The fifth-generation Taunton farm was recognized as Century Farm. On hand were (left to right): Eric Guttormsson, Rita Engels, Ann Guttormsson, Heidi Guttormsson and Dennis Engels.

A century on the farm

The Stassen Farm of Taunton was one of three farms in Lyon County recognized Saturday for qualifying as a Century Farm. The Minnesota Century Farm program is sponsored by Farm Bureau and the Minnesota State Fair.

The Gniffke Farm in Cottonwood and Nuytten Farm of Marshall were also recognized. Eric and Ann (Engels) Guttormsson have owned the farm the past 22 years; Ann representing the fifth generation of family to have farmed the land outside of Taunton in Eidsvold Township.

Ann and her mother, Rita Engels accepted the Century Farm recognition sign and a certificate signed by Farm Bureau presidents and Governor Tim Walz.

The program was held on stage at the Hoop Barn during the fair. To qualify as a Century Farm, there must be continuous family ownership for at least 100 years on a farm of 50 acres or more.

The Stassen farm originated 112 years ago when Peter J. Stassen, who came to America in 1892, purchased the land in 1910. Peter owned the land for 2 1/2 years before his son Michael and his wife Alicia (Claeys) bought it and farmed the land over the next 35 years.

Michael’s son Harry then took over and owned the farm for the next 34 years before his son Rich Stassen (Peter’s great-grandson) and his wife Pam lived on the farm for 16 years. Ann and Eric have owned the farm for the past 22 years.

They have two children, Alex and Heidi. “I have great memories of this farm when I was growing up,” said Ann, who sent in the application for the Century Farm award and was notified in March that it would be recognized this summer.

“I think it’s important for my kids to know where my heritage is from and the history of the farm. We’ve been here for 22 wonderful years and it is a great place to raise kids and expose them to rural living.”

Ann’s mother Rita is the great-granddaughter of Peter Stassen, but she and her husband Dennis have never farmed the site.

Still, Ann felt it was important for her mother to be able to enjoy the honor of being a Century Farm that her ancestors began 112 years ago.

The Guttormssons farm the 160 acres, including 30 ewes, 62 acres of grain and the remainder part of the United State Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program.

The family farm will next be recognized at the Minnesota State Fair.

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