Brown County Farm Bureau recognizes 2020 Century Farms

Deb Moldaschel
THREE GENERATIONS OF the Berkner family attended the Century Farm recognition event on Aug. 13.  Front:  Dan's daughter Anna. Second row, from left: Brad (holding the custom sign his sons had made) and Leann; Bryan's family, Julia, Mindy, and Taylor; Dan's sons Sam and Alex. Back row: Bryan, Dan and Krista.

Brown County Farm Bureau honored three newly announced Century Farms during its annual meeting at Sportsmen’s Park on Aug. 13. State Rep. Paul Torkelson addressed the gathering and brought greetings from Sen. Gary Dahms.

The business meeting included passage of resolutions that will move forward to the 2020 Minnesota Farm Bureau annual business meeting. Greg Bartz, Sleepy Eye and Todd Miller, Hanska, were re-elected to the Brown County Farm Bureau Board.

Brown County Century Farms recognized included Berkner Farms, Sleepy Eye; Milford East Farm, New Ulm; and KJH Hanson Farm, Godahl.

Three generations of the Berkner family was in attendance at the gathering. The farm was established in 1920 by Edward and Cate Berkner, who operated the farm for seven years. Next owners were Daniel and Harriet Berkner, who farmed for 30 years, then for the next 22 years were James and Carole Berkner.

More recently Berkner Farms was owned and operated by Brad and LeAnn Berkner for 34 years. The current owners are Bryan and Mindy Berkner — Bryan is the great-great- grandson of founder Edward.

Bryan and his brother Dan started the Century Farm application process, as a surprise for their dad. And gave him a custom-made Century Farm sign on Father’s Day.

A few interesting stories about the farm include that Edward used a barn on the farm for an airplane hangar and owned one of the first airplanes in Brown County. Dan and Bryan learned that one of Edward’s crops 100 years ago was hemp; and now Bryan has again added hemp to the farming operation. Of course, the old-time grandmas raised chicken and sold eggs on the farm. Bryan brought chickens back to the farm to keep his daughters busy during these quiet stay-at-home days.

Milford East Farm is owned by Mark Rasmussen. The farm was established in 1872 by John Backer and came down through the Backer family to Andrew, Roy and Elroy. Rasmussen is the great-great-grandson of John Backer (his mother’s family).

Last year Rasmussen received Century Farm recognition for Rasmussen Farms, Sleepy Eye. Established in 1907 the farm has had only three owners: Rasmus, Paul, and Mark.