In a fast-paced world with up to the minute news and technological advances making your cell phone obsolete upon purchase, it’s hard to imagine owning anything longer than nine months to a year.

Each year, Ak-Sar-Ben pays homage to the dedicated and hard-working Nebraskan families who have done just that. These families have each met the incredible milestone of owning at least 40 acres of farmland within one family for 100 or 150 years, respectively. To put that into perspective, Nebraska has only existed as a state for 152 years.

The Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation, along with Nebraska Farm Bureau and the Nebraska Association of Fair Managers, recognized 142 honorees for the Pioneer Farm Awards (100 years) and Heritage Farm Awards (150 years).

Ak-Sar-Ben began awarding the Pioneer Award in 1956, and since that time, nearly 10,000 farm families have received the award statewide. The Heritage Award was established in 2014, has been awarded to nearly 75 farm families.

“Ak-Sar-Ben is proud to recognize these Nebraska farm families each year. The dedication and perseverance demonstrated by these families is a testament to the strong Nebraska values that set our state apart and have been making Ak-Sar-Ben proud, for over 120 years,” said Sandra Reding, Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation president.

Partnering with Ak-Sar-Ben in sponsoring these awards each year, Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson has said, “Nebraska Farm Bureau is proud to help sponsor these farm family awards. Nebraska Farm Bureau’s heritage and continuous mission is to serve Nebraska farm and ranch families, and these awards recognize the commitment to preserve and build Nebraska agriculture for future generations.”

To commemorate this milestone, each of the families received an engraved plaque and gatepost marker at the county fair in the county where their farm is located.

Underwood family

YORK - The Charles Underwood family farm in rural McCool Junction was honored during a York County Fair presentation of the Ak-Sar-Ben Pioneer Farm Award.

Rich Hankel of the fair board made the presentation under the big tent during the fair while a crowd looked on.

The farm, he said, is currently owned by Vera Underwood Rauscher. The original 160-acre tract in McFadden Township southeast of McCool Junction, was purchased by Elijah J. Underwood in August 1916. He owned the place until his passing at which time it went to his sons, Fred (40 acres) and Edward (120 acres) in 1937.

The land was next acquired by their nephew Charles Underwood and his wife Vera in 1959, bringing the 160 acres back together under single ownership.

Charles was a grandson of Elijah Underwood.

Quiring family

YORK - The Alden and LaVerna Quiring family of York County was presented the Pioneer Farm Award during the recent county fair. The honor marks 100 years or more of continuous farm ownership.

In his presentation remarks to the crowd gathered under the big tent, Rich Hankel of the York County Fair Board said the 80-acre farm located east of Henderson was acquired by Dietrich and Maria Janzen on August 2, 1919, “exactly 100 years ago today.”

The couple married in February 1902 and lived on rented farms until acquiring this operation.

When purchased, the farm’s house, barn and other buildings were replaced by the Janzens.

The couple raised four children - Anna, Sarah, John and Daniel - and lived on the place until their passing in 1962 and 1964.

Daughter Anna Janzen, who inherited the farm at that time, was single and chose not to live on the land. She had the house moved to Henderson and the other buildings were moved off the place, too. In 1965 Anna sold the farm to her nephew Alden Quiring, grandson of Dietrich and Maria. Alden and his wife LaVerna continue to own the farm.

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