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2014 Farm Beautiful Winner
Farm Beautiful Contest
Last year, Successful Farming magazine and Exmark introduced the Farm Beautiful Contest. Our mailboxes overflowed with photos of historic barns, scenic landscapes, and pristine shops. The entries included passionate stories of children returning to the family farm, a dedication to and love of the land, and farms that had been in families for more than a century. The heartwarming stories inspired us to bring back the contest for a second year.
Dick and Sharon Haas
In this year’s contest, Dick and Sharon Haas’s farm in LeRoy, Illinois, took the top prize, specifically a brand-new Exmark zero-turn lawn mower. The Haas’s are a hard-working farm family that has spent years improving the homestead, putting in beautiful landscapes, and adding necessary shops, sheds, and bins in a well-organized layout.
In 1961, newly married Dick and Sharon Haas moved into a farmhouse outside LeRoy, Illinois. The move left Sharon in tears. The homestead had been abandoned for 15 years and had no running water, furnace, or an indoor toilet. The sole source of water on the farm was a windmill and a cistern with a hand pump. The farm had various decrepit barns and livestock lots with a single narrow driveway. Since then the farm has undergone numerous changes.
Only the barn, one tree, and a part of the original house remain on the farm. In their places the Haas family built a shop, machine sheds, grain bins, a grain drying setup, and added onto the house to accommodate a growing family (three children, nine grandchildren, and three great grandchildren). They have constructed new driveways and widened the preexisting one for larger equipment.
Over the past 53 years the farm has evolved in different ways. The barn has housed numerous nationally recognized Angus cattle. The machine shed has also served as a seed dealership. Additionally, the farm is currently featured in Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry as part of its agricultural exhibit.
Beautiful, Productive Workplace
The farm has transformed into a beautiful, productive home and workplace. Every inch of the farm is passionately cared for, and it is easy to see the pride the family takes in maintaining what they have worked so hard to create.
Congrats to Dick and Sharon Haas the winners of the 2014 Farm Beautiful Contest.