Giving Recognition To Five Families With Special Award
(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
Recognizing the achievement of keeping a farm in the family for 100 years or more, that is what is honored by the Pioneer Farm Family Award. Five families in the county received that recognition at the Jefferson County Fair.
Dustin Fairley, President of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, explained that this award is presented every year to families throughout Nebraska who have kept property in their families for 100 years or more.
“The Pioneer Farm Family Award is for farm families who have had the same piece of ground within their family for 100 years,” said Fairley. “They could have been passed on from father to son, aunt and uncle, something like that. It has to have been in the same family for at least 100 years. It has to be consecutive.”
Fairley stated that there is another award, called the Heritage Award, that recognizes families for keeping the same property in their family for 150 years. Both awards are made possible by the Aksarben Foundation. He believes this award is important to recognize that achievement, noting that the number of families receiving the award this year is extraordinary.
“It’s a huge recognition,” Fairley said. “It’s something that you don’t see very often; the same piece of farm staying in the same family. It’s very difficult, especially when people pass on. It’s really neat to see.”
The families who received the award this year are the Forrest D. Freese Farm, Plymouth, Schmidt Ag Inc./Dell Schmidt, Fairbury, Phillip and Mary Heidemann, Daykin, Walter Kiesel Family Farm, Fairbury, and Cassell Family Farm, Steele City.
Schmidt, who received the award with his son Landon, explained that this was a special moment in his life.
“It’s a real honor,” said Schmidt. “I can’t remember the original people who had the farm, but knowing my grandpa and my dad, and now myself, it really hit me when Landon came back to the farm. There’s a sense of pride when your son comes back and farms with you. So, I’m sure that goes back every generation.”
He hopes that more people will receive the award in the future and that more people will get involved with farming and the agricultural industry.
“I think farming is a really good occupation,” Schmidt said. “There’s been some tough times, but there have been a lot of great times. It’s a good place to raise kids. They learn responsibility earlier in life. There are times when you wish you could work eight to five, but there’s a lot of satisfaction by spending a lot of time out there on the farm.
Also during the fair, several members of 4-H received recognition for their service to the group and their achievements throughout the year. Three people, Phyllis McCown, Danny Roelfs and Deb Sutton received plaques commemorating their work at the fair.