Fortunately for me, he had lousy aim.
I first met Wayne and Connie Galbraith at the 2013 Webster County Fair, where Wayne was announcer at the truck pulls, while Connie helped keep the entry books in order.
Several times in the course of the pulls, whenever I chose to take photos of the event from a spot in front of the press box, Wayne joked with fellow announcer Greg Branstetter that he was going to see if he could flip his cigarette butts “down the back of the Marshfield Mail photographer’s shirt.”
Of course, he never came close — I assume that was on purpose.
I was only one of the many targets of Wayne’s good-natured barbs in the course of the night, as he kept the crowd laughing between pulls. That’s part what you get from someone who’s been around the area forever and knows everyone in town. This past June marked Wayne’s 50th year in the farm implement business at Marshfield Machinery.
But last month, Wayne and Connie received a special recognition that had nothing to do with the farm implement business or knowing everyone in town — though being around the area forever did play a part.
The Galbraiths were recognized at an MU Ag Extension gathering as owners of a Missouri Century Farm, for having a farm place under constant family ownership for at least 100 years.
“My dad’s uncle bought the farm in 1894,” said Wayne. “My dad and mom bought it from him in 1930.
“My dad milked cows on (the farm), mostly by hand, back in the ‘30s, and raised feed for the cattle there, (as well as) four of us kids. It’s just been a family farm.”
“It was the only place they ever lived,” said Connie of the 40 acres located just more than three miles out Pleasant Prairie Road, northwest of Marshfield, “and they built the house.”
“We’ve just got the 40 acres of it,” added Wayne. “And then we’ve got a farm out east of town with more land out there.”
The farm, as well as this whole area, didn’t escape the ravages of the Dust Bowl, which is commonly thought of as a Great Plains phenomenon.
“It was a little before my time,” said Wayne. “But my dad used to talk about it — back in the ‘30s, how dry it was.
“The ‘50s were really bad, too,” Wayne recollected. “It was so bad, we went out to California for a while, and my dad worked in a dairy out there. I went to high school in California for one year. It was just so dry, they couldn’t make it go.”
But when the rain finally returned and the Galbraith family came back to Missouri to restart their farm, a new generation -- Wayne and Connie -- started up in a new business: beef breeding. Wayne and Connie raise Limousin cattle, for which they were named The Missouri Limousin Breeder’s Association’s Commercial Cattle Producer of the Year in 2010.
“We started out with 12 head of cattle,” said Connie. “That’s what we were going to keep on this 40 acres. Now we’re up to nearly 150 momma cows.”
That growth and prosperity raised the need for the second farm east of Marshfield.
“We kind of outgrew the 40,” said Wayne. “But we still love it.”