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Published September 02, 2010, 08:05 AM

Area farm among those to be honored as quasquicentennial farms at ceremony today

HOWARD — The South Dakota State Fair isn’t the only thing marking a 125th anniversary.
Dozens of farms that are still owned by relatives of the first farmers from 125 years ago will be recognized at the State Fair today in Huron. The inaugural Quasquicentennial Farm Families recognition ceremony will be held at 11:00 this morning.
The State Fair had its “preview night” Wednesday and officially opens today, with a schedule that runs through Monday.

By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic

HOWARD — The South Dakota State Fair isn’t the only thing marking a 125th anniversary.

Dozens of farms that are still owned by relatives of the first farmers from 125 years ago will be recognized at the State Fair today in Huron. The inaugural Quasquicentennial Farm Families recognition ceremony will be held at 11:00 this morning.

The State Fair had its “preview night” Wednesday and officially opens today, with a schedule that runs through Monday.

There are 147 quasquicentennial farms that will be honored today, said Julie Fritzsche, of the South Dakota Farm Bureau, which organized the event in tandem with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture. In addition, 57 centennial farms will be saluted.

The Gehring family farm near Howard is among the farms that will be recognized today.

The farm is located six miles west of Howard on Highway 34 and five and onequarter miles south on what’s known as the Epiphany gravel road.

It has been owned by family members since Fred Gehring came to Dakota Territory in 1880 and filed a homestead claim.

A son, Alfred, was born in a claim shanty on the land in 1884. His son, Marvin, was also born on the farm; both men lived on the farm their entire lives.

Marvin’s widow, Betty Gehring, now lives in Howard but retains ownership of the farm. Gene and Judy Muth moved onto the farm in 2001 and serve as caretakers.

Gehring, 82, will attend the ceremony in Huron today along with several family members.

“Yes, I definitely will,” Gehring said. “We’re planning to all be there.”

A barn built in 1902 still stands on the farm. The date of its creation is high on a wall. The farmplace was updated and improved over the years, she said with pride.

“It’s old, yet it’s still occupied when everyone else’s farm is torn down along Epiphany gravel,” Gehring said.

“It’s unique that they’re still occupying the house.”

Gehring said she hopes the farm stays in the family.

Fred Gehring’s great, great, great-grandson has expressed interest in it and already owns two of the tractors that Betty Gehring’s husband used.

She said the ceremony will be a wonderful event, but she wishes her late husband could be present.

“I feel the honor really ought to be to my husband, but of course I am glad to have been his wife and we had 52 and a half years together on the farm,” she said.

The state will issue a certificate and a metal gate sign to designate the 125-year family farms.

The families also receive passes to the State Fair and will attend a pork barbecue.

The state first honored centennial farms in 1984 and 1985. Fritzsche said to honor the 125th anniversary of the fair, a decision was made to honor continuously owned family farms of the same vintage.

It has yet to be decided if the Quasquicentennial Farm Families Recognition program will continue, she said.

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