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|About||Dakota Sisu Farm is a family-run farm near Frederick, S.D., aiming to grow good food sustainably. Our products include beef, pork, chicken, and eggs.|
Dakota Sisu Farm is run by David Losure and Heidi Marttila-Losure, with assistance from their children, Sofia and Erik—the fifth generation on this place.
We aim to grow good food in sustainable ways. We are always learning about how we can do things in ways that are better for the animals and the land.
The story of our farm starts like that of so many farms that dotted the prairie during its settlement in the late 1800s—many of which are now abandoned, or erased from the landscape altogether to make the path of the combine easier. There was a time when it looked like our farm might share that same fate, eventually. But then, it didn't. And that's probably because of the "sisu" in the story.
Here is that story:
This place was first known as the Marttila Farm.
Matti Marttila purchased a pre-emption claim from Erick Pikkarainen in 1886. His wife, Sofia, and two of their three children eventually joined him on the land.
Son F.F. Marttila and his wife, Helmi Maria (always called Mary), took over around 1900 and raised 11 children to adulthood on the farm. Starting in the 1940s, three of those sons—Arnold, Leo and John—farmed in partnership for many years, and then the farm became known as the Marttila Brothers Farm. After Leo left to work as a mail carrier in the 1960s, Arnold and John continued farming together. Arnold and his wife, Rauha, had moved to Frederick in 1981, with Arnold commuting to his work on the farm, while John and his wife, Annikki, raised their two daughters on the farm. Arnold and John retired from farming in 1999.
At that time, an auction was held, and the land was rented out.
And then, there was a new start—based mostly on a belief in building from deep roots, and on homecoming.
One of John’s daughters, Heidi, moved back to the homeplace in 2008 with her family: Husband David and daughter Sofia. Their son, Erik, was born that year.
They renamed the farm Dakota Sisu Farm. “Sisu” is a Finnish word with no direct translation in English.