Myhre family farm recognized as a Century Farm

Myhre family farm recognized at Iowa State Fair ... Members of the Bonnie K. (Myhre) Williams family were present at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines August 17 to receive recognition of the family’s farm located near 236 Bear Creek Drive, Dorchester as a Century Farm. Pictured from left to right: Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey, Bonnie (Myhre) Williams, Bruce Williams in back with Mildred Myhre in wheelchair in front, Laurie (Myhre) Knoke, Farm Bureau President Craig Hill. Submitted photo.

The 200-acre Myhre farm on Bear Creek Drive in Waterloo Township, Allamakee County, Iowa (formerly owned by Owen and Mildred Myhre and now owned by their daughters Bonnie and Laurie) reached a landmark this year: Having continuously been in the same family for 100 years, it earned the distinction of being named a century farm. Mildred Myhre of Spring Grove, MN, Bonnie (Myhre) and Bruce Williams of Cedar Rapids, IA, and Laurie (Myhre) Knoke of DeKalb, IL, attended a ceremony at the Iowa State Fair August 17, 2017 where they received a “Century Farm” marker from the Farm Bureau and a certificate from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship designating the property as a “2017 Century Farm”.

According to the book, History of Allamakee County, Iowa, 1989, the farm was homesteaded by John Fitzgerald in 1854. The farm was sold to Beret and Peder Auna in 1917 and they sold it to their daughter and son-in-law, Petra and Rudolph Myhre in 1929 for the sum of $6,000. The Great Depression years that followed made it difficult for farmers to make their loan payments so in 1933 when the Emergency Farm Mortgage Act was implemented and the Farm Credit Administration came into existence, Petra and Rudolph were able to borrow enough money to make their farm payments. Although they were allowed 44 years at 3% interest to repay the loan, they paid it off in half that time, in 1951. Their son and daughter-in-law, Owen and Mildred Myhre, purchased the farm in the fall of 1951 but didn’t move in until the spring of 1952.

Owen and Mildred lived on the farm until 2005 when they moved to Spring Grove, MN.  During the 53 years they lived on the farm, they both worked diligently to improve the property – the land and the buildings alike.   Owen was a forward-thinker and designed his own blueprints for several of these improvements.  And, like many farmers, he could do pretty much anything that needed to be done -  carpentry, welding, cement work, electrical and plumbing work, equipment repair, animal care, crop care, etc.  Mildred, as the “right-hand man”, helped with field work, milking, fencing, taking care of the chickens, and a host of other outdoor tasks in addition to caring for the house and the kids. 

Farm ownership was transferred to Owen and Mildred’s daughters, Bonnie (Myhre) Williams and Laurie (Myhre) Knoke, in 2007 - with the exception of the house, outbuildings, and a few acres of land that were sold to a private party in 2005.  Although the last 100 years have brought many changes in farming techniques and technologies, the roots of the land itself and the Myhre family who owns it run deep into the past.

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