Monday, August 31, 2015

Agri-Tourism in Iowa - Showcasing Iowa's Agriculture Legacy at Tyden Farm No. 6

Agri-tourism is a growing area of interest in Iowa - from going to the National Toy Tractor Museum in Dyersville, to touring the World Food Prize in Des Moines, to visiting Blue Bunny in Le Mars, there are many options on how to get a look at the wide world of agriculture.  One fun trip that the kids and I were able to take last week before school started, was a tour of Tyden Farm No. 6 near Dougherty, Iowa (which is about 30 miles away from our home).  We had a great time touring this 10 acre homestead, owned and operated by Ted and Judy Pitzenberger, with the North Iowa Bloggers.

Touring Tyden Farm No. 6 with the North Iowa Bloggers in Dougherty, Iowa
The North Iowa Bloggers in front of the Tyden Farm No. 6 Barn
(Photo courtesy of Donna Hup of
Agri-Tourism in Iowa - Showcasing Iowa's Agriculture Legacy at Tyden Farm No. 6, Dougherty, Iowa
What is Tyden Farm No. 6?  Tyden Farm No. 6 is a historic farm that was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.  The Tyden Farms (there were eight total) were started by Emil Tyden in the 1930's.  The farms were a source of jobs and were always on the cusp of new technologies in the Dougherty and Greene, Iowa area.  In 1994 the Emil Tyden family started selling the farms.  Tyden Farm No. 6 was bought by Ted and Judy Pitzenberger.  Shortly after buying the farm, they looked into the history of Emil Tyden and Tyden Farms more, and decided to start restore the farm back to it's original glory.  They enjoyed preserving the farm so much that they now open it up to visitors by reservations.

Who is Emil Tyden?  Emil Tyden was a Swedish immigrant who arrived in America in 1882 as a teenager with only $20 in his pocket.  He worked various jobs across the United States, including working for the railroad and serving in the Army as a "$1 a year man".  While working for the railroad he invented, the Cargo Seal, which kept (and still keeps) train cargo safe and secure.  At the same time he went on to creating one of the world's first automation systems to help supply the mass amount of Cargo Seals needed in Hastings, Michigan - a decade before Henry Ford started mass producing automobiles.

In 1920, a fire destroyed his Cargo Seal factory so Tyden resolved this issue by entering the fire sprinkler business.  He started manufacturing fire sprinklers and valves, and today, you can still see his product in office buildings across the world.  Tyden had over 200 patents, and while he loved inventing and made his wealth in manufacturing, he had a love for agriculture and farming.

Agri-Tourism in Iowa - Showcasing Iowa's Agriculture Legacy at Tyden Farm No. 6 - some of the first farms in North Iowa to use cement
Ted Pitzenberger telling us about the cement 
they made on the farm including for the cement water tower 
you see to the left of him and a cement corn crib not pictured
So with his profits, he invested in farm ground in the Dougherty and Greene, Iowa area during the Great Depression.  His farms were well respected in the area.  They employed many people during a time of high unemployment, and they were always on the cutting edge of technology.  His farms were some of the first in the area to have cement and electricity.

Agri-Tourism in Iowa - Showcasing Iowa's Agriculture Legacy at Tyden Farm No. 6 - Fun for the whole family
MP and LP had a lot of fun on the tour,
 especially in their large garden area

Why should I look into Agri-Tourism for my next trip?  Agri-Tourism is a great way to help better understand and appreciate the land and the people who live and work on it.  Many aspects of the agricultural landscape have changed over the years, so it a great way to learn about the science that goes into farming - something that Emil Tyden was very proud of.  Agri-Tourism is also simply a lot of fun where you can get a personal look and experience into agriculture.

Agri-Tourism in Iowa - Showcasing Iowa's Agriculture Legacy at Tyden Farm No. 6 - Museum with collections from 1900's
In their museum, located in the old hog house,
I was drawn towards their kitchen display
Touring Tyden Farm No. 6 was a lot of fun for us to see what farming was like decades ago.  It was also great to see the pride that the Pitzenberger's take in Tyden's story and their own farming heritage.  They not only have several farm implements and buildings that were used on the Tyden Farms over the years, but they also have a museum with several of their family's memorabilia and history.  You can tell how much farming is a family business and how agriculture really built and supported communities in the area.

You can learn more about Tyden Farm No. 6 by visiting their website, or by scheduling your own tour by contacting Ted and Judy Pitzenberger at 641-426-5277 or

Have you ever visited any Agri-Tourism destination before?  If so, where?  What did you like about the Agri-Tourism experience?  Remember to Comment for a Cause!


  1. What a great post on Ag Tourism! There's a lot of history at this farm and it was fun to watch the kids check everything out from the past.

    1. Thanks Sara! Even though we live on a farm, our kids are not familiar with some of the historical farm tools. We all had a great time!

  2. What a really fun time you guys had. I loved seeing all the pictures and the kids really seemed to get into it all even if they were familiar with farming and ag already. What a great place for everyone to explore. Thanks for sharing!

    1. It was a wonderful place to explore. The tour took about two hours which was a great balance of exploring and learning for myself and the kids.

  3. What a fantastic post Val! I love your take on everything and it was so much spending the afternoon with your kiddos!

    1. We had a lot of fun hanging out with your for the weekend. Thanks Katy.

  4. When Katy first mentioned Tyden Farm, I was curious. Have had fun looking at your posts. What a cool place!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for helping set it up. The kids and I had a great time.

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