A Mellette County family was recently recognized by the Century Farm Program in honor of their ranch having been in the family for over 100 years. Velma Vollmer, her son Rodney and granddaughter Ashley maintain land that has been in Velma’s family since her uncle Guy homesteaded in the area in the early 1910s.
Guy Geiman came from Kansas over 100 years ago, homesteading on a quarter of land in northwestern Mellette County. His sister Etta Geiman (Leek) later bought that quarter, adding it to the quarter of land she had homesteaded on, an adjoining piece to the west. Etta married Leslie Leek and together they expanded the ranch, acquiring more land.
The land later passed to their daughter Velma (Leek) Vollmer. Her son Rodney Vollmer and his daughter Ashley are now maintaining operations on the ranch.
Families who’ve owned the same piece of at least 80 acres of land for 100 consecutive years are eligible for recognition by the Century Farm program. There were 45 farms and ranches recognized at this year’s event. Velma, Rodney and Ashley attended the Century Farm Recognition in Huron, August 30 at the State Fair.
Since the programs inception in 1984, 2,670 Century Farms have been recognized at the South Dakota State Fair. Almost 200 families have been recognized in the Quasquicentennial Farm program (125 years). That program began in 2010.