When it comes to knowing about the “family farm”, Norris Works of near Allensville knows what it’s like to be a part of a “family farm”.
He and his wife, Carolyn, still live on the same farm that Norris was raised on. The same farm that Norris discovered his love of farming on; and the same farm that the couple raised their children on.
Now, nearly 81 years later, Norris and Carolyn Works will be honored for those decades of service tomorrow (Friday) night when they receive the “Silver Star” award from the Switzerland County Soil and Water Conservation District. The award is given each year to honor someone for a lifetime of commitment to agriculture.
“The farm we live on has been in the family for more than 150 years,” Carolyn Works said. “We bought the farm from Norris’ dad and mom when we got married.”
Cecil and Dorothy Works farmed the land before their son. Dorothy taught at the Allensville School for more than 35 years while Cecil handled the farming. It was there that Norris found his love for farming.
Carolyn Works grew up in Rising Sun, and worked in the dime store in Rising Sun for five years. Her parents, Hobert and Henrietta Bosworth, were also farmers.
The couple met when Carolyn was a student at Rising Sun High School and she and her girlfriends were checking coats at a basketball game to help raise money for the senior class trip.
“We were checking in coats and just fooling around and flirting with boys, you know, how you do in high school,” Carolyn Works laughed. “We just kind of attached to each other, and we’ve been together ever since.”
Norris and Carolyn Works have resided on that farm for all of their nearly 57 years of marriage, raising eight children: sons Barry, Danny, Robbie, and Lynn; and daughters Chrissy, Lisa, Cindy, and Dawn.
“We raised eight children and they all live fairly close to here. We have a really good, strong family,” Norris Works said.
The farm contains between 400-500 acres, and the family also leases other land, as well.
The Works’s raise corn, soybeans, and hay; and also lease their tobacco to son, Robbie. Eldest son, Barry, now handles the shop and does all the repair work that comes in for the repair business and helps handle most of the day-to-day farming on the family farm; while son Danny operates his own farm near Center Square. If a piece of equipment needs to be delivered somewhere in the Tri-State area, son Lynn handles the delivery in addition to his own business; and when he has time, son Robbie also helps out when needed on the farm generally as well as taking control of all of the tobacco operations.
Norris and Carolyn Works also have a business where they sell farm equipment, having begun that operation in 1960.
“We have specialized parts that no one else has,” Norris Works said. “We sell parts across 47 different states, so we’re always shipping things out. It keeps us pretty busy.”
Along with the row crops, the couple has 80 brood cows and some heifers. They also had a dairy operation for a time, as well as a big strawberry operation.
“We raised strawberries for about five years, and then the weather kind of went against us,” Carolyn Works said. “Then they got a disease in them one year, and we were getting older then, and it was kind of hard to get migrant workers, so we let that pass by. We did enjoy it very much, though, because we met a lot of nice people.”
So how has farming changed over the 80 years that Norris Works has been involved in it?
“It is a lot different,” Norris Works said. “The work was a lot harder back then. People complain about the hard work now, it’s nothing compared to when we were growing up and when we were first married. It was then kind of like the Amish are now.”
“We shocked corn and we shucked corn off and threw it in the wagon,” Carolyn Works said. “We milked for 45 years. At one time we had 111 head. Most of the time we had 60 or 70, and we also milked for two other guys on a lease plan. But then the kids were getting older and leaving home, so then we cut back. The kids always had chores to do. Everybody had to work.”
So, through generations spanning more than 150 years, it truly has been a “family farm” on Works Road.
Although Norris no longer in involved in the day-to-day farming operation, he still handles the business aspects of both the farm and the equipment business, including the paperwork and the management aspects of the entire operation.
Overall, Norris and Carolyn Works have had a wonderful life together on the family farm. A lifetime of commitment to agriculture has resulted in a close family and a love of the land. Now in retirement, the couple still works to pass that same love down to the generations that follow.
“It’s been a pretty good life,” Norris Works said.