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Rickenberg Farm

It's been over 100 years since Andrew Rickenberg settled in the area now designated a Century Farm.

The year was 1893, to be exact. Now, his grandson, James and his wife, Helen, live on the farm, east of Kennedy.

"My grandfather bought the land for $5 an acre. We paid $50 an acre when we bought in in 1967," James said.

The Minnesota State Fair board is in its 19th consecutive year awarding Century Farms. The program began in 1976 and awarded Century Farm designation to almost 6,000 farms since then.

According to Ken Giannini, Minnesota State Fair marketing division, a farm qualifies as a Century Farm if it is 100 years old or more, has been in the same family for 100 years or more, and is at least 50 acres in size.

"Residence on the farm is not required but ownership is. In other workds, I could rent the land and still claim ownership and be a Centrury Farm," Giannini said.

The Rickenberg's have always lived on the farm. Andrew came over from Germany and first homesteaded in Springbrook Township. He then moved and bought 80 acres of land in Jupiter Township from the St. Paul, Minneapolis and Manitoba Railway Company.

Andrew owned the farm until 1937.

James and Helen don't know exactly why their ancestors picked Minnesota to live.

"They probably had relatives or friends here who also came from Germany," James said.

At that time, the farm's major crops were potatoes, wheat, barley and cattle.

In 1937, Harry Rickenberg, James' father, took over as owner. He had the farm until 1967 when James took ownership.

James still farms, now with his son, Jeff. He said he has always farmed and didn't really know anything different. James said sometimes farming is a tough way to make a living but he enjoys it.

"I could never be working in a building the whole time. I like the outside work and the variety," he said.

James and Jeff still produce the same crops as 100 years ago, wheat, barley, potatoes and cattle, on 960 acres.

The farm has changed in appearance though, since 1893. There are no original buildings still on the farm.

James said at on time there was a log house, built by his grandfather, on the farm. The log house has since been sold.

The Rickenbergs added two quonsets, three potato warehouses, steel bins, a shop and an addition on the house.

In recognition of having a Century Farm, the couple received a Century Farm certificate and sign at the Kittson County Fair, July 9, in Hallock.

Other farms designated Century Farms in Kittson County were: Maurice and Dianne Sugden, Harly and Jan Younggren, Larry and Rose Younggren, and Roy and Freda Fossell.


Kittson County Enterprise, July, 1995 by Cindy Gleason