Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Life on the family farm under an open heaven: Changing with the times

Tom Heck for Progressive Dairy Published on 19 January 2021

My grandfather, George A. Elbert, was born in 1888 on a small farm in Wisconsin. Growing up and then even as an adult, he farmed most of his life using horses.

He was a very gentle and loving man and took excellent care of all his animals. He had a fair number of horses he used to do all the field work. He farmed that way for many years and enjoyed it.



And then World War II came, and farmers were asked to produce all the food they could to help win the war. George, along with his family, did all they could to help the war effort. He realized during those years, though, that if he had one or two tractors it would make farming so much easier and he could produce a lot more milk and meat. But with the war on, and everything going to the war effort, there weren’t any tractors to buy.

Thank the Lord, the war finally came to an end, and many factories were converted over to producing agricultural equipment. The equipment rolled out of the factories at an astounding rate, and that included tractors.

When the local implement shop got in a number of Farmall H’s on the railroad, it didn’t take George long to get into town and buy one. He was in his late 50s by now, but his age wasn’t going to stop him from investing in this new thing. He was willing to change with the times.

It wasn’t long after this the horses started going down the road. With a number of empty horse stalls in the barn now, the next natural thing to do was to put dairy cows in them and produce more food.

Things continued to go well and, a couple years later, he was able to buy 80 acres of land next to his farm that he desperately needed for crops for his livestock. And then Grandpa really stepped up big; he went back to the implement dealership and bought a big, brand-new Farmall M tractor.


After that, all the remaining horses went down the road. The barn, in time, filled up with cows and calves, and farming became so much more productive and profitable. Grandpa didn’t miss having to take care of the horses every day. He so liked his two red tractors that he did so much work with.

Grandpa was willing to learn and change with the times. But one thing never changed for him, and that was his love, devotion and obedience to God. Grandpa never questioned or doubted the Bible. God’s word was final, never changing, for God never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Unfortunately, today many people, including politicians, judges and even many preachers, think they can twist and change God’s word to satisfy their own sinful selves. These people will be in for a terrible shock when they stand before God someday at the Great Judgment.

In our world today, there is so much change going on, and we must be willing to change with it when it is right to do so. But we must never go against God and His ways, for that will lead to death and destruction. My grandfather knew this and was blessed in it. We will be, too, if we follow his example.  end mark

Tom Heck, his wife, Joanne, and their two children own and operate a 35-cow dairy farm in Wisconsin. Email Tom Heck at  or order his book at Tom Heck.