Brothers Adrian, 81 (left), and Burt Swanson, 87, celebrated 100 years as a family farm July 30. The two live between Bashaw and Ponoka. Here they pose in front of a new sign given by Ponoka County. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye

Ponoka County brothers celebrate 100 year farm

It was in 1917 this family farm started between Bashaw and Ponoka

It’s not often one sees a family farm celebrate 100 years of operations but for one Ponoka County family, that occurred this year.

Brothers Adrian, 81, and Burt Swanson, 87 (soon to be 88), are brothers in Ponoka County who live off of Calumet Road between Bashaw and Ponoka. They celebrated their 100 years as a family farm July 30 with friends and family.

The pair are well known in the community. “Dad (Axel) started in 1917 on the quarter (section) across the road,” explained Adrian of the property just north of their home.

He says about 10 years later their father bought a second quarter section where their home currently sits. Back then they had some cattle along with milk cows and a few pigs.

Axel immigrated to Canada in 1911 from Småland, Sweden before eventually settling in the area.

There were three brothers in the family, all born in the homestead farm. The youngest passed away some years ago.

While interviewing the brothers, family and friends came to chat and congratulate them on the big occasion. It was during these moments that they relaxed and showed their humour and quick wit.

“When you think about it, it took a long time,” joked Adrian to one family friend.

“Twenty years more than I’ve been here,” he added.

For now the brothers are unable to farm the land themselves but they hire custom farming to come out and do the work. They’ve weathered all sorts of seasons over the years.

“We’ve worked at it since we were big enough to crawl into the tractor,” said Adrian of their involvement.

Back then there was a lot of bush in the fields and to clear it all the brothers would burn the bush. At some point a large tractor helped clear the rest of the bush.

In 1980 their father passed on the farm to the brothers. Axel eventually passed away at 94 years old in 1985, said Adrian.

Both brothers, and the family, are well known for their community involvement in the area. Burt is a carpenter by trade and Adrian has a knack with tools and machining.

They were integral to building farm houses in the area as well as the Calumet Curling Rink.

Ponoka County Coun. Bryce Liddle said he heard about the centenary of the farm. A new process at the county is to build a special metal sign celebrating the accomplishment, which was delivered recently.

Family and friends took some time to get their photos taken at the sign.

“These are the guys that built what we have now,” explained Liddle of the farm and the significance of the 100 years.

 

In recent years Ponoka County has taken to celebrating 100 year farms by commissioning these special signs.

Brothers Adrian, 81, and Burt Swanson, 87, pose with friends and family July 31 in front of their new sign that celebrates the farm’s centenary. The special sign was made by Ponoka County and delivered to the farm recently. Photo by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye