Ron Stanger marks 65 years of farming
While the Stanger roots of farming in the area go back more than 100 years, it was 65 years ago that Ron Stanger began building his own family homestead in the Munson-Michichi area.
His father, James, came from the Orkney Islands to the Orkney District in 1908. Of course, the area west of Drumheller had no name when the land was opened to homesteaders shortly after the turn of the century, but there was an influx of Scottish set
tlers that made it home. “That is why it was called Orkney, because so many from the Orkney Islands settled there. They were all friends,” explains Ron. He came with his sister-in-law as his brother was already in Canada.
The first few years were trying, James wasn’t able to put up much of a crop, and then World War I broke out. By 1919, he was able to go back to Scotland to pick up his sweetheart Isabella. They were married in 1920 and had four sons.
By 1951, it was time for Ron to strike out on his own. He rented some land in the Munson-Michichi area. With equipment on loan from his father, he planted his first crops. He was married to Marie that fall. “We rented land for a few years and then started buying, so I have been farming ever since,” he said. “I didn’t even have equipment when I started. I was using my dad’s equipment working together with him,” said Stanger. “We had a tractor, an old tiller, a small swather and combine, not too much.” He started out growing primarily wheat and then
brought on some barley, and then Canola, flax and peas. The family also has cattle, with a herd of purebred Red Angus.
He had two sons, Donald and David, and a daughter Jeanette. Today, his grandson Aaron works most of the land, although Ron still tends to a quarter section. He began cutting back in 2000 and moved to Drumheller. Even at age 89, last year he ran the combine, and hopes to be out this season as well.
“I’ll be there part time this year. I’m still interested in the farm, I don’t want to quit!” he said. He has always loved the country way of life.
“I just love farming. It is not like any other job. You are at one job for a month, and then you go, change, and are at another for another month. You work out in the field, and then you are in the shop,” he said. “You are a jack of all trades, you might be a mechanic one day, and then a carpenter or anything else. Nothing is the same each day.”
89-year-old Ron Stanger, left, with grandson Aaron at a thrashing party in 2012, running his Oliver 88 Standard. Ron has been farming for 65 years and still loves the way of life.