The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

December 20, 2013

5 generations of farming comes to an end


“I was teaching school, had been for nine years,” he explained. “But now I had the opportunity to step in and take over the family farm. And I decided I’d rather farm than teach.”

So in December 1981, walked away from a career in education and became a full-time farmer.

Steve’s son is career Navy, and Steve knows he won’t be coming back to farm. So when the time to retire came, Steve knew he was ready.

In 2010, he survived Hotchkins Lymphoma. Before that, he had an electrical problem in his heart, and that was when they sold the cattle.

“That was pretty nice,” Steve remembered. “There was no more responsibility to get them fed before getting ready for church, picking babies out of the mud. It’s a tremendous responsibility to take care of livestock.”

There’s also a little peer pressure involved, it seems. Many of Steve’s friends have already retired, and the guys he hunts and fishes with have almost all retired, too.

And then there are the family plans. Steve and Diane are ready to go south, take a cruise, maybe even visit Las Vegas.

“For the last 30 years, in spring and fall, the nicest parts of Iowa, we couldn’t do anything,” he said. “Diane retired last January, so now there’s no reason not to go.”

So Wednesday’s auction closed the final chapter of the Dallner family farming story. In an event his ancestors probably would have been amazed at, there were 200 bid numbers on site, plus 130 registered bidders online and more on the phone. That meant the Dallners’ farm equipment will now be used in Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri.

“I answered the phone 29 times just on Tuesday,” Steve said, “just to answer questions about the equipment we were selling on Wednesday.

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