Palmquist Farm receives Century Farm award
On August 11th during a banquet at the Wisconsin State Fair, Jim and Helen Palmquist will be honored with the Century Farm award. This award is given to farms that can provide proof of continuous family ownership for the past 100 years.
What started as a 40-acre subsistence farm by Jacob Gustafson, Jim’s great grandfather, has grown into a sprawling 800-plus acre vacation farm with a beef herd, a buffalo herd and acres of land devoted to sustained timber production.
Anton Palmquist, Jim’s grandfather, lived by the philosophy, “Times change, and businesses must change with the times." Anton, who emigrated from Finland when he was 16 years old, had been a logging contractor and operated logging camps at various locations in Northern Wisconsin. At that time, the farm served as a headquarters for the Palmquist’s logging operations. They stabled the horses there and grew hay for them in the nearby fields. During seasonal slow times, lumberjacks stayed at the farm and worked on clearing land and constructing buildings.
With the advent of forest mechanization, timber harvesting changed and “camp logging” became obsolete. Dairy farming became the most important activity at Palmquist Farm. Their operation was similar to the usual Wisconsin dairy farm at that time, with a herd of around 40 milking cows. Around that same time, the Palmquists began a timber stand improvement program, harvesting trees in accordance with the silvicultural practices established by DNR foresters. In 1976, Palmquist Farm was selected as Wisconsin’s outstanding tree farm for the year due to efforts in managing the farm’s forests.
A farm vacation program was initiated in the late 1940’s and over the years became more and more important. The dairy herd was sold in 1989 and was replaced by a beef herd and a small buffalo herd.
Today, tourism is the most important activity at Palmquist Farm. The farm is set up to provide meals and lodging for as many as 60 guests at one time. Thousands of people from all over the US and the world have visited the farm. Many return year after year. Activities include cross-country skiing, hunting, sleigh rides, horseback riding (bring your own horse) and simply relaxing on the farm. It is often used as a site for small conferences, business meetings, weddings and family or class reunions.
Palmquist Farm has been featured in articles in the Readers Digest, the New York Times and many local and regional newspapers and magazines. It has been the subject of a number of television programs, including a grouse hunt with retired football player Larry Csonka, which had an estimated audience of 40 million viewers.