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Pine Island dairy farm earns century status after 150 years

June 5, 2018 GMT

PINE ISLAND — If your name is Klingsporn, for 150 years you’ve known where home is.

About four miles east of Pine Island, the Klingsporn Farm has been home to and provided a livelihood for the family for generation after generation.

Today, three generations of the family live and work on the 160-acre farm that will be honored by the Minnesota State Fair as a Century Farm this year and as a Sesquicentennial Farm by the Minnesota Farm Bureau.

The farm has been in the family since 1868, said Linda Klingsporn.

In fact, of the 131 farms being honored by the State Fair this year as Century Farms, only The Williams Family Farm near Adrian in Nobles County is older at 1865.

David Klingsporn said he is proud he’s been part of the tradition that has kept the farm in the family for 150 years, and he’s happy the farm will continue to work under the Klingsporn name for many years to come.

“We’ve kept it going,” David said. “We feel we should share it with the people who were before us, but I don’t know how you do that other than with Mom,” he added, pointing to his mother, Lauretta. “I’m also glad the next generation is still here with us.”

David and his wife, Linda, are the current owners of the original Klingsporn Farm. They also own another 160-acre farm plus five acres on another site. The couple runs a dairy with 175 head of cows, plus they grow corn and alfalfa as feed for their animals.

“We have to buy a little bit of corn, but otherwise” that meets most of their feed needs,” David said.

Before David and Linda owned the farm, Lauretta and her husband, Duane, owned the farm from 1952 to 1996.

“We were just married in May of ’52, and bought a farm in September,” she said. They’d bought the farm from a cousin of Duane’s parents. Her name: Ella Klingsporn. “We borrowed a team of horses. We bought this so we could work together.”

In fact, she said, much of the work was literally horse powered for about 10 years until she and Duane transitioned completely to tractors.

In those days, the farm was a bit more diversified. Hogs, chickens, row crops and dairy cows were all art of the plan. “Every time it was time to butcher the chickens, the boy’s would all run,” Lauretta said.

“We never made it far,” quipped her son.

To make ends meet in those days, she sold eggs, planted two gardens, canned and froze just about everything, and raised their own meat. “I did a lot of sewing for the girls,” she said, “and made suit jackets for the boys.”

While today’s farm is more specialized, focusing on a dairy business that averages 30,000 pounds of milk per head each year, David said, the principles of keeping the farm running are the same: “Just watch your expenses and do the best job you can.”

Three families earn a living from the total 320 acres owned by the Klingsporns today. In addition to David and Linda, sons Kevin and Luke along with their wives and growing families earn a living, plus Lauretta is still earning her living on the land.

That’s a lot of income off one dairy business, though those daughters-in-law earn a living off the farm.

Still, the original farm and the honors it will receive this summer are quite the Klingsporn legacy. A small telephone book for the area used to carry a full page of Klingsporns, and many of the farms in the area were worked by relatives carrying the family name.

“There were five farms just on the way to town that were Klingsporns,” Lauretta said.