From her childhood on her family farm, Ellen Reyburn remembers fetching the cows, feeding the pigs and enjoying being out in the field with her dad.
She had chores, as most kids do, but hers were a little different than the typical cleaning her room and doing dishes.
In the mornings some years, she got up at 6 a.m. to help her dad plant corn, and she would gather the eggs and feed the piglets and lambs her dad let her take care of.
“It was a great way of life. It’s a different way of life,” Reyburn said. “It’s enjoyable to plant your crops and watch them grow when you have really good years, and even when you have not so great or bad years.”
Although she moved off the farm after she got married, she still loves it and only lives a mile away from it. She still goes to help out when she can.
Reyburn’s family has lived at the Robert F. McConnell Farm since 1847, which earned them the sesquicentennial, or 150 year, Hoosier Homestead Award at Saturday’s ceremony. They were one of 67 families to get the award.
To be named a “Hoosier Homestead” farm, it must be owned by the same family for more than 100 consecutive years and be larger than 20 acres or produce more than $1,000 of agricultural products per year, according to an Indiana State Department of Agriculture press release.
At the ceremony Saturday, Reyburn said she had 25 family members in attendance, so it was a fun day they got to spend at the fair.
“It was an original homestead when we got it, and it was passed down from one family member to another,” Reyburn said.
More than 5,000 farms in Indiana have received this award in the past 30 years, according to in.gov.
Without farmers, Reyburn said most Americans wouldn’t have access to the fresh food they need to eat healthily.
“The American people have got to eat,” she said. “If it wasn’t for the farmers, I don’t think the people would eat that well in the U.S.”
And as many necessary occupations are, being a farmer isn’t an easy life, she said.
“You certainly have to depend on the Lord upstairs to bless the crops for you,” she said. “If you get too much rain or if you don’t get enough rain … you kind of have to have a faith to be a farmer.”
Kara Berg is a writer for BSU Journalism at the Fair, a group of 30 students telling Indiana’s stories from a trailer somewhere between the cheese sculpture and the state’s biggest sow. This Ball State University immersive-learning project works for elephant ears.