Note: This feature is in the Dec. TF 2018 issue
When he penned the words, "to thine own self be true," Shakespeare may have had John Dohrman in mind. Joh, of Sweet Springs, Mo., knows who he is and what he is. "I'm a farmer. My dad was a farmer. My sons are farmers. And I hope my grandson will be a farmer, too," he shared.
John loves farming, but he also loves collecting toy tractors, and his passion in life has always been tractor pulling.
John's father, Forest Dohrman, began farming on land John's grandfather owned south of Sweet Springs in the late 1940s. South Fork Creek runs through the Doorman land, so around 1972, Forest Dohrman named his farm "South Fork Farms."
"I started farming full time in 1980 when I was 19 years old," John said.
"Dad, my brother, Dennis, and I farmed together for 12 years."
Today, South Fork Farms has 4,500 acres and grows corn, soybeans, and wheat. The Dohrmans also raise 100 head of beef cattle and 300 farrow hogs.
"I love farming the land my grandfather purchased," John said. "I especially love the fact that South Fork Farms is a family operation. Dad died in 1992, but Dennis and his son, Adam, and I and my son, Keith, all work together each day. There is a strong continuity in our family as each succeeding generation stays on the land. Even my son, Tyler, is in the farming business, working for Ziegler Ag Equipment. I hope one day to see my grandson, Hudson, join me so the tradition fo a Dohrman working our land continues unbroken."
John is equally proud of his daughters-in-law. Keith is married to Ana, a speech pathologist, and Tyler is married to Emily, who will graduate in May as a doctor of veterinarian medicine.
Like most farm boys, as a child John alternated his time between helping his dad farm and playing with farm toys.
"I spent many happy hours farming the sandbox," he said. "One of the first toy tractors I remember owning was an Allis-Chalmers 190 that Junior Scott, owner of the local Allis-Chalmers dealership, Scott Implement in Sweet Springs, gave to Dad when he purchased a real 190 for the farm. I was about 5 years old when Dad bought the 190, and he set the model 190 aside because he did not want me tearing it up. It was five or six years later before he actually gave the toy to me to play with, which maybe be the primary reason I still have this toy tractor in my model collection."