Luverne, Minnesota (CNN) -- Dean Tofteland promised to take care of the farm while his father was on vacation.
"I want you to go ahead and enjoy yourself," he told him.
The small private plane carrying Arnie Tofteland never reached its destination. It ran out of gas on the way to Indianapolis, fell from the sky and struck the backstop of a baseball field before slamming nose first into the pitcher's mound.
Dean, then just 27, had come home to the farm for a short stint; he hoped to enter the world of agribusiness. Suddenly, he was thrust into the role of carrying on his father's legacy.
Twenty-three years later, he drives through his corn and soybean fields in the southwestern corner of Minnesota. "I'm still taking care of it," he says. "It's not just a way of life. It's a part of my life."
Tofteland held the farm together after his father was killed, survived drought and the great flood of 1993. Then, commodity prices sank in the mid-1990s. And like most farmers, he has seen too many friends die young.
Such are the hazards of life on a farm.