Watching Madison Grow – Theis Boys Have

In the 1930’s, agriculture was the mainstay for Dane County. Traffic arteries like Raymond Road, Mineral Point and County Road PD were buffered by corn fields and pastures. That’s when the Theis family started their farming operation. This week, they’re drawing it to a close with a far different look to their neighborhood.

Today the main road outside of their original farm site is routinely congested with commuters coming from housing developments that stretch as far as Cross Plains. Randy Theis said they had opportunities to move, but the convenience of being able to take a four-wheeler from the farm to their fields was tough to beat. As the community around them grew, they took advantage of that too. “It’s nice to be able to go down the road and get some milk,” he says with a smile.

Theis says despite the rapid population growth in their immediate farming area, he hadn’t had any real encounters until this last growing season. An adjacent yard to one of their farm fields claimed that the Theis brothers had killed their garden with herbicide drift. Hoping to remain “responsible neighbors” Randy Theis made an appointment with the home owners who were from Colorado. Theis had already been advised by a Dane County official that the actual lot lines for the home owners properties were clear, and that they’d actually planted their garden on Thies’ acreage. Despite that, they had a friendly meeting to explain what likely happened, how to avoid it in the future (move your garden) and part as neighbors.

Steffes Auction Group has been photographing the equipment and building interest for an all online auction that runs until December 2nd. Randy Theis admits that he’s been more and more engaged in watching online sales versus the previous in-person experience. “It’s a sign of the times,” he replies. Just like the “Auction” sign in front of their equipment.

Right now the plan is to retain some of the cropland they’ve farmed for decades and consider what to do next. They’ll hang onto the original farmstead, but admit – some day that will go too. When that happens, Randy sums it up – “It’s gonna hurt.”