WAPELLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Very few farms have a 180-year history.
For the last 50 year, Vic Riddle has been farming land west of Wapella that traces back to the 1830s.
“My mother’s side of the family owns the farm now that I am operating,” said Vic Riddle. “And I have a great, great grandfather named Peter Crum, who was originally living in Indiana, saw opportunity in Illinois, brought the first 40 acres in 1836. We are fortunate enough to still have paperwork and the deed for that day. There is actually a signature that says President Martin Van Buren, but he didn’t really sign it, he had a representative in the Danville Land office that would have signed that signature to make it official.”
Riddle said his dad thought he was ready to farm at an early age.
“He just kind of turned me loose an d let me learn on my own,” said Riddle. “I know I made a lot of mistakes; he probably wondered what I was doing sometimes. I probably cost him some money. But as it turned out, when I started farming in 1970, unfortunately he got sick and died four years later, so I was on my own.”
And he said retirement is at hand.
“Right now I’d like to think the younger generation in the family would be willing to take over. Braden has helped me on the farm through high school, He just recently graduated from college. And he’s done everything on the farm there is to do. About every operation. He’s not afraid to offer suggestions,” said Riddle.
“Not only has it been Vic from my mom’s side, but my Dad’s side farmed also. And I’ve seen over the years those farms get sold. And I just think I have a calling to be a farmer. And That’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve absorbed pretty much I know about farming from Vic, he’s been pretty generous to teach me everything I’d possibly need to know,” Newman said. And he may be more ready to farm than Vic was.