More than 100 years of faith, family and farming

Posted January 20, 2019 at 4:50 pm

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By Julie Ann Madden

Documenting the heritage of their farm has been a labor of love to pass on to their children — who are the seventh generation to live on this piece of Iowa farm land.

“It’s still a grain farm — corn and beans — the same as it’s always been the past 128 years,” said Amanda Breitbarth whose husband, Chase, is the sixth generation to farm this quarter-section of Iowa soil at the intersection of Granite Avenue and Iowa Highway 3.

Chase is following in the footsteps of his Borchers and Breitbarth ancestors. Some day it will pass on to his children: Reagan, Alexis, Kennedy and Gage Breitbarth.

“It’s only been farmed by family — never anyone outside the family,” said Amanda.

The original farmstead was purchased from another landowner — not the railroad companies like a lot of land in the area was, said Amanda. It was purchased on Dec. 3, 1890 by Bernard Borchers.

In 1899, Bernard passed the farm on to his son, Henry (Helene) Borchers.

Henry was the first Borchers family member to live on the farmstead.

Next, Henry and Helene passed it to their son, Ben (Pauline) Borchers.

“My grandparents) had moved to town for a couple years but then they moved back to the farm because (Grandpa Henry) just loved it there,” Berniece told The Akron Hometowner. “Our two families lived together. My sister, Betty, and I were born on the farm.”

In 1977, Ben and Pauline Borchers passed the farm to their daughters Berniece (Randall) Breitbarth of Le Mars and Betty (Johnnie) Williams of Omaha, Neb. Berniece and Randall lived and farmed there. They added a “retirement” acreage home when the farmstead was passed to Betty’s daughter, Megan (Keith) Lostroh of Wisconsin.

The sisters, Berniece, age 100, and Betty, age 88, still own the farmland. Berniece’s son, Greg and his wife, Julie, farm the land but live on his family’s Breitbarth farm.

In 2007, their son, Chase and his wife, Amanda Breitbarth, purchased Berniece’s “retirement” acreage after Berniece moved into Le Mars. Chase now farms the farmland with his father.

No one lives in the farmstead home where Berniece and Betty lived growing up.

Not only was the farm documented as a Century Farm with a plaque presentation at the 2018 Iowa State Fair last summer, Greg just found the first tractor his grandfather (Ben Borchers) used on this piece of Iowa farmland.

“Our farm was handed down from one to another,” said Berniece. “There are quite a few Century Farms in Iowa — several in Plymouth County.”

“It’s kind of nice to know you still have family living there where you grew up,” said Berniece.

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