WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     At the Redwood County Fair on July 15, 2017, Walnut Grove farmers,Robert and Margaret (Bob and Annie) Syverson, and their family were recognized for their Century Farm.

    Co-sponsored by the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation, the Century Farm program honors families who have owned and farmed land for at least 100 consecutive years. The only requirement is proof of family ownership. Farm families achieving this milestone fill out an application form that asks for the farm's history.

    The Syverson farm actually dates back earlier than March 23, 1915, when Gilbert Syverson, Bob's grandfather, bought 120 acres from his brother, Martin Syverson. The total price for the farm was $1,5000. Gilbert's family of six children farmed the land for thirty years. One of the sons, Roy, bought the farm April 26, 1945, and farmed the land for thirty-five years.

    Just six months after their wedding on July 8, 1967, Bob and Annie moved to the farm and started farming. It wasn't until January 18, 1980, that they purchased the farm from his parents, Roy and Bertha. Most of Bob's life has been spent on the family farm, but he served in the U.S. Army from 1962 - 1965. He was stationed in Korea with the 1st Cavalry until he was transferred to Ft. Hood, Texas. After his discharge, Bob attended welding school with the G.I. bill.

    The Syverson farm has included growing corn and soybeans as well as feeding cattle. Bob has always engaged in forward-looking farming techniques. In 1995 he was named Conservation Farmer of the Year by his Soil and Water Conservation District. Bob earned the award because of his progressive attitude toward farming.

    “He's always had that,” said Annie, speaking with pride and admiration about his farming practices.

    Over the years, Bob has looked for ways to care for the land by using Best Management Practices (BMP). For example, he built shelterbelts, developed a pond for wildlife on their own farm, and put BMPs in place for overall conservation.

    Bob was one of the first farmers in his area to use no till practices on the cropland. He built a retaining dam on the land, and voluntarily built 100-ft. buffer strips on each side of the creeks. Other “firsts” for Bob were utilizing solid seeding of beans in the 1960s and changing to using a chisel plow instead of the conventional moldboard plow invented in 1837.

    In addition to his conservation practices, Bob bought a semi truck to haul the livestock and grain. Before long, he was adding trucks and drivers so he could help area farmers by hauling their grain to local elevators. He purchased a grain vaculator system to assist farmers when moving corn.

    “We started selling our grain to New Ulm and the Cities,” said Bob. “I also got a grain buyer's license.” The business grew and was incorporated as Sy-Ann Farms and Trucking.

    The couple was blessed with four daughters: Jennifer, Sara, Laura, and Susan who have the same passion for being good land stewards, even though they aren't directly involved in agriculture. Their family outgrew the original farmhouse, so in 1978 the Syversons built a new home and moved the old house to a lot on Bloody Lake for a summer home.

    When asked about his wife's help on the farm, Bob said, “Annie's helped immensely with farming.” She drove tractor and helped in the fields, in addition to teaching and making sure Bob and his workers had plenty to eat.

    The Syversons are still active farmers living on the family farm along Highway 14 three miles west of Walnut Grove. To Bob and Annie, their most important crop ever raised was their four wonderful daughters.