Farm is back in the Sickler family
DICKINSON - Albert Sickler sold his farm house northeast of Dickinson to Jim Fugle in 2004, assuming it had left the family for good.
But when Fugle turned around in 2007 and wanted to sell, Albert was excited to hear his grandson, Klint, was interested in bringing it back into the family.
"I was pleased when I heard he was interested," Albert said. "I've just enjoyed it, that's why he's going to get a special deal when I sell the rest to him."
Klint buying the farm came as a surprise to himself as well, who hadn't really thought he would ever be moving back home.
"Honestly, no, it's kind of weird how it gets into your blood and you try to fight it but it ends up pulling you back," Klint said. "As I started to see more of the world, I started to realize how much I liked it out here."
Klint and his two sisters, Shawna and Trisha, grew up in a house just up the road from where he now lives. His parents, Galen and Marcia, still live there today.
Galen and Marcia both have jobs off the farm. Galen works at TMI and Marcia works at American Express/Rosenbluth as a travel counselor.
Shawna works as an occupational therapist at MedCenter One in Bismarck and is married to Dustin Wing, from Killdeer, who works as an engineer for the North Dakota Department of Transportation. Trisha currently teaches anatomy and chemistry labs at Presentation College in Aberdeen, S.D., while working toward her master's degree.
Klint is engaged to Maralee Kubas from South Heart and works at Dakota Community Bank as an insurance salesman. Maralee works as a music teacher for the Dickinson Catholic Schools.
Like Galen and Albert before them, Klint and Galen have entered into a partnership out at Prairie Hills Gelbvieh.
Galen said Klint helps keep him motivated.
"We sort of feed off each other," Galen said. "You get more excited when more people are working on it."
In fact, Galen had a dispersion sale a couple years ago and planned to get out of the cattle business, but since Klint has moved back to the farm, they have started to rebuild the herd.
"You could tell that after the dispersion it was like something was missing," Klint said.
Galen said he is happy to have Klint back and that he tried to instill a love of the country and animals into his children.
"It was pretty much what I was after and I had all the kids in livestock judging," Galen said. "So it kind of rubbed off on them." a
It was the same thing that rubbed off on Galen while he was growing up on the family farm.
The son of Hungarian immigrants, Albert Sickler started to farm and ranch at the farm's current location in 1948, when he moved off of his parents' place to start a life of his own. The house Klint currently lives in is the same his father grew up in.
Albert's son, Galen, partnered with his father in 1974 and they farmed and ranched together. They initially started as a farm and ranch operation, raising certified Hereford cattle.
As his father got older, Galen slowly made the transition to a ranch operation and started raising certified Gelbvieh cattle, which he and Klint still raise today.
Albert said farming and ranching is extremely different than when he started.
"It's not even a question," Albert said. "It's not even the same at all."
Galen said that things have changed in almost every segment of the agricultural word, but the science of raising cattle is the one that has probably changed the least.
One thing Klint and Galen both pointed to as a change in the cattle industry is the information the producers need to provide for their customers.
"The customers have come to expect more information," Klint said. "It's something you need to supply to maintain some kind of competitive advantage. All of our records, from when a calf hits the ground to when it's sold is all done electronically."
The information they gather ranges from ultrasound information regarding ribeye size and other carcass information to collecting DNA samples.
Klint said they enter the information into their computer and probably around 60 percent of their marketing is done online.
"Now you can see why I got out," Albert laughed.
Although he says he's gotten out, Albert still maintains a presence on the ranch and even has one head of cattle. Life on the farm is hard to give up, he said.
"It's a way of life you can't describe to someone who isn't out here,"
Galen said. "A lot of people can't wait for the weekend to go to the lake for some peace and quiet, we have that every night."
Another attractive part of life on the farm is the ability to shape it and adjust it the way you life.
"In town you live in a house and if you don't like it you move," Galen said. "Here, you build it and adjust it, you build your dream."
Albert, Galen and Klint all said that life on the farm can be stressful especially when you're just starting out. Each said it would be almost impossible to start out without the help of a family member.
"If it wasn't for my land here, they couldn't do it," Albert said.
"Not without help," Galen said. "You almost need a second job."
Ironically enough, Klint said his grandfather had been interviewed in 1973 about the subject of young farmers starting out and he said the same thing, without family you can't do it.
Even though Albert built his own dream out on the farm and comes to visit as often as he can to see how his son and grandson's dreams are coming there are some things he is happy to leave with them.
"When I see Klint out here digging post holes that's when I begin to think it's getting to be time to head home," Albert laughed.