Media Contacts: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237, firstname.lastname@example.org; John Byrnes, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, (612) 625-4743, email@example.com
MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/12/2010) —Seventy-three families from around the state, one from each participating county, have been named a "2010 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.
The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 5 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Visit the University's farm family website at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/.
"Almost all Minnesota farms are family farms," said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. "These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota's economy and the vitality of Minnesota's rural communities. The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contribution to agriculture and their communities."
Families receiving honors were selected by their local county Extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agricultural production.
The diversity of Minnesota family farms can be seen by looking at a sample of the 2010 honorees:
Douglas Lawrence Family of Anoka County
The Douglas Lawrence family farm was established in 1957 when Douglas's father purchased a farm and three registered Hereford bred cows with calves in Coon Rapids. Known today as Lawrence Herefords, the farm is now in the fourth generation of raising and showing cattle. Besides the Herefords, the Lawrence family has 320 turf acres in Anoka County. Doug, Joann and their sons and grandchildren are all involved with the family operation.
John and Leila Arndt of Kandiyohi County
John and Leila purchased their Willmar area farm in 1972. The farm began as a beef cow operation, but is now a 200-acre farm and bison ranch. Besides 300 head of bison, they raise oats, corn and soybeans. The farm has a selection of different cuts of bison for sale, and they are involved with the Farm to School program and many other organizations.
Kramer Farms of Renville County
Eugene Kramer was born into a family of 12 children. Eugene, the oldest, and Mike, the youngest, decided they would start farming together. As Eugene and his wife Carol began growing a family, their five boys also began farming with Eugene and Mike. They raise corn, soybeans, sugar beets, kidney beans, sweet corn and peas.
Tom and Lisa Walsh Family of Swift County
In 1992, Tom Walsh took over the family farm his parents had been running for 50 years. His farm started with feed cattle, a cow/calf operation and some crops. Eight years later, he and his brother, with some partners from Morris, built a 2,000 cow dairy. They have since built another dairy. Today, Tom is the managing partner in the dairy operations. In addition, he raises corn and alfalfa and has a small beef cow herd.
Coleman Farms of Watonwan County
In 1967, Dennis Coleman purchased a 160-acre farm in South Branch Township with the help of his parents. A year later, Dennis and his wife Sonja started a hog operation. Today the Coleman family operates a 1,200 sow farrow-to-finish hog operation, which is mostly located on the original 160 acres. In addition to the hog operation, they run 2,700 acres of soybeans and corn.
Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Farmfest runs Aug. 3-5 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 3 and 4, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 5. Admission is $10 per person, and those 18 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at www.farmshows.com/ffst.
Here is a complete listing of the 2010 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year honorees, by county:
Aitkin Ron and Sharon Dotzler Family
Anoka Douglas Lawrence Family
Becker Spadgenske Dairy
Benton Joe and Wendy Knapek Family
Big Stone Wulff Family Farm--Walter and Sheila Wulff
Blue Earth Jeff and Julie More & Family
Brown Jenna and Mike Griebel Family
Carlton Bill and Ruth Sharratt
Carver Andy and Jodene Stuewe
Cass The Stockman's
Chippewa Schultz-Schaefer Family Farm
Chisago Diamond B Farms
Clearwater Gary and Aryls Mathis
Cottonwood Kent Erickson
Dakota Al and Beth Bester & Family
Dodge Currier Family
Douglas Andy and Emily Siira
Faribault Don and Nancy Linder Farm
Fillmore Lind Family Farms
Freeborn Pat and Rosanna Staloch
Goodhue Jaeger Farms
Grant Paul and Carol Anderson Family
Hennepin Picha Farms
Houston Paul and Helen Solum Family
Isanti Rodney and Sara Elmstrand
Jackson Brian and Bruce Ihnen Families
Kanabec Thoeny Farms
Kandiyohi John and Leila Arndt
Kittson Ronald and LaVonne Anderson
Lac qui Parle The Daren Schmidt Family
Lake of the Woods Elmo and Alcia Sorrels
Le Sueur Jerry and Peggy Cooney Family
Lincoln Glen S. Johnson Family
Mahnomen Robert and Carol Schafer Family
Martin Robert and Melissa Garry
McLeod Jonathon and Debbie Posusta Family
Meeker Prairie Gold Farm (The Buers)
Mille Lacs Kevin and Tammy Krotzer & Family
Morrison Jim and Debbie Knopik
Mower Larry Larson & Family
Murray Stan and Jean Larson
Nicollet John and Beverly Schroeder Family
Nobles Wagner Family Farm
Norman Germolus Family Farm
Olmsted Roeder Farms
Otter Tail Bruce and Arleen Stone
Pine Mach Family
Pipestone Schulze Dairy
Polk Steve and Betty Ness
Pope Maanum Family
Ramsey City Backyard Farming, Xe Susane Moua
Red Lake Leslie and Alice Hofstad
Redwood Bruce and Ann Tiffany
Renville Kramer Farms
Rice Estrem Family Farms
Rock John and Jeanne Bowron
Roseau Jon and Valerie Johnson
Scott Zweber Family
Sherburne Shady Nook Farm; Neal and Judy Weis Family Farm
Sibley The Bruce and Nelva Lilienthal Family
Stearns Nick and Tara Meyer Family
Steele Heers Family Farm
Stevens Steven and Lori Kill
Swift Tom and Lisa Walsh Family
Todd Clasemann Dairy LLC
Traverse Pederson Family
Wabasha Jack and Cindy Stamschror
Wadena Dennis and Nancy Benson
Waseca The Leon and Beth Schoenrock Family Farm
Washington Gordy and Bonnie Tank & Myron and Linda Tank
Watonwan Coleman Farms
Winona Duane and Cindy Herber Family
Yellow Medicine Kvam Farm
Note: Photographs of families who attend the Aug. 5 recognition ceremony will be posted to http://mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/ after Aug. 12.