The Story of the Town, Farming in Central MN
Farming is an unincorporated town in Central Stearns County in Central Minnesota along county roads 23, 41 and 42 located approximately 9 miles north of Richmond and 7 miles south of Albany. To help tell the story of Farming I was joined by longtime residents Dan Rea and Marilyn Mergen.
Dan Rea was born in Sauk Centre but spend most of his childhood up until the age of 18 in Farming. He moved on to the Air Force and also lived in Richmond but has been back in Stearns County and has been closely associated with the Farming Flames for many years. Rea also has lots of family that continue to live in the area. Rea has done the scoreboard for Farming Flames games since 1966 and has been the Public Address announcer for the Flames since the 1980s. Marilyn Mergen married local farmer Joe Mergen in 1955 and has lived on a farm northwest of Farming ever since. Mergen says dairy farms used to be prevalent in the Farming area but many farms have gone out of the dairy business.
Farming was settled in the 1870s primarily by German Catholic immigrants who responded to letters from Father Pierz encouraged them to settle on land in Central Minnesota. Farming had its own creamery, a post office, and general store. Dan Rea says the post office went away in the early 1900s. He says the creamery went away in the 1960s. The origin of the town name isn't completely known but both Rea and Mergen say the town was named Farming because of the farming that took place around the town. Rea says Farming has always had bars, it had grocery stores, a black smith shop, gas stations and repair shops.
Farming opened an elementary school in 1962 according to Rea. He says the school stayed active up until about 7 to 8 years ago when it closed. Another focus of the community is St. Catherine Parish which started in 1879. At its peak Rea says they had 80 families attending.
The ballpark that the Farming Flames play in is called Schleper Brothers Field. Rea says in 2010 they noticed the field needed some updates and their youth baseball numbers were down. He explained they were able to increase the youth numbers from 10 to 50, leveled the field, put up a new fence, put up new lights and updated the grandstand. Rea says they are very proud of the work they've done on Schleper Brothers Field.
The Farming softball field which is just east of Schleper Brothers Field continues to get use as well. Mergan remembers when area farmers and community members cleared the field in the 1970s. That location had been woods prior.
Farming continues to offer many things to its residents which includes Trappers Pub & Grub, Mayers Repair, Lee's Auto Body and Glass, the Farming Community Center and St. Catherine's Oratory Church. Mergen says Farming Flames baseball games and weddings will bring people do the community today.
If you'd like to listen to my conversations with Dan Rea and Marilyn Mergen they are available below.