Cody Messer

Cody Messer – Des Moines County

Windmill Corners. A landmark south of a small town Yarmouth Iowa. Down the road from Windmill Corners is the Messer family farm, where my family tree was planted, and my roots have grown. My family has been immersed in farming and agriculture for generations.

My great-grandfather Charles Strothman farmed and raised livestock. He pastured one hundred cows on rough land raising calves for the feedlot. He also farmed 600 acres of land. He had one of the first tractors and first combines and was one of the first to grow soybeans. My grandmother, Carol, helped him on the farm because she was the oldest and all the young men had been drafted in the service. She showed polled Herefords in 4-H and raised chickens. Her mother raised chickens and sold the eggs.

The Messer side are long-time farmers too. They rented farms near Rome and moved to Trenton. My great-grandma Messer, had chickens and sold eggs too. They raised calves, and they farmed as well. My grandpa Emmett would wake up in the morning before school, to milk cows. My grandpa signed up for the military during WWII. When he got back, he bought a John Deere tractor and farmed with his brother Karl along the Skunk River. They shelled corn from the corn crib to plant because they didn’t have money for seed corn. Grandma and Grandpa met each other at school and eventually married.

My grandparents moved to the farm neighboring Charles’ land in 1950. The owner died that summer, and the crop needed harvesting and animals required taking care of, so my grandparents moved in. They later bought the farm in 1957 and called it home, where they raised six children. They farmed and raised cattle and eventually added hogs to the farm. My father grew up showing Herefords and pigs he raised in 4-H. My grandpa continued to farm till he had heart surgery in the early 2000s. My uncles continue farming the land today, but due to off the farm jobs, can’t take care of livestock.

My family believed in farmers having a voice in the world. My great-grandpa Charles Strothman worked in the Iowa legislature. He was the chairman of the agriculture committee for twelve years. My grandma has served in Farm Bureau for 50 years. She has served as chairman of the county, district, and state Farm Bureau Women. She also served on the American Farm Bureau Women’s Committee representing the Midwest states for five years. She has been to Washington D.C. at least 15 times to lobby for agriculture, such as better mail service for farmers. She has volunteered as a leader for 4-H and did Ag in the Classroom through Farm Bureau. She and grandpa volunteered at the Iowa State Fair since 1980, working the exhibitors’ campground. She now volunteers in the food building, assisting judges.

I live a mile away from grandma on sixty acres of land. I enjoy showing cattle at the county fair and Iowa State fair. I am involved in 4-H and serve as an officer for FFA. I love Iowa. I couldn’t imagine life elsewhere. Farming and agriculture mean the world to me, because to me, farming is not just a job; it’s a way of life.