Two Shelby County farms are outstanding in their fields.
The Indiana State Department of Agriculture awarded two Hoosier Homestead Awards to Shelby County farms this year.
The Hoosier Homestead Award recognizes Indiana farms that have been owned and maintained by a family for a hundred years or more. The ISDA offers three awards a farm can receive – the Centennial Award, the Sesquicentennial Award and the Bicentennial Award.
The John-Haehl-Ellison Farm will receive the Centennial award on Friday at the Indiana Statehouse. The Centennial Award honors farms that have been within the same family for 100 years.
Owner Laura Kathryn Ellison Anderson inherited the farm from her parents, Julia Kathryn Haehl-Ellison and Allen Ellison in 1992. Anderson’s grandmother inherited it from her grandparents, Laura John Haehl and Henry Haehl.
Anderson’s grandparents purchased the farm in 1907. Anderson and her mother both grew up on the farm.
“Growing up, it was the typical Indiana farm,” she said. As a kid, she and her family grew wheat, corn and soybeans, and raised animals such as cattle and chickens. Now, she rents the land out to a grain farmer.
Anderson said one of the farm’s key features was the long driveway leading to the front porch of a craftsman foursquare home on the property.
“We spend lots of time on the front porch looking down the lane,” she said about the tree-lined, tire worn path to the street.
The house is one of five structures on the property. Another notable structure is the barn, Anderson said.
“In 2015, our barn was in disrepair, so we had it restored by the Indiana Barn Foundation,” she said. The Indiana Barn Foundation helps restore and preserve historic barns across the state. “We’re very thrilled about that.”
The 113-year-old John-Haehl-Ellison farm isn’t as old as the other Shelby County recipients.
The Bogemann Farm received the Sesquicentennial Award, meaning they’ve been around for 150 years.
James and Debby Bogemann are the fourth-generation owners of the Bogemann farm, which James’ great-grandfather purchased in 1870. James purchased the land from his father in 1990.
The farm itself didn’t become known as the Bogemann Farm until after James’ grandmother married a Bogemann.
The farm began as a dairy farm, but James’ father stopped doing dairy in 1970, Bogemann said. Since then, the primary products are corn and beans.
But the Dairy Barn still stands. The barn itself is a pin barn built in 1880. These types of barns are not common anymore because they are not big enough for modern dairy machinery. So the Bogemanns turned it into a family hangout.
“We turned it into a party room several years ago,” Debby said. They recently hosted their granddaughter’s graduation party in the barn. “In doing that, I think Jim has maintained and preserved the barn. He’s done a lot of work inside the barn. Had he not done that, it would’ve deteriorated much faster.”
The barn is one of six buildings on the farm. James’ grandfather built their house in 1920.
Like the John-Haehl-Ellison Farm, the house the Bogemanns live in is a craftsman foursquare home. The house is characterized by a box-like structure, two or more stories, and a large front porch. The Bogemann house’s front porch wraps around the front of the building.
Debby said the porch is nice because if there is no breeze on one side, she can usually move to the other side and feel one there.
The green sesquicentennial sign is actually the second award the Bogemann farm received from the state. Bogemann’s father received the centennial award fifty years ago. The blue centennial sign hangs outside the barn.
Debby plans to hang the green Sesquicentennial award on a post at the end of the driveway near the farm’s entrance.
Typically there are two award ceremonies that take place. One happens in March, but was postponed because of the quarantine, and the other happens in August at the Indiana State Fair, but the fair was cancelled. This year’s single ceremony was split into two days – July 31 and Aug. 7.
Anderson, who was originally invited to the March ceremony, said she would attend the ceremony on Friday, but it would be very different than what she expected when she received her invitation to the March ceremony.
“They have given each family a designated time to receive the award,” she said. “It will be totally different. It will be quieter, instead of the big ceremony.”
The Bogemanns opted out of the ceremony, and already received their sign from the ISDA. Anderson will receive hers on Friday at the ceremony.