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The Hubers discuss 38 years of farming together

By Staff | Sep 15, 2008

Many farm couples consider themselves a team. Usually the husband works the fields, while the wife may help drive the grain truck when needed.

For George and Mary Huber of Elmore, the teamwork is side by side – and has been for all 38 years they have been married.

“Yes, she does just as much of the farm work as I do,” George says.

So much so that she even has her own John Deere tractor. And it is bigger than the one George drives.

“I enjoy it,” Mary says about farming with her husband. “I like to get outside and work.”

Mary grew up on a farm near Blairsburg, Iowa, so she has always been a farmer.

Her family later moved to Frost, where she graduated from high school.

George is an Elmore native. He has never lived more than three and half miles from the place where he was born.

His parents rented a farmsite not far from where the Hubers now live – two miles west of Elmore on the west branch of the Blue Earth River.

George and Mary were renting a place not far away when the farm on the river became available. They bought it in 1974.

“It was our first purchase,” Mary says. Since that time they bought some other land, including the farmstead George’s parents rented years ago.

“We are not big farmers,” George explains. “At the most we farmed up to 800 acres, which included some land we rented.”

Now they both say they are semi-retired, as they only farm 300 acres – land they actually own.

“We have 448 total acres, but some of it is along the river and we use it for recreation,” George says.

So how did this farming duo meet? It wasn’t easy, they say.

Mary was divorced, living in Blue Earth, and working three jobs.

She was employed at a finance company all week, at an eye clinic on Saturdays and at the 220 Cafe in downtown Blue Earth the rest of the time.

George had resigned himself to being a bachelor all his life.

“I missed the chance to find a wife until all the girls were grown up and moved away,” he chuckles. “Too busy farming, I guess.”

A mutual friend, Anita Virnig, decided the two needed to meet. She talked George into stopping into the 220 Cafe and meeting Mary.

Was it love at first sight?

“I liked what I saw,” George chuckles again.

They were married shortly after that meeting, in 1970.

Mary told George right away that she would like to be his partner in the farm, and that meant in the fields, as well.

That first year didn’t go too well. Somehow though, the marriage survived it.

“I took her to the first field and I plowed the outer edge, so she would have room to turn,” George recalls. “Then I let her start – it wasn’t pretty.”

“I drove an old VA-Case on my dad’s farm in Blairsburg,” Mary says. “It didn’t have power steering. George’s tractor did.”

She cranked the steering wheel to turn and turn she did.

“”She did a full 360 circle and went back the same way she had come – pulling the barb wire fence behind her.

Since they were still newlyweds, George calmly got her going straight again and said “Its all yours.”

“She took off and hasn’t stopped yet,” he says.

Another incident that first year didn’t sit quite as well with George.

“We were baling hay along Highway 169 for my uncle Fred’s sheep,” George recalls.

Mary was driving the tractor and the bank was steep. Some of the hay bales started to topple off the trailer.

“I hit the brakes hard and stopped,” Mary laughs. “That was wrong, because then the bales all fell forward – George too.”

“It was bad,” says George, who silently threw all the bales back on the wagon. Mary wanted to leave him there and hike home, but stuck it out.

“Of course, I never made any mistakes,” George says with a smile. “Well, a few, maybe.”

Both agree getting married and farming together was not one of those mistakes.

“We have a very good life, a nice home and a lot of fun,” Mary says.

They were never able to have children of their own, but “adopted” some of their neighbor boys and nieces and nephews and have enjoyed them a lot. Their home is filled with pictures of all those kids.

The two have also done some traveling. They have made several trips to Scotland and visited with some of Mary’s relatives there.

They have also gone to Telford, Penn., where George’s relatives can be found.

He has traced a great-great-great grandfather to the Revolutionary War. His ancestors came to that area in 1727.

George’s great-grandfatherHuber came to the U.S. from Germany in 1831.

Mary has found her great- grandfather was in the Long Island Volunteers in the New York Infantry and fought in 23 battles in the Civil War, including Gettysburg.

“It is fun to study your family history,” Mary says. “We both enjoy it.”

They also enjoy collecting some old farm equipment. Of particular interest is old Huber machinery, since it bears their name, although it is no relation.

Two years ago Mary gave George an antique Huber threshing machine as a Christmas present. He was quite surprised.

The two like old-time threshing so much that they have hosted a threshing bee at their farm every other year for the past eight years.

“So the Huber threshing machine actually was the perfect gift,” Mary says. George agrees.

They both also agree that farming together is still an enjoyment for them.

In 1994 George had an inner ear virus and his cousins and neighbors helped with planting that spring.

When he was better, but still weak, George got in the fields. However, he had to turn the chores over to Mary as he would grow weak very quickly.

“I finally went home,” he says. “Her rows were straighter than mine anyway.”