The Multiple Generations Of Our Family Farm
In 1905, George Martinka traveled from Minnesota and claimed his homestead. In 1907, he brought his wife, 2 railroad boxcars filled with machinery, cattle, basic household items, and the main part of a log home he had built prior to the big move. They were off to build their life in Saskatchewan.
Lawrence was the 6th of 8 children born to George and Barbara Martinka. He married his wife, Clara, in 1947 and continued to live on the homestead that was originated by his father. Milking cows had always been a part of the farm. But it was in 1967 that Lawrence started to ship milk with his herd of 12 cows.
Rudy, Marvin, and Laverne were 3 of 12 children born to Lawrence and Clara and would be the next generation of farmers to build up the family business. In 1980 Rudy and Marvin acquired milk quota, doubled the cow herd from 20 up to 40, built a dairy barn at a second farm site and Martinka Dairy was born. They farmed approximately 1000 acres of rented land at this time. It was the late 80's that brother Laverne joined the family business. This allowed them to expand to 65 milking cows and build their grain farm to 2000 acres.
In 2004 they were faced with the decision to either upgrade all barns and equipment or exit the dairy business. With a lot of research and a leap of faith, they sold the dairy quota and instead purchased broiler chick quota. The change began with removing almost all of the dairy cow handling facilities and the old hiproof barn. In its place now stand two large broiler barns that hold 50,000 chicks each. The cows went out on July 2005 and the first set of chicks were placed in August 2006.
My husband, Lane, is the oldest of 4 children to Rudy Martinka. After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, he knew that his end goal was to farm. With 2 years work experience in the agriculture industry under his belt they decided to start to make the transition to have Lane and I as shareholder in the company. The necessary training, details, and arrangements had been made in order to officially acquire Rudy's third share of the company as of January 1, 2015. In February 2015 we moved to the farm where the old dairy barn, silo, and chicken barns are placed. Marvin and Helen still reside on the original homestead. Laverne and Colleen have a third farm site a stone's throw away. The business still handles approximately 2000 acres of grain land.
Will there be a 5th generation?
Only time will tell if Martinka farms are managed by a 5th generation. Our children love the farm. Until they reach an age where they can make a responsible decision, it is our duty to ensure that the farm business remains profitable. A huge component of ensuring that the farm remains profitable, means using production practices that ensure we are leaving the land as good or better than the day we started farming it.