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Published September 17, 2009, 12:56 PM

Few century farms were honored in southwest Minnesota in 2009

WORTHINGTON — If the number of area farmers being recognized for 100 years of continuous family ownership is any indication, farms just aren’t passing from one generation to the next like they used to.

By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — If the number of area farmers being recognized for 100 years of continuous family ownership is any indication, farms just aren’t passing from one generation to the next like they used to.

In 2009, there was just one farm in Cottonwood County recognized as a Century Farm. Across the state line into northwest Iowa, Lyon County had a lone Century Farm honoree this year as well.

There wasn’t a single qualifying applicant for the honor in Rock, Murray and Pipestone counties.

Each year, the Daily Globe tries to complete a story on each of the Century Farms from our region. Due to space constraints and time, it isn’t feasible to get to them all.

Following are the farms we were unable to write feature stories on this year. In some cases, we weren’t able to find family members in the area, while in others, we couldn’t get an interview scheduled.

- Richard and Sherri Boehnke were recognized this year for their 240-acre farm in Section 16, Seward Township, Nobles County.

The farm was settled in 1905 by William and Marie Boehnke, and they remained the owners until 1955, when it was passed on their son Fred.

Fred and Irene Boehnke owned the land from 1955 to 1979, before their son, Richard Boehnke, took over. Today, Richard and Sherrie Boehnke are the farm’s owners.

- The George and Shirley Pooch Trust of rural Lamberton, in Cottonwood County, was honored for having a Century Farm this year.

It was Charles and Amale Pooch who settled the 240-acre parcel in Section 13, Highwater Township, in 1908. The couple remained owners of the land for just five years before the farm was passed down to the next generation, William and Amelia Pooch.

William and Amelia raised eight children on the farm, building a new home on the property in 1925, according to their son George, who was the second to the youngest in the family.

George took ownership of the farm from his parents in 1972 and, with his wife, Shirley, they raised one son, Brian. Shirley died a couple of years ago, but George and Brian remain on the farm.

“The house was built here the year I was born,” said George. “I haven’t lived any place else outside of the Army.”

At age 84, George rents out about half of the farm and continues to farm the other half. Up until a year ago he was a sheep farmer, raising upwards of 100 Suffolk years during the farm’s heyday.

One of two siblings still living, George is rather proud that the land his grandparents settled is still in the family.

“It’s something that doesn’t happen to everybody,” he said. “I don’t know (if the number of Century Farm honorees) is going to increase or decrease. This farming thing is changing so much.”

- The Wagner Family Farm near Sanborn, Iowa, in Osceola County was honored for an Iowa Century Farm this year, as was the Joyce Overocker farm in rural Spirit Lake, and the Corinne Peterson farm in rural Dickinson County.

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