By Marni Daugaard
It’s the time of year again when farms are being recognized as “Century Farms” by the Farm Bureau.
Two farms in Carver County — the Harlan and Jan Kugath farm in Cologne and the Dennis and Genoa Henning farm in New Germany — have been recognized as Century Farms in 2013. Plaques will be presented at the Minnesota State Fair in August.
In order to be known as a Century Farm, paperwork must be filled out proving with the abstract documents that the farm has remained in the family for 100 years.
Harlan and Jan Kugath of rural Cologne can actually prove that their farm has been in the family for almost 147 years. Gerhard and Margaret Dohman founded the farm in 1866 when they emigrated here from Prussia, a section of Germany. Dohman’s daughter, Gertrude, married into the Kugath family when she married Albert Kugath. When Albert moved to the farm, his father, Carl, and mother, Caroline, came along.
“When the Farm Bureau talks about being in the family … being that … Gertrude had married a Kugath, they figure that’s family. When it actually got to be a Kugath farm, that’s over a hundred years too already,” Harlan said.
Harlan’s father and mother, William and Arlys Kugath, became owners of the farm in 1935. Then in 1965, Harlan and Jan took over when William became too ill to continue farming. Here they raised their children, Michael, Susan and Sandra along with numerous crops of corn and beef and dairy cows. Their son, Mike, now farms, making it an active farm for five generations.
Mostly retired, Harlan still stays involved. “I guess I’m the go-getter, go get this and go get that … (and) I’m the Environmental Control Specialist; I haul manure away,” he quipped.
The Dennis and Genoa Henning farm of New Germany has been in the family since April 8, 1910 when Leopold and Augusta Henning bought it from John and Lena Blumm. John’s father, Jacob, was the one who established the farm place in 1864. In 1905, Jacob sold it to his son who later sold it to Leopold Henning.
Leopold then sold the farm to Dennis’ grandfather, Henry, in 1920. The farm subsequently passed through the hands of Dennis’ uncle, Willard, and then his parents, Leroy and Lucille. Finally, Dennis purchased the farm on April 20, 1990.
They raised steers on the place until 1993. The acreage is currently being rented out to Metro Farms, because Dennis, his brother David, and Dennis’ two sons, Jeremy and Ryan are busy running the family business, Henning Excavating.
But the farm has been home to a lot of good memories. Genoa warmly reminisces, “We raised our two sons here, I can remember having young calves … the boys would get so attached to them … they’d never want to butcher them.”
Dennis has fond farming memories as well, such as milking cows with Grandpa and working the land as a child when horses were still being used.
Although they are no longer actively farming, the Hennings maintain the farm place (which includes house and barn both originally built in 1936) with loving care. They hope that the farm — with its memories and family ties — will continue to stay in the family.