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  • Melody Lager

Stories from a Young Farmer

Life for a young farmer was a lot of hard work and little cash. Over the next few

months, we want to share some memories from Lowell Hill, who lived near

Rowan, Iowa. His stories are similar to many a young farmer. The following is the

first installment. (the picture above is not of Lowell)


I was ready when (my wife) Betty’s father said a good friend and neighbor of his

needed a new tenant. With $400 cash as capital, and a new baby daughter,

Rebecca, we moved to the farm near Rowan in March 1955. I had loaned my Dad

money to buy dairy cattle out of my private’s pay while I was in service (Korean

conflict). Brother-in-law Elba (Cook) and I drove the old International truck to

Rosehill to pick up my share of the cows and calves generated during the 18

months Dad was milking them. So, I had a 6-cow, grade B dairy operation and 50

laying hens to generate cash flow – and half of that went to the landlord!

Betty’s father had semi-retired from farming, turning the daily operations

over to Betty’s brother-in-law, Elba. He and I shared equipment and exchanged

labor for the next five years. The farm was owned by the Clarion, Iowa, farm

equipment dealer, Amos Sann. They lived in the “big house” a few rods from our

newly remodeled 4 room tenant home. I was operating 160 acres under a 50/50

lease covering grain and livestock. I was to provide labor and equipment. Other

expenses and total gross income were shared 50/50 with the landlord. Grain

alone did not generate a gross income high enough to support two families, so I

added dairy, hogs and feeder lambs. - Written by Lowell Hill






Now - to add a “small world” twist to the above information: The Amos Sann

home was owned by Oscar Mayer during the 20’s-30’s. Oscar also rented the

tenant home to young farmers, one of which was this editor’s Grandparents, Bert

and Edna Gram, from 1928-1935. Approximately 30 years later, Lowell Hill lived in this same tenant home. And approximately 15 years after that Elba Cook was living in Rowan, Iowa – across the street from Bert and Edna Gram. The main house is still standing, it is the first house on the east side of the road after the curve in highway 3/69 going to Belmond. Across the road used to be a railroad stop called "Solberg".

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