My brother, Keith Elsbernd, is keeping our family farm heritage alive. As many of his farming ancestors, Keith can't wait for spring planting to begin at his farm near Calmar. Farmers want to get the seeds in the ground without freezing and yet as early as possible so the harvesting can be done before the snow flies in the fall. Keith buys his seed corn local from Larry Gehling, at Art’s Milling in Protivin. Besides crop farming, Keith, along with his wife Sandy, and son David are also dairy farmers. They also have two grown daughters Kristin and Melissa who help out when they are home.
At the end of the day it is not uncommon for some of their friends to hang out in the shed built a couple of years ago by local builder, Heying Manufacturing in Calmar. The shed is also a good place for David to fix equipment that has broken down. David now lives on my grandparents farm where our parents Ruth and Linus had used when they retired.
There is one special person who is missing these days down on the farm, our father. Linus Elsbernd, passed away over a year ago. Linus and Ruth farmed the same land for many years. When Keith began farming the home farm, his parents moved to Linus’s parent’s farm (Frank and Ida Elsbernd) by Ft. Atkinson. Linus and Ruth took care of running errands and checking up on their youngest boy, Keith, during that time.
In Keith’s younger days, he worked for Union Produce in Ossian. Working with the farmers gave Keith a yearning for his own farm. Keith longed for the wide open spaces a farm would provide him. Nowadays it’s hard to get Keith off of the farm. Keith lives and breathes farming, which is good because farming doesn’t take any holidays. Planting season is an exciting time for all farmers, and Keith is no exception. Keith is proud to continue his farming heritage, and I’m sure he feels his father’s presence every time he works the land that once belonged to his beloved father, Linus Elsbernd. Keith is following in the boots of his father on our family farm.