Friday, July 24, 2015

A Family Legacy - David and JoAnne Otto

It’s been 109 years and the David and JoAnne Otto farm still remains a family legacy. In 1906, JoAnne’s grandfather, Albert Lehn, moved to the land and started a dairy farm. 

Albert’s sons Otto and Bernard Lehn both ran the farm and passed it on to JoAnne and her husband David Otto of Garfield.

David and JoAnne have four children, Brian, Brad, Stacy and Stef. Brad is currently the only child that lives on the now 68 acre farm and takes care of 54 beef cows. The other three children visit often.

JoAnne said the children want to keep the farm in the family; it’s just a matter of who will take over next.

The barn and house have been on the property since JoAnne’s grandfather, Albert, moved there. Both buildings have seen renovations and have been added on to.

Because it used to be a dairy farm, David used to milk up to 60 cows. “I learned there’s life after milking,” he joked. It is now mostly a crop farm.

Along with cattle and corn, the Ottos also raise peacocks.

The couple has lived on the property for 49 years. “Bought it when we got married,” David explained.

David not only farmed for nearly 50 years, but also volunteered for the Leaf Valley Fire Department for 40 years and teaches gun safety.

David and JoAnne joke that her job for many years was to haul the kids around.

“We couldn’t move if we wanted to,” JoAnne said with a laugh.


The Minnesota State Fair and Minnesota Farm Bureau recognized 221 Minnesota farms as 2015 Century Farms.

Qualifying farms have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years and are 50 acres or more. 

 From WDAY/WDAZ First News July 2015

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