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Baar family farm combines four different legacies

GLADSTONE - What started out as four separate farms owned and operated by different family members has become one farm under the care of Dean and Paulette Baar.

GLADSTONE - What started out as four separate farms owned and operated by different family members has become one farm under the care of Dean and Paulette Baar.

Dean grew up on the farm they currently live on and Paulette grew up just a couple a miles away. Paulette, who lived in town for 15 years before moving back out into the country, said she can't imagine going back.

"I love it out here," Paulette said. "It's so peaceful, you can walk outside on a nice day and hear the birds chirping."

Their farm, located south of Gladstone, was built by Dean's parents, Albert and Alice, in the 1950s.

Growing up, Dean, who came from a family of 10, said he thought about taking over eventually, but didn't give it much thought and it just happened to work out that way.

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"I think I probably just fit into it," Dean said. "My dad was just ready to retire at that time."

After making the decision to take over in 1988, Dean purchased the cows and began renting the land from his mother.

Paulette also came from a large family; there were nine children, but being a girl, never really thought about living on a farm.

Out of their combined 19 siblings, only Dean and Paulette are still farming, although Paulette's brother, Gary Stoltz, did farm nearby until 1998. Dean and Paulette took over farming the land that Gary had, along with their existing farm, which is made up of Dean's parents' place, Paulette's parents' place and Paulette's grandparent's farm.

On the farm, the Baar's four children have grown up and now, with grandchildren coming to visit on a regular basis, Dean and Paulette can't think of a better place to help raise the next generation.

"...Everything kind of stops when they come out here," Dean said.

The Baar's four grandchildren, Ava and Malayna Schneider and Kenna and Novea Pierce, come out to visit their grandparents on a regular basis and Paulette said they always seem to have a good time.

"Kids just don't have the opportunity to experience being outside like they used to," Paulette said. "They come out here and they love it."

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Dean and Paulette have four children, one of which still lives at home with them, Brianna, who turns 15 on Sunday and is a freshman at Dickinson High School.

Their oldest daughter, Julie Schneider, and her husband, Mike, live in Dickinson, where Mike works for Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing. Their oldest son, Mike Pierce, and his wife, Lindsey, live in Dickinson. Mike works for Big K Industries and Lindsey works as a registered nurse. Jon Pierce, the youngest son, works at TMI.

Julie, Mike and Jon are children from Paulette's first marriage. Her first husband, Pat Pierce, died in 1991 from cancer.

The next year, Dean and Paulette got married and she and her children moved out to the farm.

Paulette said her children, especially the boys, took to life on the farm naturally. They especially enjoyed learning to drive on the Model H tractor Paulette remembered.

Paulette jumped right into helping Dean out on the farm and to this day still helps with the harvesting and daily chores.

"I love swathing," Paulette said. "He's the bale maker and I knock it down."

The Baars said there is a simplicity to living and working on a farm that is attractive including growing your own food, being your own boss and doing things your way.

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"You can work when you want," Paulette said.

"...Or all the time," Dean added.

A chicken coup in their yard provides fresh eggs when they need them, and they usually have a garden every year to grow vegetables in.

Dean remembered growing up, how a lot of the food his family ate was grown on the farm.

"I guess we always got by, we always had what we needed," Dean said. "For me, I'd rather have a home-cooked meal than eat at a restaurant any day."

Along with raising some of their own food, Dean and Paulette also raise spring wheat, oats, barley, durum, buckwheat, safflower and have a herd of hybrid, Simmental, Gelbvieh and Black Angus.

The diversification of their operation is important according to Dean.

"Oh certainly, there's usually ups and downs in both of them," Dean said. "You just hope they're down at the same time...Farming was really good last year, I hope we can get a couple more years like that."

Conservation is something the Baars also take seriously and they have been recognized by the Central Stark County Soil Conservation district for their efforts in conservation.

"We always try to make things better," Dean said. "You'd like to leave it as good as you got it or better."

If the Baars could leave one piece of advice to other farmers, it would be to stay optimistic.

"You have to be," Paulette said. "You wouldn't survive out here, you'd go crazy if you weren't optimistic."

Dean and Paulette look forward to continuing to do what they love to do, while creating an avenue for them to have a little fun with their grandchildren and maybe someday - great-grandchildren.

"It's a lifestyle and I don't think I want to give it up, and hopefully someday we can hand it down to our kids," Dean said. "...We like what we do."

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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