Seventy –Eight years ago my dad was 6 years old and had to learn how to crank their brand new A-Farmall. It was the first gas powered tractor of the family and the end of the team of horses, the year was 1939. Grandma and Grandpa were proud and confident to take the next step in securing their legacy which originated in Bloomington. They had one more year to pay off Great Grandpa John and the following year they bought their second piece of property on the Eagan side of the river.
Growing vegetables was in the family’s blood and it was Leo who was going to put his footprint on the family tradition. Or so he thought. Times were tough just coming out of the depression, then WWII struck, then the most devastating thing happened in 1943, Grandpa was shot in a deer hunting accident and paralyzed from the chest down. This left Grandma with 5 kids under 10 and a husband that was paralyzed.
Dad rose to the occasion at the age of 10 and started farming full time along with going to school. His goal at first was to survive and put food on the table for the rest of the family alongside Grandma. All the kids had to work in the fields from the time they were young but it was Grandma that held the family together and pushed for each child to reach their potential in life. She accomplished this thru perseverance, hard work and love. She loved each child like any parent would, yet she guided them to be outstanding people as they grew older and had families of their own. We buried Dad 4 years ago this past week and there is not a day that goes by when I don’t think of him and what he would do to keep forging a bright future for Pahl Farms.
As I walk past his first tractor in the shed I am amazed how far farming has evolved in such a short span. We went from horse drawn, gas powered, rubber tires to robotics, GPS systems, variable speed hydraulics and Bluetooth capabilities all within 75 years. It intrigues me to know what will happen in the next 75 years. Technology has allowed the American Farmer to produce 3 times as much per acre than back in the 40’s. As I climb back in the tractor this spring I do not forget my ROOTS, but as I turn the key and reflect back on technological advances dad experienced it will forever fascinate me.
The planters are all dusted off and ready to roll. The seed is primed and ready to produce. The scotch bottles are all empty with much glee involved and it is time to get going and do what we love best, feed the world.