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Century Farm basks in Dutch heritage

June 25, 2010
By ROBYN KRUGER/Farm News staff writer

HULL - Arlan Moss, of rural Hull, is proud of his Dutch heritage and the farm that has been in his family for more than 100 years.

The family celebrated the event in 2008 with a huge family gathering of 51 relatives, visiting from all over the United States. They enjoyed videos of past family gatherings and gave tractor and four-wheeler rides to the relatives not so familiar with life on the farm.

''The smaller children enjoyed the things most farm kids take for granted like picking apples and playing in the grove,'' said Ruth Moss, Arlan Moss' wife. ''It was fun to see.''

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The Moss family members are, from left: Seated — Arlan and wife Ruth Moss and Harriet Moss. Standing – Arlan Moss, Craig Moss and Hayley Moss.

The family also held a scavenger hunt, using clues targeting the farm's various landmarks.

The hunt concluded with family members signing the farm's ''Wall of Fame,'' located in the old chicken house, one of two original buildings still standing on the acreage.

It was a celebration of the past and the future.

Fact Box

Moss Century Farm

Established: 1908

Generations: 3rd

Township: Lincoln

Acres: 160

Awarded: 2008

Arlan Moss' great-grandparents were Cornelius and Trytje Mos. They changed the family spelling to M-O-S-S in 1908. This couple was the first to live on the quarter section of land in Sioux County.

Upon arriving here, Cornelius Moss worked as a banker in Carmel, before buying the land west of Hull. Through the years they farmed corn, oats and hay. They raised hogs, and fed and milked cows. They raised chickens for eggs and meat as those living the self-sufficient life of a farmer did back then.

The work horses were sold in the early 1950s, Arlan Moss said, but added that his mother, Harriet Moss, remembered how proud her husband, Art Moss, was when the new heavy equipment got stuck in the yard and he used the team of horses to pull them out.

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''He was so proud of himself and the horses,'' she said smiling.

Harriet and Art Moss were the third generation to live on the farm, moving into a small tenet-type house next to Art Moss' parents, Jacob and Lena Moss.

''It was small and we did not have an ice box,'' Harriet Moss recalled. ''I remember going to my in-laws to get the baby's formula and finding Jacob had used it that morning in his coffee,'' she laughed.

The family has interesting stories that have taken place through the years, from the cat that ''cleaned'' the frying pan to the cows that seemed to get out every time it rained.

The Moss family agreed that it's the stories of family, friends, and neighbors, who were there for each other, that is most gratifying to the Moss family.

Neighbors helping neighbors and being active in the community, is what Arlan Moss said, ''sets our small farming communities apart.''

Disaster struck the family in February 2009 when the ventilation units on the hog finishers went down and alarms failed to alert them. ''We had 900, 200-pound hogs dead the next morning,'' Moss said.

''I made two phone calls - one to the church secretary and one to my neighbor. We had so many people here in a short amount of time it looked like we were having a farm sale.''

By 12:30 that afternoon all of the dead pigs were hauled out. We had people I knew and people I had never seen before working to haul out those pigs, '' Moss said. ''It was a very humbling experience,'' added Ruth Moss.

The couple said it has often found ways to work with neighbors in joint-marketing, and finding others ways that they can, as a community, increase their individual profits.

''Our plan for the future is to defiantly keep this farm in the family.'' said Moss. ''We are making those plans right now.

''We are very proud to have not only kept the farm in the family, but to also be actively farming the land. We see ourselves as stewards of the land and want to continue to feed the world.''

Contact Robyn Kruger by e-mail at



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