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    Rick Boos poses in front of his “Boos Dairy” tanks at his family farm. His land could be affected if one of TxDOT’s proposed Main Street Relief Routes are chosen. — Standard-Radio Post/Samuel Sutton

The path of ‘progress’

Relief route could gut seven-generation family farm business

The Boos Family Farm has been rooted in Fredericksburg for over seven generations. If one of the Texas Department of Transportation’s proposed Main Street Relief Route options is selected, it may see its last day.

The farm has seen its share of ups and downs, but Rick Boos, who currently operates the farm, said he appreciates the history and memories made on this farm. If Relief Route option D is chosen, he feels it would take away one of the most important parts of the Boos family history.

“All this history means so much to me,” Rick said. “We want it to stay in the family and it’s really, really tough to make it in agriculture nowadays, but you’ve got to try.

“For them to put a relief route through here to save the history of the City of Fredericksburg doesn’t make any sense to me.”

 

Family history

The Boos family began their farm in 1852. They came to Texas via Prussia (now Germany) aboard a ship called the Ammerland in October 1851.

The Boos family arrived in Galveston, where they registered with immigration and traveled to a town near New Braunfels. They then traveled, either by foot or by ox cart, to Fredericksburg, where they purchased their 900-acre farm for $1 per acre.

The family operated the farm as a dairy farm from 1927-2008. In the early 1950s, they built a new dairy barn, which had a glass pipeline system to move milk into cans. Rick said the new technology got them featured in the Fredericksburg Radio Post newspaper.

 

Changing industry

The glory faded though, and in the early 1970s, Rick’s father almost had to sell the farm.

“In 1972, I came back from college because my dad was going to sell the dairy and I didn’t want him to sell it. So I stayed and helped,” Rick said.

With Rick’s help, the farm was able to prosper again.

In 1978, they built a new dairy barn with computers and automatic takeoffs. With this technology, they could weigh milk individually from each cow.

“It was actually the first computerized dairy other than a university in the United States, so it’s a big honor,” Rick said.

Rick worked hard to keep the dairy farm alive, but unfortunately, its day in the sun had to come to an end.

“The dairy business was really good to our family up until the late ’80s, when the government started to control milk prices,” Rick said. “They would buy 52 percent of the milk, so the prices would fluctuate.”

At times, to ensure the profitability of the dairy farm, Rick would work from 3:20 a.m. to about 8 p.m. Even on holidays and birthdays. There were times he wasn’t able see his kids because of work.

Eventually, the farm wasn’t making enough money.

“I’d go to the bank, borrow money and then I’d have to pay the loan off. Then, the price of milk would go up and I’d buy a piece of equipment, so then I would have to go borrow more money,” Rick explained. “Finally, I thought, ‘you know, I have to milk about 500 to 1,000 cows,’ because the margin of profit was so small for each cow unit. So, I decided to sell the cows and start a beef business.”

 

Next generation

Libby Boos, Rick’s daughter, is also worried. She doesn’t want to see this farm and all its history taken away.

“There is so much deep agricultural and German history tied to this land and it would be a real shame for it to be ruined by the relief route,” Libby said.

The reputation the Boos family has built in Fredericksburg makes her proud.

“You don’t meet many people nowadays who can say their family has lived on the same land for seven generations,” Libby said.

Libby was happy to be able to grow up on a farm, where she learned from her father and made many memories with her sister.

“All of my young outdoor memories are of the dairy and just getting to run around and play down there,” Libby said.

She chuckled at the memory of her and her sister playing on the old work equipment.

Libby and Rick are worried that this road will run right through their land and not only cease farm operations, but also diminish the culture and family traditions this town has. She hopes everyone involved thinks about this before deciding on an option.

“Some of the (officials working on this) are longtime Fredericksburg community members. We could ask them, ‘is it fair to rip up and destroy these German roots and farm culture that the town of Fredericksburg’s people pride themselves on,’” Libby said. “We’re a town of farmers and people who all share a similar German culture and ripping up part of that history is not right.”

 

Options

Libby understands the need for the relief route, but she hopes everyone in charge considers how it may not only affect history, but also how it could affect taxpayers. One option she gave was finding a way to expand Friendship Lane and connect it to U.S. 87.

“Friendship Lane was originally built as a way to relieve traffic, so why not save a little bit of money and get your road at the same time?” Libby asked.

Rick also offered his preferred option to move the relief route to the north side of town.

“There’s very little development to the north, so it would be more of just ranch land and not farm land like over here,” Rick said.

TxDOT has hosted several workshops and meetings to receive public comment about this potential route. They also have an online survey they encourage residents to take.

Rick said it’s important to take the survey, send in public comments and speak up. Otherwise, the people of Fredericksburg could be greatly affected.

“You need to voice your opinion,” Rick said. If you don’t want it, tell them you don’t want it. Voicing your opinion is very important. Your opinion does matter.”

 

TxDOT online survey

To take the survey, either visit www.txdot.gov and search keyword “Fredericksburg,” email the Fredericksburg Relief Route Study Team at

fredericksburgreliefroute@gmail.com or contact Joe Muck at Joe.Muck@txdot.gov or 512-715-5702.

Fredericksburg Standard

P.O. Box 1639
Fredericksburg, TX 78624-4228
830-997-2155