Irvin Stolp grew up on the family farm down by West Marine. In the 1960s he was ready to take over the farm.
Prices were high for land near West Marine, so, he said, “We sold the place down there and bought a place over in Sunrise and rented a bunch of land and bought more land.” Eventually Stolp built up the farm to about 700 acres. He married Lorie in 1984.
He said farming has always been in his family, and over the years he has tried farming many different crops.
“We did cattle over the years. We got up to about 70 head at one time, then we gave that up went to crop farming — hay, oats, corn, soybeans,” he said.
Currently their farm of 700 acres farms row crops. At times the farm has been up to 1,000 acres. Their main goal has been to work with Mother Nature to improve the land. They have used different programs to achieve this goal including rotational planting, cover crops, “Leaving stuff for the wildlife. ... They have to live here too,” he said. “In the beginning we worked against Mother Nature. We are starting to work with Mother Nature more now. We don’t have to tear the world apart to do it. ... It is fun being part of nature rather than trying to change it.”
Currently they practice no full tillage.
This year the Stolps were honored as the Chisago County Farm Family of the Year locally at the Almelund Threshing Show and also at Farmfest.
Of Farmfest, Stolp said: “We enjoyed that; that was people from every county. Yeah, it’s quite the to-do. First time I have been there. We now have reason to do it again.”
Of the Almelund Threshing Show, he said: “It was pretty good, they had a nice turnout there. ... It is pretty special, for anybody farming, you don’t just dip a toe in it. You are up to your neck in it. They do all they do and then take time,” speaking of the organizers of the event.
Over the years Stolp has also volunteered at the Taylors Falls Fire Department for 30 years. He has also volunteered on the planning board for 10 years and been involved in First Lutheran Church in Taylors Falls, including various church boards.
Stolp is ever humble though. He was quick to say many people have helped him in his journey.
“I could rattle off names, but I would be leaving a lot of people out. I was quite flattered; it was quite a deal,” Stolp said.