By Jan Lee Buxengard
Special to The Caledonia Argus
Three generations of the Holten family have owned a 101-acre farm in Section 32 of Wilmington Township in Houston County for 120 years. The farm now owned by David Holten received Century Farm recognition for year 2020 at the 2021 Houston County Fair on August 19.
Each year the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation work in conjunction on the Century Farm program to honor Minnesota families that have owned their farms for at least 100 years, are at least 50 acres in size and are currently involved in farming. Century Farm families receive a commemorative outdoor sign, as well as a certificate signed by the president of the State Fair, president of the Minnesota Farm Bureau and the Governor of Minnesota. The county presentation was made by Christopher and Jane Bjerke of Farm Bureau Financial Services, Caledonia.
The Century Farm Program was created in 1976 to promote agriculture and honor historic family farms in the state. There have been nearly 11,000 farms recognized as Century Farms and nearly 450 sesquicentennial farms since they began being recognized in 2008.
History of the Holten farm began in 1901, when Inga Olava Holten married Iver H. Sylling. Inga was born on March 27, 1871 in Akershus, Norway. The couple owned the 101-acre farm from 1901 to 1954, when Inga’s son, Albert Holten, and his wife Mabel became the owners from 1954 to 1980.
Albert and Mabel had seven children, namely Marion Beardmore, Idella Papenfus, Richard Holten, Doris Thomas, Linda Sanders, Charles Holten and David Holten. All the children grew up on the farm.
David became the next owner from 1980 to the current day. He has three children: Jessie, Joseph and Nicholas.
The main products of the farming operation were dairy, hogs, and chickens. Currently the pastureland is rented out and the remaining acreage is in CRP.
The original house, built in the late 1800s, has been occupied by the generations of the Holten family. They didn’t get electricity until about the mid-1960s. David fixed up the house and his son, Joseph, currently lives in it. Other original buildings still standing are the barn and granary.
In 2006 David built himself a house, south of the old house, on the hillside overlooking the creek. Half of that house is built with logs.