Farming+family= lots of teamwork for Wheatland County award winners 0
The Tower family were Wheatland County's 2012 BMO Farm Family Award recipients.
Managing a farm and raising a family takes a lot of teamwork, ingenuity and love.
Just ask Brenda and Terry Tower, this year's BMO Farm Family award recipients for Wheatland County.
"When our kids (Curtis and Aerin) were small, we took them on the combine with us. We took them everywhere. We always double watched them," says Brenda.
Terry, 65, and Brenda, 61, devised ways to keep their kids safe from hazards on the now 106-year-old farm. Even if it meant a white lie.
"We told them there's an Ogopogo that lives in the ditch by the irrigation canal. We told them if they didn't stay away from there, they would be Ogopogo's breakfast," says Terry.
The Ogopogo wouldn't come if the kids went to the canal with mommy and daddy, or nana and grandpa.
Today, Curtis and his wife Brandi (Brewer) live on the farm with their five children. Curtis decided while in high school he too wanted to be a farmer. His children know to move to the grass when they hear machinery.
Terry's grandfather Richard came to the area in 1905 from Nebraska. Richard worked on a cattle train for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), and liked what he saw in Gleichen. He went back to Lincoln, Nebraska, brought back his sister and his mother (Terry's great grandmother), bought the land from the CPR on which the farm still stands on today, and settled down.
At about the same time as Terry's father settled the area, Brenda's grandparents came from Utah. That was between 1905-1907, a time during which there was much migration to the area.
"If not for my father and his father before him, laying down the foundation, we would not be here. It's not all of our own making," said Terry.
The Towers seed 2500 acres of mixed grains (wheat, barley and canola.) Up until 2005 they had a cow calf operation.
Today Terry and Curtis operate the farm by themselves as modern machinery allows to them to do to more in less time. The combines move faster, five or six miles an hour instead of two or three. It may not seem like a big deal, but it makes a big difference, said Brenda.
"When we started farming we had open air tractors, with no air conditioning. We just sat in the bugs and the wind. Now the combine is like sitting on a couch," says
Curtis, his wife Brandi and their children Alexis, Brianna, Spencer, Callie and Danica live on the Tower farm. Curtis decided while still in high school he wanted to be a farmer
Aerin, her husband Toby (Wheeler) and their children Will and Devin live on their own 100 year old farm eight miles away from the Tower farm.
Farming is a team effort, passed on through the generations. It's a business but it's our way of life," says Brenda.
Spencer Tower, 5, said he is (not "will be") a farmer. If so, he is/will be the fifth generation on the Terry farm.
Brenda and Terry were marshals for the Strathmore Stampede Heritage Days parade.