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Published September 18, 2009, 12:00 AM

Klima family owns two Jackson Co. century farms

LAKEFIELD — The Klima family has the unusual distinction of owning two century farms, although only one of them, the Wasko farm, is official so far.

By: Kari Lucin, Worthington Daily Globe

LAKEFIELD — The Klima family has the unusual distinction of owning two century farms, although only one of them, the Wasko farm, is official so far.

“Maybe next year I’ll do the other one,” said Richard Klima, who owns the Wasko and Whisney farms with siblings James Klima and Carolyn Enstad. “You just go to the courthouse and get the dates from the county recorder.”

This year, the Wasko farm, located about seven and a half miles south of Lakefield, officially received Minnesota’s century farm designation, and it was a voice from Richard’s past that inspired him to submit the paperwork to the state.

“The neighbor girl stopped in that I went to country school with, and she said I had to come down to the Jackson County Fair because their century farm was (recognized),” Richard said. “I said, ‘Well, I’m going to do it next year.’”

The original farm was only 40 acres, but as the years passed, the family kept adding a few acres here and a few acres there. The property currently stands at 198 acres.

Originally purchased by John Marko on June 18, 1889, the farm then went to Marko’s daughters, Anna Marko and Susie Wasko, in 1938. Susie’s husband George Wasko officially became the owner in 1953, and it then went to John Wasko in 1976, before Anna Klima took ownership. She left the property to her children, Richard, James and Carolyn.

The Klimas rent it to Rasmussen Farms, and there are Angus cows and calves on the property, along with soybeans and corn. None of the original buildings remain at the Klima farm, but some of them date to the mid-1930s or 1940s.

Richard still remembers living on the property, though he and his family moved half a mile north when he was 4 years old.

“We walked from the century farm to the other one, and I’ll never forget that,” Richard said. “Me and my mom walked, I suppose, a mile, and I was so tired … it wore me out.”

Back then, oats and flax grew on the farm and there was no electricity. Richard’s grandfather would get dragged across the yard to the water tank by his team of thirsty horses after a day of working in the heat.

“They worked very hard. They milked a lot of cows by hand,” Richard said. “Everything was pretty much by hand. I remember when they got the first gas engine for electricity ... and then rural electricity came in. It was really something when they got that.”

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