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Carden: ‘It’s been a good way of life’

-Messenger photo by Kriss Nelson
Bob Carden, left and his nephew Dean Carden stand by their farm’s Century Farm award recently. The Carden’s family farm started back in 1914.

DUNCOMBE — The Carden family’s Century Farm could be considered a family affair with two generations taking part in ownership of the farm that was first purchased by their family in 1914.

Bob Carden, the third generation, along with his daughter, Judi Crosley; his niece, Diane Richardson; and nephew, Dean Carden, are all part owners of the 80 acre farm located in Washington Township in Webster County.

Bob Carden’s grandparents, Adelbert and Flora Snell, purchased the farm east of Duncombe, where he farmed and ran a threshing business for several years.

Carden said his grandfather offered him the threshing machine and his Rumely tractor, but he denied the offer.

“He sold it for iron and when the truck came to pick it up, it was too heavy and everything tipped over,” said Carden. “Now, I wished I could have kept it.”

At the time, Adelbert Snell decided to quit farming he rented the out the land.

Next in line to own the farm were Carden’s parents, Ward and Aileen (Snell) Carden. Although they farmed, they never farmed the now-Century Farm.

Ward Carden got an early start to his farming career.

“Dad started farming in the eighth grade to take over the farm after his dad died suddenly of a heart attack,” said Bob Carden. “He quit school to be able to take care of the farm and his mother and sister.”

While Carden’s dad never farmed the land that is now a Century Farm, that changed with the next generation.

Carden said he and his brother Richard (Dean Carden and Diane Richardson’s father) started working on the family farm in the mid-1950s. Although it is what their grandfather wanted, it was a tough move for him.

“He (grandfather) wanted us to farm but he didn’t want to take it away from the farmer that had been farming it,” Carden said. “He had been a good renter for grandpa.”

Together, the brothers raised corn, beans and some oats. Carden said he farmed until the early 1960s when he began working for United Cooperative. He continued to farm until his nephew Dean came back to the farm.

Dean Carden came home from college, bought his Uncle Bob’s machinery and started farming with his father and helping with the Pioneer seed business that his grandfather had started in 1942.

It’s a business the Carden family continues to operate today.

“It’s been a good way of life,” said Dean Carden. “I have been very fortunate to be able to do it. My grandparents purchased it. They were able to keep it during the Depression. My dad and I went through the ’80s. We are very fortunate and now the fifth generation is a part of the farm.”

Carden has two children; son Randy farms with him, and daughter Lori and her husband Jamie Kolbeck farm elsewhere.

“Between my son and son-in-law, there is hope they will continue to farm the family farm,” he said.

Bob Carden recalls the tough times his parents went through during the Depression.

“My folks had a tough time,” he said. “They used their last 50 cents to pay their hired man.”

Dean Carden said he took the time to apply for the Century Farm award for the purpose of honoring his legacy and to help make his family’s farm history known.

“I did it for myself, my children and grandchildren so they knew it was a Century Farm,” he said. “For that future and out of respect for my uncle.”