Farm Horizons, August 2013
154 years on the Kellerman farm
By Starrla Cray
In 1859, Arlo Kellerman’s great-great-grandfather, Gottlieb Westermann, decided to leave Germany and make a new life for himself and his family.
Little did he know, his decision to settle in rural Mayer/New Germany would establish a legacy several generations into the future.
This year, the Kellerman farm received the Minnesota Farm Bureau’s Sesquicentennial Farm award, which is given for family ownership of 150-plus years. Fourteen other farms in the state also received this honor in 2013, and each were given an outdoor sign, as well as a commemorative certificate signed by Governor Mark Dayton, Minnesota Department of Agriculture Commissioner Dave Frederickson, and Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation President Kevin Paap.
After Gottlieb retired from farming, his son, Frederick, took over the family business. From there, Frederick’s son, Julius, was next in line.
Years later, two of Julius’s children Clifford and Irene became the farm’s new owners.
“Irene was my mother,” said Arlo.
For decades, the 75-acre farm had dairy cows, chickens, and hogs. Today, Arlo, his wife, Wendy, and their son, Paul, focus solely on crop farming.
“I rent about 20 acres of land besides,” added Arlo, a Waconia High School graduate.
In addition to growing hay, corn, and beans, Arlo works full-time as a welder/fabricator.
Paul, a quality engineer for Uroplasty in Minnetonka, also keeps busy when he’s not helping with fieldwork. Paul graduated from Watertown-Mayer High School in 2000, and has a degree in manufacturing engineering technology from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
Wendy went to high school in Watertown, as well, and grew up on a farm near New Germany. She jokingly says her job title outside of farming is a “domestic engineer,” explaining that she cleans houses for a living.
When Paul was asked if he plans to take over the family farm someday, he left his answer mysterious.
“The future’s not written,” he said. “I like to stay diversified.”