Crystal Sugar's oldest beet farmer from Oslo, Minnesota turns 105

Earl Mallinger has been farming the land up in northern Minnesota his entire life, with thousands of acres and a million farming memories.

Earl Mallinger
Earl Mallinger in his Sugar Beet field near Oslo
Ryan Longnecker/WDAY
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OSLO, Minn. — On a perfect summer morning, there's talk of Ribfest here this weekend, but inside Kitty's Cafe on Main Street, the sound of a good dice game.

Earl Mallinger is shaking for coffee, like he has for decades here.
At 105, this is where you'll find Earl most mornings, eating his eggs and toast.

Earl Mallinger
Earl Mallinger at Kitty's Cafe in Oslo, Minnesota
Ryan Longnecker/WDAY

"Dad had a horse and buggy," Earl said, talking about life on the farm in the early 1920's and 30's.

Earl likes Kitty's Cafe, but he loves his land a whole lot more.

"I traded it again for a brand new one in 2011," he said, talking about the equipment he purchased and sold recently.


Earl Mallinger is Crystal Sugar's oldest producer. He's raising sugar beets still, at 105.

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"I don't like to be alone, I like to be out with people and look at the crops. Although, I am a windshield farmer now," Earl said.

Earl was born above his father's butcher shop in Oslo, Minnesota in 1917. He's seen it all, including record floods, sometimes back to back.
"We had six in a row and nine in eleven years," Earl said, talking about the big Oslo floods.

Earl Mallinger
Earl Mallinger of Olso, Minnsota grew up a farmer and remembers his dad having a horse and buggy. He's just turned 105 years old.

Earl had seven brothers and sisters in the family. One sibling is giving Earl a run for his money.

"My sister is 101," he said.

And Earl says when it comes to his longevity, it's simple. Don't dwell on getting old.

"Keep moving, once you quit moving, you go downhill pretty fast."

Earl still has a thousand acres across Polk and Marshall counties, next to where he grew up.


"There's the kernel." Earl said, looking at some grain ready to harvest.

He wouldn't trade his 105 years for anything.

"I like the fresh air for one thing and I like to see the crops grow and see what God has done. A fella has to have a lot of faith when you have a little seed and you get a crop like this."

This longtime farmer and International Potato Grower of the Year back in the day, played golf until he was 102. He still plays cards five days a week.

"Cracks are showing up, We did get a lot of rain, though," Earl said, looking at the beet field.

Earl joked today, "I wonder when it will all end?"

All who love him agree, there's no rush.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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