Jill Hanson speaks fondly of her Hoosier Homestead farm that sits near the Putnam and Hendricks county line. She says her “mind is filled with a lot of good memories from growing up near the family farm.” Jill’s great-great-grandfather originally bought the farm in 1856. Her mother, Wynona Strietelmeier, passed away nearly 20 years ago, but received the centennial award for the farm before her passing. “I think it is such a neat award. I remember my mother getting the 100-year homestead award and when I heard that there was a 150- and 200-year award, I knew that I wanted to apply for the 150-year award. I’m 67, so hopefully my daughter will get the 200-year award.”
According to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, the Hoosier Homestead program began in 1976 to recognize the contributions these family farms have made to the economic, cultural, and social advancements of the state. In the past 30 years, more than 5,000 farms have been recognized for operating under long-time continuous ownership by the same family.
The homestead used to be the setting of a house and barn, as well as a 20-acre wood and farm ground. While the house and barn are now gone, the others remain. “The ground is farmed out. My mother rented it out to a friend that she grew up with and now his son farms it. We enjoy mushroom hunting in the woods.”
Jill has two brothers, Jim and Dean Strietelmeier, who did the majority of the planting on the farm growing up. “I remember hay rides on the farm, feeding the goats and the hogs, fishing in the creek and river, and playing in the woods. My brother Jim was swinging across the river on a grapevine one time and the vine broke and he fell and broke his arm. We would also drive the tractors, or just steered the tractor if we weren’t old enough to drive. Back then, we did so much together. We used to go to the farm every day, and it was such a good time. We went to the farm to work, but we also had fun.”