“Nowadays, most of these farms have ripped all the fences out and they can take the 40-acre fields and they make them into 200 and 300.”
Edited by Nick Ladeau
Transcript for Some of the Best Ground in the World
I’m from LaPorte, Indiana. I have lived here 83 years. I was born and raised in LaPorte County, raised up on a farm. I had to do a lot of chores when I was a little kid, on our farm, because we had about ten cows. We had to milk two cows before I went to school every day and every day when I come home from school, I have two loads of corn to unload too, plus milk two cows and a few other chores to do. And so I had to do that, that was my job. Everybody in the family did their share. We also did a lot of work of baling hay to feed the animals, and all the other work it takes to make a farm operate.
I finally got married and I lived in town for quite a few years and then, when I got divorced, my dad had given me 30-35 acres of the old farm. So, I decided when I retired – well, I actually started before I retired to started farming because my dad died in 1980, so we had to take over the farming operations as much as we could. And I decided to do some on my own, so I started renting some property and bought some more ground, and I farmed until about, oh, must have been as much 10 years ago I quit completely and then I made hay for a few years and sold hay and straw and stuff like that, but I don’t do that no more. Yeah.
Actually, got bigger, bigger equipment nowadays. Years ago, most of the fields were all small and they were all like 20 or 40 acre patches. And that was a reason that a lot of them were fenced because, if they had cattle, they could put their cattle on a piece of land in pasture for a year or two and then they can move on to another spot. And then the next year they could plow it up and plant corn or something there. Nowadays, most of these farms have ripped all the fences out and they can take the 40 acre fields and they make them into 200 and 300, because they got this big equipment that they can’t turn around in a small patch, and they just got to have more room.
It seemed like there used to be a lot more small farms. Everybody had four or five cows or 10 cows or something and raise their own milk and their own beef and stuff like that. I remember my dad said – one time we sat down for dinner Sunday dinner and he said, “Everything that’s on the table we raised on the farm.” So nowadays that doesn’t happen like it did back then. I mean, I’m sure people that still farm have their small garden and stuff but, they don’t have enough time to do it, so they just go to the grocery store and buy it. Yeah.
I think LaPorte County raises a lot of products for – soybeans and corn. And there’s also a lot of tomatoes they raised for ketchup, and there’s a lot of green beans that are raised here, and there’s a lot of seed corn raised here. And it’s, probably, some of LaPorte County, southern part of LaPorte county, is some of the best ground in the world. Around the Kankakee River, they did a lot of, dug a lot of ditches and drained it down quite a bit over the years, but that’s some pretty good ground and it’s a pretty good place to raise some pretty good crops. Yeah.
Hold a Conversation
Can you imagine leading a conversation about this story? Where? With whom? What kinds of questions would you pose? (See How to use the questions for reflection for one approach.) Please email your questions to us or post them in the comment box for our consideration. If you use them in an actual discussion, let us know how the conversation went.