Note: This feature is in the August TF 2017 issue.
Justin Peterson's replica of his family's farrow-to-finish hog farm has initiated countless conversations. The display captures a moment in the farm's past, where a meticulously placed John Deere tractor might prompt a memory or a gleaming yard light inspires a reflection on the farm's history.
"There are lots of little things that people might not notice, but all these small money-saving items that farmers tend to do, you'll find throughout the display," Justin explains. "People will come in and say, 'I know exactly what Dale was doing here,' and then they'll talk about it. It ends up being more of a conversation piece for a lot of people than I ever anticipated it being."
Justin started the display in 2013 when the fields around Aurelia, Iowa, were buried deep beneath the snow of an unusually brutal winter. With the approaching 50th anniversary of his grandparents, the winter's forced hibernation, he began tinkering with replicating his family farm.
"Just to occupy my time, I started building some of the buildings to scale and the hobby almost became an obsession a little bit," he says. He became determined to replicate the entire farmstead in 1/64 scale.
The family's roots are deep in the Aurelia, Iowa, community, as Justin's late grandfather, Dale, was born on the family farm replicated in Justin's diplay. But Dale's mother died when he was 9 years old, and Dale was adopted by a neighbor family. After his return from the Korean War, he purchased the original farmstead and started a farrow-to-finish hob operation. Most of the farmstead was built in 1964, Justin recalls.
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August TF 2017 DIGITAL ISSUE