Tractors are more than Machinery at the Toppen Farm
Every tractor has a story. That is why Todd Toppen collects model toy tractors that tell the story of his family’s farm over the years.
Todd enjoys restoring model toy tractors. His goal was to find all the tractors he had when he was growing up, and he is close to achieving this goal. He has the first tractor that he ever drove, the first tractor his dad purchased, and many more to represent family milestones on their farm – all of them with a personal story that Todd shares with pride.
The Toppen family has been farming for more than 100 years in Horace, North Dakota. Todd and his family farm the same ground that his parents purchased in 1958, raising wheat and soybeans.
“There was never any question I wanted to farm when I got older,” said Todd.
LeAnn and Todd met in high school. They went to their high school homecoming dance and have been together ever since. LeAnn also grew up in North Dakota in a family involved in agriculture. Her grandparents were farmers and her dad was a Case tractor dealer and a diesel mechanic. In addition to working on the farm, Leanne works at a local church.
Todd and LeAnn have three children— Kyle, Erin and Leslie. Kyle, who graduated from the University of North Dakota with a degree in accounting, is active in the Toppen day-to-day farming operation. Once the crop is harvested, Kyle spends the winter months working as a farm tax accountant. Kyle says he has three busy seasons throughout the year planting, harvest, and tax season! Kyle, his wife, Mary, and their son, Oliver live in a second house on the Toppen farm.
The Toppens’ daughters, Erin and Leslie, live in the area and often visit the farm to pitch in. “Farming is what brings our family together,” says LeAnn. Erin and her husband, Brandon, have three children — Jackson, Madelyn and Peyton — and farm near Kindred, N.D. Leslie and her husband, Chad, live in West Fargo N.D., have 3 children Lennon, Decker and Cooper.
By talking with the family, you can hear the passion in their voices they have for farming, but it hasn’t always been easy. “Not everyone can be a farmer; it takes a very special person.” says LeAnn.
When they aren’t working on the farm, the Toppens enjoy spending time at the lake with their children and their seven grandchildren. The entire family goes to Pelican Lake almost every weekend during the summer.
Todd and LeAnn really enjoy having their family close to spend time with their grandkids. Todd stated, “There isn’t much you don’t like about being a grandparent!” They also enjoy attending their grandkids’ school and sporting activities.
In North Dakota a wide variety of crops including wheat, barley, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and sunflowers are grown. The Toppens have raised all these crops over the years which makes seed sales a challenging part of their operation.
Todd became a Latham® dealer in 2014. He also grows soybeans for our company. He became familiar with Latham through a local seed company and then decided to become a dealer. Todd says he chose Latham Hi-Tech Seeds because the company is known for producing quality products, respects their employees and provides valuable customer service. He also really enjoys how accessible the staff and owners are too!
Family is very important to the Toppens and keeps them moving forward on their operation. We are lucky to have them as a part of our Latham family! Check out Todd’s Lasagna that he shares with us today! It’s a family favorite.
- 2 pounds hamburger
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 26 - ounce jar traditional pasta sauce
- 26 - ounce can tomato sauce
- 28 - ounce can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 15 lasagna noodles
- 2, eggs beaten
- 32 - ounce Ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups mozzarella cheese
- Brown hamburger with onion and garlic powder.
- Mix pasta sauce, tomato sauce, and tomatoes; add to hamburger mixture.
- Add sugar, 1 T parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt.
- Heat to boiling then simmer for 15 minutes while lasagna noodles cook.
- Set aside 1 cup of sauce. Mix ricotta cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1 T parsley, 1/2 teaspoon salt, eggs, and mozzarella cheese.
- Cook noodles as directed.
- Arrange 3 noodles on the bottom of lasagna pan and layer as follows: 1/4 of cheese mixture and 1/4 of sauce. Repeat three times, so the last three noodles are on top.
- Spread the cup of sauce that was set aside and 1/4 cup of Parmesan over the top of the last noodles.
- Bake at 350 for 1 hour.
COOK’S TIP: This recipe will feed a crowd. It freezes well. You also can save time by using oven-ready noodles.