Henry Kardel emigrated to the United States with his parents in 1853 from Holstein, Germany. He grew up, married, bought a 240-acre farm in Scott County in 1870 and had two sons, one named Johannes.
When Henry died, half the land passed to Johannes, and the other half to Johannes' brother. Johannes farmed, too, and, in time, the farm passed to his son, Gilbert, an only child.
Gilbert and his wife raised three daughters. One of them, Bernice, married Harlan Meier in 1956, and together they continued the farming tradition and eventually bought the farm that Bernice's great-grandfather Kardel had purchased.
Harlan also established a farm-related business selling limestone, fertilizer, farm chemicals and grain bins — especially grain bins. He was a prominent farmer, winning awards for soil conservation practices, helping to found the Scott Count Corn Growers Association, serving on several national boards promoting agriculture and winning the Farm Bureau's Distinguished Service Award. He also served as a director of the German American Heritage Center and he and Bernice received the center's first Legacy of Leadership award in 2013.
Their son, David, continued farming the original Kardel farm, as well as other ground, and he might still be farming today except that in 1987, he married Delia Moon. His new bride was the daughter of Bill and Carolyn Moon, who founded the Iowa 80 Truckstop in rural Walcott.
As the truckstop business grew (and grew), David joined his wife, who now is the Iowa 80 Group's senior vice president.
The farm ground that first came into the Kardel family 147 years ago now is rented out.
But within the past year, David and Bernice decided it was long past time that they apply for Century Farm status, as they've been qualified since the program began in 1976. In three years, 2020, they will qualify as a Heritage Farm.