Our farm was founded in 1877. Our farm was founded by Gottlieb and Barbara Hornung who immigrated to America from southern Germany. They settled on the same location that our family lives and farms today. Gottlieb and Barbara had six children, three of whom lived to adulthood. At this time the farm was very diversified and its primary purpose was to provide food for the family.
Their son Gottlieb F. Hornung was married in 1908 to Bertha and they had four children. In the 1920s the original surname “Hornung” was changed to the more American and current spelling “Horning”. The farm continued to be very diversified. Their second oldest son Alton remained part of the family farm.
In 1936 Alton was married to Elanor. Alton and Elanor had two children, Earl and Neil. During this time the farm remained fairly diversified but the growing focus was on sheep.
After continuing his education at Michigan State University, Earl returned to become the 4th generation to manage the family farm. Earl married Diane in 1964 and they have two children, Jeff and Tricia. The first milking parlor was built in 1963 and we were milking about 60 cows. In the 1970s there was a fire that burnt down our sheep barn and unfortunately disbanded our sheep herd. At this time that the decision was made to stick with dairy farming.
Earl and Diane’s son Jeff attended Michigan State University where he met his wife Lynda. They were married in 1990 and have three children: Katelyn, Natalie, and Mason. After college, Jeff returned to manage the farm in partnership with his dad, Earl. In 1993, a decision was made to further invest in the dairy industry. A new milking parlor and cow barn were built and are what we still use for our cows today. The herd was expanded to 120 milking cows. In 2003 the cow barn was expanded and the milking herd grew to 330 cows.
Two of Jeff and Lynda’s children, Katelyn and Mason, returned to the family farm after graduation from Michigan State University. Katelyn and Mason are the sixth generation to live and work at Horning Farms. While at Michigan State University, Katelyn met her now-husband and they were married in 2016. Also in 2016, a decision was made to build two new barns for the farm's young dairy animals. The farm had previously outgrown their facilities and many of the animals were housed off-site or at other farms. Building the new barns allowed all of the animals to live on the home farm.
We are very proud to continue on our family’s legacy of producing high-quality safe food.