Michigan grandfather, 6 grandsons work on family’s Ida farm
By TOM HAWLEY
AP Member Exchange
MONROE — It was a slow start for the Drodt Farms this spring because of the excessive rainfall.
Gary Drodt, 76, of Ida was sitting outside in his garage at his centennial farm in Ida with his grandson, Robbie Turner, 16, waiting for his other grandsons to arrive.
It was 91 degrees in late June and the weather finally allowed the hay time to dry out. Two fields were cut and ready to bale, the Monroe News reported.
Gary and Barb Drodt have been married 54 years and live on one of the two Drodt centennial farms, where the family has been farming for 115 years.
The couple had three girls, Connie, Carrie and Carmen. The girls gave birth to six boys and one girl. Mark and Connie Diesing have two sons, Dane, 21, and Garrett, 17. Steve and Carrie Sampson have three sons, Noah, 21, Clay, 19, and Owen, 15. Bob and Carmen Turner have a daughter, Ali, 19, and a son, Robbie, 15.
The families all live within minutes of the Drodts. The Turners live right next door, the Sampsons live on the other centennial farm on Geiger Rd. in Raisinville Township, and the Diesings are about 200 yards away — next door in farm distance.
It was time for the boys to arrive at the two fields to get started.
“All the boys are right there to pitch in when needed,” said Gary, smiling as he talks about his grandsons. “There were times I wish they were around sooner in life.”
“I love that our boys have the opportunity to work alongside their gramp,” Carrie added.
It was a slow start for the Drodt Farms this spring because of the excessive rainfall.
“We lost around 350 square bales of hay due to the wet weather,” said Gary.
The 400 bales they were able to finish a couple of weeks ago were sold right away as they’re was a shortage for horse folks.
So on that hot Friday, Gary; his grandsons; Glen Hoppert, a 28-year employee; Owen’s friend, Kyle Ott, 17, and his father, Todd Ott, tackled the two fields of alfalfa mix with grass hay to produce the bales.
At the end of the day, there were 1,200 square bales and 90 round bales that were stacked and eventually put away.
“This is a good feeling,” said Gary. “I know that the oldest two boys, Dane and Noah, are going to carry on the tradition of farming in the family.”
“I love having him as my mentor,” said Dane. “He has taught me everything about farming. I would not trade any day working with him for nothing and I hope to work along side of him for a long time.”
“He has been a great inspiration and I look up to him. He has put a great work ethic into all his grandchildren. If I didn’t have the farm to work on, I would probably be lazy,” Dane added.