' oldest son and his wife are eager to take over the family farm.

"I think it is a really good feeling to know the legacy will continue as it passes down the generations," Deb said.

JOHN AND CAROLYN CHLIAN

For John and Carolyn Chlian, farming is all around them, but in more of a scenic way than a hands-on way.

When the Chlians' farm was first bought in 1913, it was a fully operational dairy farm. But when John and Carolyn got married, they both had stable jobs off the farm.

"We weren't planning on farming because we had other jobs, but when we were looking for a place to live, Carolyn's relatives suggested we look at the family's old farm house," John recalled.

After doing some remodeling and building a new house because the old one was in bad shape, the Chlians moved onto the farm and have lived there for the last 42 years.

They rent out the farm.

The farm's major crops include grain, corn, beans and hay.

Though the Chlians aren't farmers in the traditional sense, they still love living on their farm and are very excited by the award.

"I don't think it's very usual for a farm to be in a family for so many generations, so it is a pretty unique and special thing," he said. "We raised our kids on it, and who knows, we may pass it on to them."

RONALD JAMES KRAEMER

Since the Kraemer farm in Osakis was purchased in the 1890s, many things have changed, including its size.

"My grandfather started out with I think 130 acres and then my father bought some. After I came home from the service and married my wife, I bought some more. And that is what it all amounts to," said Ronald Kraemer, the current owner of the dairy farm.

Over the past 120 years, the farm has grown from 130 acres to 420 acres.

Though the size of the farm has changed, portions of original buildings are still present on the farm.

Ronald hopes that in the coming years, the farm will stay within the family, but for now he is content with how far they have made it.

"We are survivors. Any time you can keep a farm in the same family, you may not be rich, but you are a survivor," Ronald said.

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