Don and Darlene Miller, their three sons and families have been farming in the southeast corner of Mountain View County for 102 years.
It all started when Don’s Grandparents Joseph and Marianna Miller came from Odessa, Russia just before 1900. With a couple of stops along the way, in 1918 they purchased their home section west of Acme. About 10 years later their son Casper, along with his wife Dorothy Buschlen who came from the Midway area, took over the family farm. Their only child was Don. Don will turn 84 in August, meaning that he has been on this farm for 84 years.
In 1963, Don married Darlene. The couple raised their three boys; Doug, Mike, and Glenn on the farm. All three boys are married and there are nine grandchildren to complete the fifth generation of the Miller family.
Today the farm has grown from its original 640 acres, now spanning 9,500 acres over four counties. Doug and Mike run the day-to-day operation with help from their wives Leanne and Melissa respectively, who do the books, keep the yards looking good and feed the crews in the busy seasons. They have a small staff as well as seasonal help during the spring & fall. Glenn and his wife Lynnae are a bit more removed from the farm but help out when needed. The grandkids have been very active in helping while they have been growing up; operating equipment, checking cattle, and working around the yards.
From 1982 to 2008, the Millers had a hog finisher operation, finishing about 2,600 hogs per year. These days, the 2020 BMO Farm Family for Mountain View County plants 5,600 acres of wheat, barley, canola, some peas and has a 280 head cow/calf operation on 3,900 acres of grass.
They are very strong believers in direct seeding and use an agronomist to help them keep current with the day to day decisions that must be made with growing a crop. They also have put a lot of time into rotational grazing of their cattle to keep their pastures at the peak of its sustainability.
Don & Darlene are slowing down now as they have put their lives into operating the farm for well over 50 years. Don still helps feed cattle during calving and also operates equipment during silage and harvest season, putting in the same hours as much of the younger generation. He spends many hours on the road doing parts runs, attending farm auctions and cattle sales.
Don has been with the Acme Elks for 61 years, and part of the old Acme Memorial Hall Board for 30 years. Don was a charter member of the Rockyview Gas Co-op and helped with its formation in 1973, and was a continuous director on the board for 35 years until he left the board in 2008. He was the longest continuous serving board member ever to be on that board. Don received an Honorary Lifetime Membership from the Alberta Federation of Gas Co-ops on Dec 2, 2004 for his contribution to the Alberta rural gas co-op program.
Darlene has been a member of the Acme Royal Purple for 55 years, part of the Davis Community Sewing Circle for 40 years, leader of the Acme Community Band for seven years and part of the Davis Community Centre.
Mike and Glenn were members of the East Carstairs 4-H Beef Club and four of the grandchildren were also involved with the Swalwell 4-H Beef Club.
The family’s community spirit can be seen today in Mike’s involvement with the Acme Curling Club, Leanne & Melissa doing books for local non-profit groups, Melissa is a member of the Acme Royal Purple, and Doug a 30 year member of the Acme Elks. Doug has also chaired the newly formed board of the Acme Community Centre after the old community hall burned down in 2004. Doug led a campaign that built a new facility in less than two years, receiving the Growing Alberta Leadership Award for Community Spirit in 2006 for his efforts.
Doug has also been part of the Alberta Barley Commission for over 20 years serving both as a delegate and a director.
As the family grows each member is finding their own niche in life, however farming runs deep in all of them. They would like to see the farm continue to grow and carry on as they teach the next generation to live off the land and give back to the community where they live.
The Miller Family previously received the Centennial Farm Award in the summer of 2018 for being on the same farm for 100 years.