Union Township farm family receives recognition

INDIANAPOLIS — It isn’t the first time that the Behmer family in Union Township has been honored by the state. The first time was in 1977, when the family farm was honored with a Hoosier Homestead Award.

For five generations, the Behmer family have been farmers or continued to own the original farm established in 1863 by Daniel G. Behmer, who settled in Marshall County from Lancaster, Penn.in 1855. In the Bremen area, 160 acres was purchased in 1862 from the Wabash and Erie Canal Company by David G. Behmer and his wife Mary Jane Platt through a land grant.

Today it is Daniel’s great great grandchildren, John Behmer, Anne Behmer and Linda Behmer Bartlett who continue to hold onto the original plat of land, which now encompasses 175 acres.

On Wednesday, Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Gina Sheets Wednesday presented the Behmer family with a Hoosier Homestead Award in recognition of their more than 100-year commitment to Indiana agriculture. The farm was established in 1863.

“Today we celebrate the agricultural heritage of our farming families,” said Lt. Governor Ellspermann. “We salute their innovation, their determination, and their dedication which have allowed them to succeed for more than a century—here’s to at least 100 more successful years!”
To be named a Hoosier Homestead, farms must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years and consist of more than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year.

For the Behmers the award marks 150 years of continued use as a farm. Although the Behmers do not actively farm the land themselves, it is leased and is planted in corn and soy beans today, John said.

 “As the practices of agriculture continue to evolve, families like those honored at today’s ceremony remind us of the deep cultural roots farming has in our state,” Sheets said. “Although business and technology play a significant role in farming, the recipients of the Hoosier Homestead award show us that agriculture is ultimately about family and community.”

The Behmer family joins more than 5000 Hoosier Homestead farms. Annual recognition ceremonies are held in March (during National Ag Month) and August at the Indiana State Fair.

In nearby Rochester, another farming family received the Hoosier Homstead Award for marking a century of family ownership. The Rans Farm, located in Rochester, Ind., began in 1906.

Wednesday, 42 families received centennial awards, 14 families were recognized with sesquicentennial (150 year) awards, and two families celebrated more than 200 years of Hoosier farming.

“I am very pleased to see these two deserving families receive statewide recognition,” said Rep. Tim Harman (R-Bremen). “Their dedication to agriculture will leave a lasting legacy based on their diligence and hard work. I am honored to represent the Rans and Behmer families.”