Horning Family Farm History
As I mentioned in my first blog post, I live on a family dairy farm that is more than 100 years old. My great-great-great grandpa and grandma, Gottlieb and Barbara Horning, started the farm in 1877. They were immigrants from Germany.
Up until my grandpa was a young boy, the family grew several types of crops and had lots of different animals. It was a “general” farm, not just a dairy farm. The original farm was 80 acres, but today we have more than 500. Each generation of Hornings has added acreage, to grow and expand as needed and to accommodate more family members working on the farm.
The first milking parlor was built in 1964 to milk their 25 cows. We built a new milking parlor in 1992, and have added freestall barns (where the cows live) so we have a nice, comfortable home for all 320 of our cows.
It’s not just the animals and crops that have changed. We now use computers with our feeding and milking systems to help us be accurate and help us take the best care of our cows. We also give our cows a mix of different types of grains and dietary supplements that is specially formulated for their bodies, instead of just feeding them corn or oats. We have improved the ventilation in the barns so that our cows are cool in the summer, and we use sand in the cows’ stalls for premium comfort. Great-Great-Great Grandpa and Grandma Horning had no idea how comfortable cows would be lying in the sand!
One thing that hasn’t changed in the last 100 years is how hard my family works to take the best possible care of our animals, and to protect the land and water that we depend on for our livelihood.
I look forward to carrying on the Horning family farm tradition, and to see what changes and improvements will happen in my lifetime.