While touring the property, he noticed an odd-shaped brown rock being used to prop open a shed door.
This year, the man was inspired by stories of MI residents finding and selling pieces of meteorites. The former owner told him it was a meteorite that landed on the property in the 1930s.
The man, who has asked to remain anonymous, knew the 22-pound rock came from outer space ever since he bought the house in 1988.
This is where geologist Mona Sirbescu of Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant enters the story.
The man then chose to take his rock to Mona Sirbescu, a geology faculty member in earth and atmospheric sciences at Central Michigan University.
"For 18 years, the answer has been categorically 'no, '" she said.
In January chose to check out the value of the doorstop.
"It's the most valuable specimen I have ever held in my life, monetarily and scientifically", Sibescu said.
The man told Sirbescu that he kept the rock for the next 30 years, even after moving away from the farm. The then owner told the man it was part of the property, and he could keep it.
He was content to use it for propping the barn door open the last 30 years, until MI residents began selling much smaller meteorite bits that were sprinkled across the state when a meteor blazed through the sky in January, he told the university. "I wonder how much mine is worth", he said.
Upon receiving the meteorite, Sirbescu evaluated it and discovered it was an iron-nickel meteorite, composed of 8 to 8.5 percent iron and 11.5 percent nickel.
The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., corroborated Sirbescu's analysis that the 22-pound "rock" is, indeed, a meteorite, and is apparently the sixth-largest of its type to be discovered in MI.
"What typically happens with these at this point is that meteorites can either be sold and shown in a museum or sold to collectors and sellers looking to make a profit", Sirbescu said in a statement.
She said she felt excited to play a role in identifying the meteorite.
A mineral museum in ME also was considering buying it, and the owner herself - a collector - said she might purchase it.
"I said, 'Wait a minute". If a sale goes through, the man has agreed to give 10% of the sale value to the university for the study of earth and atmospheric sciences.