Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

March 8, 2008

Farming tradition

SYRACUSE, Ind. — With nearly 7 inches of snow and ice recently covering each of the fields belonging to Bobeck Farms, Arlen Bobeck of Syracuse had plenty of time to reflect — not only on the farm life his great-grandfather passed down, but the future he leaves to his two sons and their families.

Six generations of Bobecks have worked the fields in the southeastern corner of Elkhart County since the 1880s, and today, few similarities in practice or product remain.

Arlen’s great-grandfather Nels immigrated from Sweden, purchased land and cleared it before sending for his family. Arlen’s grandfather was 7 when he arrived in Indiana, and the operation has expanded since then.

“I can’t imagine what my great-grandfather would think of farming today,” Arlen said. “His farm was 120 acres. We don’t know for sure if he started with all that or not, but his operation was very different than what we do now.”

The practice of “family farming” Arlen described — where every home had livestock and crops to sustain the family as well as product left over to sell for profit — has all but disappeared.

“When I was young, we milked cows, had farrow to finish hogs, sheep, horses and chickens,” Arlen said. “Crop rotation was important with corn, wheat, hay, and we put the animal manure on the fields as fertilizer. That’s the way everyone did it.”

The value of the era Arlen’s father Virgil raised him in, as well as the era of his grandfather and great-grandfather, was the value of community and helping one’s neighbors.

“When I look back, one thing that meant a lot to me and formed my life was that we worked as neighbors. Today, you hardly know your neighbors,” Arlen said. Farming communities were much like extended families years ago.

Text Only
Local News

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results
AP Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow