Century Farm award honors Moyer family legacy

Dale Stelz/TSnews Josh and Loni Moyer accept their Century Farm Award at the Sedgwick County Farm Bureau annual meeting. They are the fifth generation to farm their ground near Clearwater.

By Nancy D. Borst, TSnews

To say Josh Moyer’s farm has been in the family a long time is a serious understatement.
Family ownership of the quarter section four miles northeast of Clearwater dates clear back to 1890. That’s when Thomas and Laura Speer bought the ground and built a home there. The property’s longevity and constant ownership within the family earned current owners Josh and Loni Moyer a Century Farm award from the Kansas Farm Bureau.
The program honors family farms that have passed down their heritage in one family for at least a century. At least 80 acres of the original farmland must have remained in the family throughout that time. Recipients of the award receive a sign designating Century Farm status and recognition from Farm Bureau.
Josh recounted that Thomas Speer originally was from Illinois. He was a teamster who had a wagon and team that delivered supplies from northeast Kansas to various military forts to the south and west. After getting out of that business, he and Laura bought the land, built a house and the farm was born.
Josh said his is the fifth generation to own the farm. He shares ownership of the ground with his grandmother and parents. There was a time during the 1960s when the original house was sold out of the family. But he and Loni bought it back several years ago. They live in that original house with their daughters, Madison, 11, and Paige, 8.
“We finally tied everything back together,” he said of reacquiring the house, which was remodeled in the 1990s.
Josh said he remembers hearing that the original house had dirt floors for the first few years. Not everyone would embrace a house that has survived for 132 years.
“I think a lot of people want something shiny and new,” he said. “It’s hard to get sentimental value – that’s something you can’t build.”
The farm started out as pasture for cattle. Today, Josh and Loni grow wheat, milo, soybeans and corn. That transition from livestock to crops occurred in the early 1900s with Josh’s great grandfather.
“My grandpa told me he plowed the ground with a one bottom plow and a team of horses,” he said, marveling at what a feat that must have been.
“I take an awful lot of pride in it,” he said of the family legacy that is now in his hands. “To me, that’s what the place symbolizes more than anything – the pride I take in what my family has done over the generations.”
And if the family’s commitment continues, there could be more recognition coming.
“Just 20 more years and we will have a Sesquicentennial Farm,” Josh said.