Dick Couser `47 helps his son, Bill, get an early start at the field work in this about 1959 rendition of a typical farmer father-son get together. Bill took the lessons to heart as he is a life long farmer who now lives just across the road from Milford Twp in Richland Twp. However, he's quick to point out that his mail box sets on the west side of the road, so that's in Milford Township.
Dick Couser was born and raised on the Day farm in the center of Sec 36, the "Otto" farm. That farm was sold in `46 and he then lived with Mac Allen so he could finish High School at Milford in 1947. Dick lived on the north side of Sec 24 (the Rierson farm) from 1967 until retirement in 1992.
Bill Couser `73N, born in 1954, is a fourth generation Milford farmer. He joined the Milford Hustlers 4-H Club in 1967 when Bob Williams asked him to do so. Bill has been quoted as saying, "We were the greatest club in the world". He won champion pen of three steers and 30 years later his son, Tim, won the same class.
Bill `73N graduated from DMAAC in 1975 with a degree in Diesel Mechanics and started farming the Menzel farm (NW 24) in `77, the worst drought in Milford Twp history. Following that in `78 the bugs moved in and in `79, the hail got him. However, in `78, after a chance meeting with Elmer Paul, he started in the cattle industry. When Elmer started farming in 1933 he had 43 head of feeding steers. Today the operation is "permitted" to 2500 and Bill is working with ISU and the DNR, together with the EPA to develop more environmentally friendly livestock options.
One of Bill's hobbies is assisting with the 40 Horse Hitch put together by Dick Sparrow up by Zearing. Bill has served since he was 13 years of age and traveled all over the USA as a lead outrider for the team for over thirty years. The horses and 5 ton wagon stretch out for 135 feet along the street and part of Bill's job is to make the way clear and assist in turns. It takes 5 semis to transport the horses
Bill says that one of the greatest projects he has been involved with was when a local group of us got together and formed Lincolnway Energy in 2004. This is a 50 million gallon ethanol plant just to the west of the Heart of Iowa facility west of Nevada and Bill served as Chairman in 2004. He also says one of awards he has won of which he is most proud is "The Good Neighbor Award" in 2008 from Dept of Agriculture and WHO radio. In 2011 the Couser Cattle Co won the National Environmental Stewardship Award over the 7 Regional winners, and also the Iowa Cattleman Award.
This is an incident that sounds way more dangerous today than when it happened in the winter months of 1949-'50 but perhaps it's an indication of a different time.
One evening when there was a High School basketball game being played at the Milford facility, Dave Allen `55 and I `55, who were, I believe, in the seventh grade, were just wandering around the School looking for something to do as we weren't too interested in the girl's game that was being played. We went outside the building into chilly weather that was reasonably pleasant for that time of year. While we were “dingin'” around we happened to start visiting with some three or four fellows who apparently had just graduated a year or two earlier from the school we had competition against that night. They said they weren't too interested in the girl's game and just for the purpose of waiting and staying warmer, they thought they'd get into one of the fellow's car that was parked at the northeast corner of the Milford Building. In fact, the car was almost setting on the SE corner of the Supt's lawn. “Why don't you kids come with us and get out of the weather?” “Okay, why not?” we asked each other.
Well, we no more than got into their car when one of the fellows, the driver, pulled out a can opener and a can of beer for every one in the car. His buddies started to drink the beer and it was, by now, obvious that they had been drinking earlier. I was in the back right , Dave next to me in the middle, and one of them in the back left, with three others on the front seat.
“Why don't you have a beer with us?” they politely asked. “O, no thanks,” we said. Their urging continued for perhaps a minute or so and then, all of a sudden, the guy setting in the back seat said, “What--you arrogant little punks think you're too good to drink with us?” And with his can of beer, which must have been about 2/3 full, reached across Dave's head and dumped the remainder of that can of beer on my head. Dave got plenty of it on himself from the splashes and streams of beer flowing off me.
If we hadn't realized before this that we were in a place where we should not have been, we realized it then. We tried to get out of the car but they wouldn't let us. Finally, after a half minute of arguing about the matter, one of them, I think the driver said, “O, let the little ______ - ______s get out and go cry on their mother's shoulder”. And with that, the others saw the wisdom in that command. We got out, walked rather sheepishly back to the south door, and because it was too cold and being wet, there was little to do except go back into the building. And who do you think was one of the first people we encountered? One of the teachers, I can't remember which one. What a commotion this lady made- mixture of anger at us for doing such a stupid thing, juxtaposed with motherly concern over our safety, and our smelling of beer: which she promptly let us know that she did not like. Pretty soon we were taken to the presence of the superintendent, again, I don't recall which one. By now everyone, it seemed, knew portions of our tale and one of the teachers, from somewhere, found a big bath towel and assisted me in wiping off as much of the beer as possible. Needless to say, I don't recall much of the boy's game. We didn't see our “friends” again so I assume they departed.
Anyhow, there wasn't much done that I can recall in the way of discipline by the teachers or the Supt against either Dave or myself-- no paddlin', no lectures, no punishments. My Dad said something to me about how he hoped I'd learned to make better decisions in the future. I don't recall my Mother saying anything,