Being stewards of the Soukup Century Farm is not a job Doug and Betty Soukup take lightly. Doug takes pride in being the fourth generation farmer to care for the family farmland with its scenic meandering creek flowing through it, situated between Spillville and Protivin. The land has been farmed for over 110 years under the care of the Soukup family, where Doug has lived all his life.
The first generation of Soukup’s to farm the land started with Great-grandfather John J. who passed it down to Grandfather Carl, then on to Marvin Sr. and now to Doug and his family.
Doug and Betty were married in 1983 and have four children. As is common in most farm households, Betty also works outside the home. Betty works at the Security State Bank in Calmar as a Loan Officer and is in charge of the bookkeeping at home. Betty also comes from an Ag related background; her family has run Art’s Milling Service in Protivin for many years.
Doug has an interest in old farm equipment and showcased in one of his sheds is three beautifully restored tractors that were used years ago on the family farm. The first one is a red 1936 Farmall F-12 which was redone by nephew Ryan Soukup and belonged to Doug’s grandfather Carl. Beside the red tractor is an orange 1952 Allis Chalmers WD that belonged to his father, Marvin Sr. and farther down the line the color changed back to red again, with Doug’s 1965 Farmall 706 tractor. The last two tractors were lovingly restored by Doug and his three boys.
When Doug was 13 years old he began raising feeder pigs and has continued farming for 31 years. Doug credits his parents, Marvin and Marcella, for allowing himthe opportunity to start farming at such a young age. Doug advises young farmers “to start small, learn by your mistakes and see if you like farming.” He wants his children to get an education and then decide if they want to farm.
Doug explained that having a good work ethic is important to be successful in farming. To study the markets and sell at the right price is very important too. Doug checks his DTN frequently for updated grain markets and the weather. Doug says, “You try to buy the best seed, the best chemicals and basically it comes down to the weather.”
What does the future hold for farmers? “With more ethanol and bio-diesel plantsbeing built,”Doug explained, there should be a good demand for grain.” Doug feels the future looks pretty good for farmers, especially for crop farmers.
Doug and Betty take pride in their machinery and farm place. The family has a tradition at the end of harvest time. They line up all the equipment and the whole family spends the day washing everything and then neatly tucks awayall the tractors and wagons in the sheds for winter.
Doug and Betty have planted the seed of good stewardship in their own children as they farm their land, care for their homestead, and restore heritage tractors in honor of past family farmers. Besides teaching their children respect for the land, and a good work ethic, they are teaching by example the pride that goes into owning the family farm as their meandering creek continues to flow for many generations to come.