Schoeneckers farming the land for 163 years

Pete Schoenecker and his dad, Virgil, tend to this year’s harvest of corn on a beautiful fall afternoon under a sunny, bright blue sky. Pete is the fifth generation running the 84 acre family farm. Impressively, Virgil at age 92, still energetically makes the climb into the combine. As he states though, “It’s a lot easier coming down!” (Mark Slavik photo)

On a sunny, fall afternoon under a clear, blue sky, Virgil Schoenecker and his son, Pete, are busy harvesting corn from the fields on land that’s been in the family for generations. Pete rents the land from his dad now, carrying on the tradition of farming that started decades ago when his great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Schoenecker, emigrated from Waxweiler, Germany in 1850 and homesteaded the original 134 acres northwest of New Prague in 1856. Farming and harvesting has been a mainstay of the community for generations. It takes commitment, dedication and a lot of hard work, which is exemplified with the Schoenecker family. The farm passed on to Hubert and his family and then to Joseph who raised a family of 11 children: Virgil, Rosemary, Robert, LaDonna, Earl, and Joseph Jr. (deceased: Erwin, Ralph, Leander, Delores, and Richard). All of the children were born on the farm except for Richard.

In 1950 Joseph died at the young age of 55, which brought Virgil back to the farm with his new bride of one month, Marie (Hoffman). They ran the farm together until Marie’s passing in 1978. They raised four children, Dan (wife, Barb), Gloria (deceased 2009, husband Dave Wagner), Pete (wife, Karen) and Donny (wife, Colleen) and have twelve grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

Over the years, many improvements were made to the farm from working the fields with horses to machinery and updates to the farmhouse and out buildings, adding new buildings, two silos, grain bins, and an addition to the barn after the transition of milk cans to a bulk tank in 1970. They milked 32 cows up until 1989, plus raised...

To see more on this story pick up the November 7, 2019 print edition of The New Prague Times. 

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