"I rented it and started first of March in 1955. That's when I rented the farm. Officially signed the papers. And the house was just an old farmhouse with a space heater. No running water, nothing. We went up and looked at it, it didn't have no kitchen cupboards or nothing. It was just an old bare house. And so my Dad and my wife's dad were both, well, had done carpenter work and things like that. And so I asked [W. C.] Baer [the landlord] if we could put water in the house, running water. He said, 'Well, go ahead.' He says, 'I don't care.' He said, 'It's going to be at your expense, though.'
     "So, we established and put running water in. I dug a trench from the well to the house. And we had – My wife's dad had an old bathtub and an old stool that they had taken out of their house when they remodeled. Well, we got that. And then we had to buy a kitchen sink. And then Dad and her dad built the cupboards. I was helping some, too. And so after – well, it was pretty close to summer before we had the bathroom and running and everything water put in…
     "We started. I was working, you know, and trying to do chores. We had a few milk cows and some hogs and things. And in doing chores in the morning in the dark and coming home and doing chores at night in the dark. We were milking five or six cows and had enough cream and we had some chickens and we had a few hogs. We was living. You know, that was about all we was doing. And so, we decided that instead of working in town we'd buy some more milk cows because when we got married my wife's dad give her a milk cow because he was milking cows. And Dad gave us a milk cow. And then we bought one from Charlie Carpenter. Used to live on the Wessels' farm out there, on College Farm. And we bought one from them and we bought some from Rolfsmeier's, Rolfsmeier Dairy in Seward. And we built it up, we was milking 18 cows, and we had 25 to 30 sows. And we was making more off the farm but I was at home all the time. Well, not all the time because I was – I took on a job driving school bus for – I don't know how many years but I drove school bus."
     Question: "Milking is labor intensive and you have to do it holidays and – "
     "I wouldn't advise anybody doing it unless they liked it. And I really enjoyed it. I mean, we started out I had about a 19,000 pound at running herd average. And when I sold I had it over 29,000."
     Question: "Now what does that mean, I'm sorry?
     "Production-wise. You know, your butterfat and your – how many gallons of milk per cow and that things like that. Or pounds of milk per cow."
     Question: "Nineteen thousand pounds [actually 29,000 pounds] of milk per cow?"
     "Yeah, per year."
     Question: "How the heck does that amount of milk come out of a cow?"
     "Well, you put the feed in her mouth. And the breeding she has. That's what I watched. I watched the cows, you know, and the sires."

Virgil Obermier – Farming After the War


Other Excerpts from Virgil Obermier’s Interview:

The Korean War
Fertilizer Use
Drought & Irrigation
Center Pivots