Identity

Family farms and bustling main streets are icons of a rural identity that still resonate at the core of American identity.

DeKalb County

2017 Agricultural Data in DeKalb County from the DeKalb County Farm Bureau:

  • There are 2,300 farms in DeKalb County, with 370,772 acres of farmland used for growing crops. DeKalb County farmland comprises 88% of the land base in the county.
  • By today’s standards, it takes about 1,000 acres to sustain a family with farming as their primary source of income. The average farm operation size in DeKalb County is 1,309 acres.
  • DeKalb County farms generate about $359 million in sales of agricultural products annually.
  • Farmland values have increased steadily over the past several years. Most recently, the average value of farmland is $10,900 per acre in DeKalb County.

What is Rural?

We Asked. You Answered.

The public was asked to share images to answer this question. While many people shared photographs of sunrises and sunsets showing the vast landscape, others captured the hard work of what living on a farm really means or focused on the downtown that symbolizes life in a small town.

Thank you to our photographers:

  • Micky Beckman
  • Gary Bellert
  • Angela Boesche
  • Aubri Bourge
  • Richard Cooler
  • Gerald Davis
  • Noel (Brye) Davis
  • Laurie Erwin
  • Ken Evans
  • Shelley Gardener
  • Nicole Jonutz
  • James Lowe
  • Greg Martin
  • Bob Myers
  • Karen Sharp
  • Sidni Stoffregen
  • Tim O’Shaughnessy
"[Farming] is like any other part of life, if you don't change, you don't survive."
- Bill Lenschow
"In the early summer, there are about 7– 10 days when the rows of corn [planted 30 inches apart] first branch out, and you can’t see the rows any longer. The field is a sea of green. Later, the leaves relax, and you can see the separate rows again."
- John Dietrich
"During the summer, ladies brought pies, cakes, and fruit to the fields for the workers. The kitchen gardens included corn, peas, carrots, and pumpkins. We would have bonfires in the backyard with family—ate s’mores and talked with each other."
- John Ward
"Usually, at least one Sunday afternoon each summer, we had a [4-H] ‘club tour’ with members and families going to each farm to see the projects—a convoy of cars moving along mostly dusty gravel roads and around farmsteads with the intention of encouraging and advising all the boys in their overall progress."
- Rupert Jordan
"We would travel to town on Saturday night. Mom went grocery shopping, Dad and the kids went to the movie, no TV, we would watch the newsreels. My favorite movies were with John Wayne."
- Gerry Sanderson
"On the farm, most families would move in March. March 1 is the big moving day, moving to another farm."
- Tom Fenstermaker