In the 1980s in the Midwest conditions in agriculture were bleak. Jude, then a boy, was growing up with one eye on the bleak times and the other on the better days of his family’s past related to him through countless stories by his father, grandmother, and grandfather.

Family and artisan agriculture were being overtaken by more “modern” industrial farming models. The Becker family never succumbed to this new philosophy and kept their traditional ways, heritage breeds of pigs, and a true zeal for stewardship of the land. Having emigrated from Oldenburg in Germany to Ohio, Christopher Becker, from whom Jude is descended, came to Iowa and established the Becker family farm in 1850.

At a cost of $2.50 per acre, he received an abandoned land grant to two soldiers of the War of 1812. Christopher’s search for better prospects had led to his creation of a homestead on the fertile soil of western Dubuque County. Here, he began the raising of various crops and kinds of livestock, including pigs, that continues to today.

Barn Raising at Becker Farm
Jude’s Great Grandfather in the 1920s