Farm Horizons, September 2001

Square is back: Young farmer is working his way toward a square baler

By Lynda Jensen

After decades of round bales, the large square is back, said Pat Bakeberg, 17, of Howard Lake.

Bakeberg, the president of both the local FFA and the Sunrise 4-H Club, is trying to pay for his own square baler by baling hay.

He also plans to submit the baling for the application part of his FFA project. The application process is when students apply what they learned in class.

He is leasing the equipment to make this possible from Diers Corporation; one 1998 International tractor worth $67,000, and the baler, which is worth $40,000, he said.

Square is better than round, because it's easier to handle, stack, and use, he said. "You don't need as much man power," he said. "You just take a slab off."

He's already baled 3,000 bales so far, despite the damp weather over late summer, he said.

He hopes to obtain work study at school to get away and work toward his baler, he said.

Youngest farmer of five generations

The youngest of five, Bakeberg charted his course early, and plans to take over his family's farm when the time comes.

Currently, Pat helps his folks, Greg and Faye Bakeberg, operate a dairy farm three miles south of town with 70 dairy cows, 450 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa, and between 30 and 40 beef cows, Bakeberg said.

"It keeps us busy," he said. He gets some help from friends and former graduates Pat Lorentz and Tony Lorentz.

Pat Lorentz is working for the John Deere dealership in Cokato. He is attending school in North Dakota, Pat said. Tony Lorentz is working for Lake Region in Cokato and is attending school at the University of Minnesota in Crookston.

The crop farming is Bakeberg's favorite part.

"I don't know if I'll pursue dairy," Bakeberg said. "Being there twice a day for milking is the hardest part of farming," he said.

He spends his days rising at 6 in the morning, attending school an hour early at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted high school, going home at 1 p.m. to bale hay, starting chores at 5 p.m., and then returning to his baling in the evening, he said.

His weekends are working weekends, baling and working on the farm, he said.

Although he plays trombone in the jazz and pep band, he doesn't see the need to participate in sports, he said. "I don't want to put energy into something that isn't my future," he said. "My career is not football."

Bakeberg is starting his fourth year in FFA and just returned from showing a three-year-old registered Holstein for 4-H at the State Fair.

Out of all the Bakeberg children, Pat is the only one who will pick up where his parents leave off.

Pat's oldest sister, Cindy, is a florist. His brother, Dave, is a commercial pilot for Mesaba, which is owned by Northwest Airlines. His brother, Tim, is an industrial art teacher in Wisconsin. And his sister, Mary, is going to school for agribusiness.

Farm Horizons: Main Menu | 2001 List

Howard Lake-Waverly Herald & Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal
Stories | Columns | Obituaries
Community Guides | Special Topics | Cool Stuff | Search | Home Page