Retired farmer finds home at Minnesota Zoo

10:00 PM, Apr 22, 2011   |    comments
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APPLE VALLEY, Minn. - At the Minnesota Zoo they built an authentic farm eleven years ago. It took a little longer for the arrival of the zoo's authentic farmer.

Andy Anderson moved to the Twin Cities from a farm in Iowa to be closer to his children after his wife passed away.

To see him now in his John Deere cap and bib overalls, cuddling a day-old pig in the zoo's farmyard, is to wonder if Anderson left the farm at all.

"Oh this is wonderful to be with my little pig," he laughs.

91 years separate the baby pig from the only zoo volunteer granted a dress code exemption to wear bib overalls.

"He's charmed all of us," said Heidi Rickert, the zoo's volunteer coordinator. She still remembers the hot summer day she had to force Anderson to take a break. "'When I was farming we didn't take air conditioning breaks,'" Rickert recalls him saying. "'I don't need a break.'"

For nine years now Anderson has been spending two days a week holding both baby farm animals and children's attention.

"Isn't he a cutie," says the retired farmer with the baby goat in his arms.  "I can't help but love this place.  This is my second home really.

The records back in Iowa say Andy Anderson left his farm in 2003. But it took a lot more than a move to the city, to take the farmer out of Anderson.

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(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)

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