By Jean Doran Matua, Editor
We’ve received questions for many weeks now about a “purple” field just south of Cold Spring. Well, we’ve located the field – and its owner – and we have some answers. Not all the answers, but some.
Larry Lahr and his wife Jennifer Wagner-Lahr live on the farm where this field is growing. Larry and his brother Randy farm it, and Larry and Jennifer live on the farm. Larry and Jennifer have about 500 acres planted in crops, and they also raise custom heifers.
This year, about 6.5 acres of their farm is planted in a crop that, from a distance, looks purple against the mostly green fields surrounding it. There has been much speculation about what type of crop it is: from tobacco or a new variety of soybean to something exotic-sounding like amaranth. The Lahrs are not allowed to say what it is, or even what it is intended for (human or animal consumption, or something technological).
The Lahrs are working with a company to research this particular crop. And it’s not just one type; there are more than one species planted there, with one variety being most prolific. That’s all they can say for now. Perhaps later this year he can reveal more; perhaps not until next year.
“It’s been a fascinating journey for us,” Larry Lahr told us last week. He did confirm that his is the only field this company is doing this year with this crop. If successful, Lahr hopes to have more than 6.5 acres of this mystery crop next year, and he hopes for many years to come. “It’s been a great experience.”
Lahr added that farmers always love a challenge, and a learning experience. And these days, many are looking for more diversity in what they grow.
Larry is the third generation on the Lahr farm, started by his grandparents. Jennifer works at AURI (Agricultural Utilization Research Institute) which may or may not be linked to their research field. Like so many other questions here, we’ll learn more later.
The field is located along 200th Street to the west of Co. Rd. 2 just south of Cold Spring. It is, of course, private property, but the field is along the road and is clearly visible from the street.