Days Gone By – Hear From Wisconsin’s Centennial Farms

Pictured: 2023 Centennial and Sesquicentennial Farms enjoy a celebratory breakfast and recognition at Wisconsin State Fair Park in August. Photo by Ryan Ebert.

One hundred years ago, everything was done by hand — picking rocks out of fields, digging wells, clearing 70 acres of forest in order to farm. This was among the to-do list for a Wisconsin family to begin their legacy in Seymour, Wisconsin.

These are snippets of a Wisconsin family’s story in Outagamie County. Third-generation Larry Lambie tells the story of his family’s Centennial Farm in the Township of Oneida. His family is among roughly 100 farms to accept the Centennial Farm Award from the state of Wisconsin this year.

Mid-West Farm Report has a collection of these stories that we’re sharing with you courtesy of Compeer Financial. You can find our conversations with both Century and Sesquicentennial awardees here:

The state’s Century Farm Program honors about 100 properties each year. There have been more than 9,600 properties honored since the program began in 1948. The Sesquicentennial Farm & Home Award has honored more than 940 farms since 1998.

The going was tough. Larry Lambie honors his Grampa for having the resiliency to start the farm.

Lakey’s Woods in Trempealeau County is another Centennial Farm. Dawne Lakey says the first Lakey generation emigrated to Trempealeau County from Devonshire, England in 1860. At the height of the family farming operation, he had accumulated hundreds of acres for widely diverse uses such as corn, beans, peas, wheat, hay, and oats. At the same time, he also built herds of grade A dairy cattle, steers, swine, and sheep. The family preserved a 25-acre stand of woodlands that still stand today. The untimely deaths of two sons altered the course of the lives of at least three families. Raymond, Lakey’s grandfather, was the youngest son and had expressed his early desire to live a city life in Chicago. As the sole remaining son, the responsibilities of the farm fell to him. Today, the farmstead is working to lease tillable acres to a solar energy company.

Sherman Wogsland shares the story of his family Centennial farm in Waupaca County. In 1906, the first generation purchased the original farmstead of 45 acres. They grew potatoes and had a custom thrashing business for many years. Today, Wogsland milks 26 cows and farms 120 acres. 

These are just three of many historical farm stories — some of these families rooted in Wisconsin since the state first began. Find more by clicking on the 2023 Wisconsin Century & Sesquicentennial Farm Salute tab: