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Butternut Grove Farm honored as a Minnesota Century Farm

Butternut Grove Farm, located north of Silver Lake, has been owned and operated by generations of the Svanda family since 1903. In the front, are Ernie and Beverly Ann Svanda. In the back are their children, Bruce Svanda, Bonnie Hahn and Barb Ruzicka. This year, the farm was recognized as a Minnesota Century Farm.

North of Silver Lake, off of Henry’s Corner, lies Butternut Grove Farm, a beautiful, lush, green pasture of farmland once home to many butternut trees, but is known to most as the Svanda farmstead.
“Nobody knows us as Butternut Grove Farm, but that’s what my grandparents called it,” Ernie Svanda, 84, said of the family farm.
The farm has been in the Svanda family since 1903 and was recognized this year as a Minnesota Century Farm.
It was first purchased by Josef and Emilie Svanda and passed on to to their son, Joseph Frank Svanda and his wife Mary, whose son, Ernie and his wife, Beverly Ann, took over in 1953. Ernie and Beverly Ann are the present owners of the farm.
“I didn’t really want to farm. I wanted to be a mechanic, but Ma and Pa had other plans for me, and here I am,” Ernie laughed.
He said he started milking full time at the age of 17 when his father’s hired help, Harry Shimanski, left the farm, and his father was doing threshing work for neighboring farms.
“We had two threshing machines and they were the only machines in so many miles, so Dad had a threshing crew,” Ernie said. He milked cows while his father was away. He quit milking in 1987 when he sold his dairy herd.

For more about the Century Farm, see the Sept. 3 print edition of The McLeod County Chronicle.