Tom’s grandfather farmed near Odin in Watonwan County until 1947 when his family moved to a farm south of St. James. The Engs rented land up until about 1967 when Tom’s father made his first purchase of land. In 1970 they added the home farm, moved there and the family continues to farm the land.
After high school Tom went off to college and then worked for Ziegler Caterpillar while farming part-time on his own. In 2007, Tom’s father passed away suddenly from an accident. Tom and his wife, Martha, moved back to St. James to take care of Tom’s mother and work the farm. The Engs remodeled the home on a building site just south of the home farm that Tom had purchased with his father years earlier. Over the years, the Engs have purchased more land and equipment and have expanded their operation.
Tom’s cousin, Mark Saunders, had been working for many years with Tom’s father on the farm. As Tom transitioned into full-time farming, Tom and Mark farmed the land together. Currently the cousins, who also do custom work, work together with their separate operations of corn and soybeans.
Tom and Martha have three grown children. Their son, Eric, had been helping quite a bit on the farm but about a year ago Eric and his wife, Jolleen, moved to Billings, Montana. He plans to return for fall harvest to help. Tom and Martha’s other children, Becky and Brian, are both married and live out of state. Becky and her husband have three children. Martha has been working remotely from home for the past 13 years; she helps around the farm running errands, delivering meals and helps move equipment when needed.
Tom is chairman of the Watonwan County Corn and Soybean Growers Board and serves as a Long Lake township supervisor. He serves on the county FSA committee, Watonwan County planning and zoning board, is a board member of First Lutheran Church, and president of the St. James Opera House Restoration Board.