Farm Horizons, August 2007

Kiesers' century farm now on 5th generation

By Linda Scherer
Staff Writer

The Kieser farm, located west of Winsted, provides a view of the Winsted water tower and Holy Trinity Church steeple across fields that have been planted for more than 100 years by five generations of Kiesers.

The farm was established in 1881. The original barn and home still stand in the middle of the farmyard, along with modern silos, grain bins, and numerous calf huts.

A sign on the door of the Kieser home from the Minnesota State Agricultural Society and the Minnesota Farm Bureau identifies the farm as a century farm for the year 2007.

Marvin and Viola Kieser are the fourth generation to carry on the Kiesers’ farming tradition, along with their son and daughter-in-law, Loren and Robin, who are the fifth generation.

Together, the two families farm a total of 700 acres. Loren does most of the planting, but Marvin is there to haul grain and help where he is needed.

The farm feeds just under 300 Holstein steers and 40 to 50 calves a year, which is Loren’s project. However, everyone works together so chores do not become overwhelming.

The Kieser farm uses up-to-date farm machinery which they refer to as the “bigger green.” All of the equipment is kept so clean that Marvin and Viola commented on Loren’s unusual past time – making sure that after each major undertaking, everything is washed up before being put away.

The Kiesers own six tractors that are equipped with radios for emergencies. Four of the tractors have cabs with air conditioning, and the combine has air conditioning, too.

Marvin, who can remember back to a time when he was farming with his dad and used horses, likes the tractors with cabs. In fact, talking about cabs brought up one of his favorite memories of farming years ago – being able to unthaw in the nice warm barn after a cold day in the field on a tractor without a cab.

Viola really started getting involved in the farm after Marvin’s dad, Frank J. Kieser, got sick and retired from farming in 1972. She pitched in to help with the milking. They added on to the barn and were eventually able to milk 55 cows. They purchased a bulk tank when the creameries would no longer take canned milk. They sold all of their milk cows in 1996.

Marvin and Viola have been married nearly 50 years. Since their marriage, the farm has undergone some kind of major project almost every year. In addition to adding on to the barn, they have built a new home, put up a shed, added silos, and grain bins, and tiled some of their fields.

Both look back on farming’s social activities as a time that they truly enjoyed. Even after Marvin purchased his own combine, he would go to the neighbors and help them with threshing and silo filling because it was something he enjoyed doing. They both liked all of the neighborhood get-togethers with large picnics and some fishing, too.

Marvin likes to farm, but feels that age is making it more and more difficult. His favorite part of farming is selling the crops. He is especially pleased with this year’s crop.

“This year we should have had the whole farm in wheat because the price was good and the wheat was, too,” Marvin said.

Loren, just like his dad, also likes growing crops. He also likes the cattle.

“I was 12 years old when I started to farm. I always liked farming. I don’t like it now without rain, and I don’t like doing chores when it is hot, but at least I don’t have to work in an office,” Loren said.

Marvin and Viola have three children: Judy Kieser of Eden Prairie; Wayne, married to Brenda, lives in Plymouth with their three children Jessica, 20, Samantha, 17, and Nicholas, 14; and Loren, married to Robin, has two sons, Dustin, 17, and Parker, 8.

When the Kieser children were younger, they would help with the farm, and occasionally they would manage to find a way to get out of the work.

Marvin recalls one time when the children were sent out to hoe weeds in the soybean field. The first time, everything went just fine. The next time they wanted to send the children out to hoe weeds, the hoes had mysteriously disappeared. Not one could be found.

Viola remembered the kids picking rocks. Then, it was kids throwing rocks or making a little extra work for each other.

“Every once in a while, you would see a rock fly to the other side of the field,” Viola said.

Kieser century farm history

The land was originally purchased by Johann and Mary Kieser, July 11, 1881.

Johann came to the US in 1846 from Essex, Germany at the age of 24, with his parents and four sisters.

He farmed in Wisconsin, then moved to Minnesota, farming in Maple Plain and St. Bonifacius before moving his family to the Winsted farm.

Johann and Mary had 16 children. In 1884, their son Frank X. Kieser married Rosalia Kappel. Rosalia’s parents also farmed in west Winsted.

The same year they married, Frank and Rosalia took over the century farm. There, they raised 10 children, two of whom died in infancy.

According to records, Frank X. Kieser was a successful farmer and considered one of the best farmers in his section. He retired from farming in 1923, and he and his wife moved to town.

Frank X. Kieser’s son, Frank J. Kieser, married Rose Hertzog in 1922. When his parents retired to Winsted, the younger Frank took over the farm.

Frank J. Kieser and Rose had five children. Three daughters, Sister Gratian Kieser of Jackson, Elmerine, married to George Lachermeier of Winsted; Adeline, married to Robert Carlsten of Minneapolis; and sons Marvin and Vincent.

Information on the Kieser history for this article came from Joe Kieser and newspaper obituaries.

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