8/23/2013 1:49:00 PM Hallcocks recognized as Century Farm
by Ken Haggerty
Wayne and Candace Hallcock's Castle View farm, on Dakota County 86 just west of Castle Rock, is being recognized this year in the Minnesota State Fair's Century Farm program.
The Minnesota State Fair and Minnesota Farm Bureau are recognizing 184 Minnesota farms as 2013 Century Farms. Qualifying farms have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years and are 50 acres or more.
Century Farm families receive a commemorative sign, as well as a certificate signed by the State Fair and Minnesota Farm Bureau presidents and Gov. Mark Dayton. Since the program began in 1976, more than 9,700 Minnesota farms have been recognized as Century Farms.
The Hallcock family began farming when Wayne's grandfather, Oscar Hallcock, moved up from Montgomery County, Iowa in 1913 and bought the 120 acres where Wayne and Candace still live, and another 40 acres shortly after.
Wayne, 64 years old, thinks the farm was originally homesteaded around 1860. Oscar had three other brothers farming back in Iowa and thought land around there was too expensive, so he moved north for opportunity.
Oscar bought another 40 acres east of the homeplace to get the farm up to 200 acres. Oscar's son (and Wayne's dad), Charles, bought the 120 acre farm across the road and added an 80 back in the corner of the home farm to bring the farm size up to 400 acres when Wayne and Candace took over in 1980. They have grown the farm to the 1,500 acres that they now own.
Wayne and Candace raised five kids in the big farmhouse which was built in 1924. The children are all adults now: Scott, Paul, Karen, Sarah, and John. Paul lives next door and helps out a lot but works off the farm at Enebak Construction. John also lives right nearby and helps out as much as he can as well, but also has an off-farm job.
The Hallcocks always had a milking dairy herd until just last August. They still buy dairy steer calves from Blake Otte in Randolph and feed them out. Wayne's dad, Charles, was on the Board of the old Webster Creamery and later the area AMPI.
Candace grew up a Landon in Castle Rock, which the Hallcocks say used to be a thriving town. They met in the old Country School there that went up to sixth grade. "Back then, there were all kinds of kids in Castle Rock. We used to always have big after-school softball and football games growing up," recalls Candace. Wayne and Candace attended Northfield High School as did all but their youngest child, who went to Randolph, in large part to be involved in an active FFA program.
"To be part of a 100 year family farm is pretty cool," said Wayne. He says they have good heavy soil on the home farm that has helped the farm survive. "After a mini-drought, we can dig a posthole and still hit water," says Wayne. Land he's bought on the east side of Hwy. 3, on the other hand, is more sandy and needs irrigation.
He figures his grandfather probably was happy to get 25 to 30 bushel corn 100 years ago. The first ground Wayne rented in 1969, he was happy to get 100 bushels. Now, he says they need 180 to 190 to be successful.
He says the dairy needed to have a herd production average of 24,000 pounds of milk and 700 pounds of fat when they closed up last year. When he started in 1969: 16,000 pounds and 400 pounds of fat. "Farming has changed a lot in just my years, let alone 100 years," said Wayne.
The house is about the only building left built by his grandpa. Wayne and his dad have built all of the other buildings and, on a recent day, Wayne was busy tearing up asphalt, looking to remodel and build new again.
The Hallcocks have been active in Dakota County 4-H for many years, and are staying active as grandchildren Taylor Jerde, Mara Hallcock and Max Hallcock, as a well as a niece, were all showing at this year's Fair.
Wayne says he's glad the children say they enjoyed being raised on the farm and he's happy that they all keep involved and visit as much as they can. Daughter Karen is the only one not still close to the home farm but still calls weekly from Phoenix and asks about how the farm is going, he says.