From Chatsworth Illinois Memories
Dassows sustain family
farm with stewardship
Duane Dassow and his wife Connie show special concern, as farmers,
for the land they steward. Duane said, “I try to be sustainable—as much
as possible. We use cover crops.” He explained the process. “After you
harvest the crop, you plant another crop over the winter. It replenishes
the nutrients in the soil.” In addition to building four or five wetlands
over the years, the Dassows planted 40 acres of trees and restored an
additional wetland. The Dassows farm in and around Chatsworth.
Duane Dassow of Chatsworth started farming in 1971. Over the past 39 years, Duane and his wife Connie have cared for the land
through their farming and work with wetlands. “I started farming with my dad,” he said. He continued, “I started in high school. I always
looked forward to planting and working with animals.” Duane grew up one mile south of Chatsworth.
He reported that some of the land has been in the family since 1865.
Duane said, “I try to be sustainable—as much as possible. We use cover crops.” He explained the process. “After you harvest the crop,
you plant another crop over the winter. It replenishes the nutrients in the soil.” Of the challenges of farming, Duane states,
“Trying to be profitable is the biggest one. And trying to decide whether the new technology is good for the land or not.”
Much of Dassow’s philosophy toward farming is based on the work of Aldo Leopold, who is considered to be the father of conservation.
Leopold’s book, “A Sand County Almanac,” is one of Duane’s favorites. Duane explained, “Land is anything in, on, or above the land. That’s what
I try to follow in being sustainable.” In addition to building four or five wetlands over the years, the Dassows planted 40 acres of trees
and restored an additional wetland. The Dassow farm has hosted various schoolgroups over the years,including soil judging.
Duane occasionally speaks to the wildlife and outdoor classes at Prairie Central and shares his knowledge with the next
generation of caretakers of the land. The couple has a daughter, Michelle, who lives in Mansfield.
Their son, Joseph, livesin Bloomington.
Their youngest son John recently graduated with a master’s degree in zoology from Southern Illinois University.
Since graduating about a month ago, John is helping his parents with the various farming duties. “I always enjoyed hunting,
fishing and being outdoors,” Duane said. He continued, “I’m a bird hunter. I’ve always been fascinated with birds.”
“He gave our son the bug,” added Connie of their son John’s interest in waterfowl.
The Dassow’s grandchildren enjoy their efforts as well. “They love the farm,” said Connie. “They spend a week at a time with us over
the summer; they like the animals and swimming in the pond.” “The same things our kids did,” she reminisced.
Duane added, “We try to get the grandkids introduced to the land ethic.” In the little spare time they
have, Duane and Connie enjoy going to antique shops and camping.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Dassow Family Farm Story: "