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Manthe Family (Our current farm)
Christian and Henrietta Manthe traveled from Germany and arrived in New York on May 23, 1868. They settled in rural Kewanee, Illinois purchasing their first farm in 1869 and raising all 10 children there. William and his wife Rose, were the next generation to take over the family farm. In 1961 son Willard and wife Lucille took ownership of the Kewanee farm. They farmed until Willard went to work for Country Companies insurance as an insurance agent. Because of his farm background, gregarious personality, and outstanding customer service he was a top producer for the company several years. Their daughter Connie, along with her husband Bob, and son Monte are currently farming the family's farm and all are active participants in its operation. Monte is the 5th generation.
Bottens' Family - Decendents from Holland
Farming has been the Bottens' tradition since the early 1900's. Bob's grandparents, John and Grace, raised watermelons and cantaloupe on their farm, peddling them to the local communities while still raising livestock and crops. His parents, Wilbur & Fern, farmed sand ground near Beardstown, Illinois cropping, raising livestock, and dairying until their retirement. Married during the depression of the 30's their gross income their first year was only $300.
Bob met Connie on a blind date in 1970, got married shortly thereafter then moved close to her parent's farm in Kewanee, IL in 1973. They have been fortunate enough to procure land next to the original Manthe farm making a nice contiguos unit.
Blacklight Dairy Farm
Wilbur and Fern were quite proud of their New 1964 Truck to haul Grade "A" milk to town for processing.
Wilbur and Fern Bottens
Wilbur and Fern's 50th wedding anniversary photo
Monte & Robyn's Family
Monte (Named after the Manthe family) started his farming career at the age of 5 with two sows his grandmother, Lucille, gave to him. While still in high school he was awarded the FFA Star Farmer Award. At the age of 16 rather than buying a car he chose to purchase his first 17 acre farm. During his college years at Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois he spent weekends and free time working at a Case IH dealership and built a successful ICI Seeds dealership of his own. After graduation he moved to Aledo, Illinois and was the store manager of the local Case IH dealership. It was there that he met his wife, Robyn, who grew up on a local 560 acre grain and pasture farm raising cattle and hogs.
In 2005 Monte and Robyn moved to California and started California Ag Solutions, Inc. helping farmers adopt minimum tillage practices and making recommendations for plant nutrition. They moved back to Illinois in 2013 and currently live a few miles from the family farm.
Taking pride in individualsim and teamwork, Bob and Monte each have individual operations but share in equipment usage and labor. Bottens Family Farm believes in building a team using individual strengths.
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