University of Minnesota Extension
Menu Menu

Extension home > Extension news > News Releases > U of M recognizes 2011 Farm Families of the Year

U of M recognizes 2011 Farm Families of the Year

Media Contacts: Catherine Dehdashti, U of M Extension, (612) 625-0237,; John Byrnes, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, (612) 625-4743,

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/18/2011) --Seventy-five families from around the state, one from each participating county, have been named a "2011 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.

The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 4 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2011 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the the University's farm family website at

"These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota's economy and the vitality of Minnesota's rural communities," said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. "The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions 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.

Farmfest runs Aug. 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 3, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 4. Admission is $10 per person, and those 18 and under are admitted free.

The diversity of Minnesota family farms can be seen by looking at a sample of the 2011 honorees:

Peterson Family of Clay County
The Peterson farm has undergone many changes over the years. Today, the farm produces sugar beets, wheat, barley, soybeans and grain corn. Sherwood and Marilynn Peterson have three sons who help as machine operators, repair men, planters, harvesters, deliverers and more.

Sever Peterson Farm and Corn Maze of Hennepin County
The Sever Peterson Farm in Eden Prairie was established by Sever's grandfather in the late 1880s. Today the farm has roadside stands, crops, a corn maze and 17 vegetable stands across the western Minneapolis suburbs. They also have corn and soybean fields. The Peterson corn maze was the first in Minnesota and the second in the U.S. The annual corn maze event includes a pumpkin patch, live music and exotic animals.

Swentik Family of Lake of the Woods County
George and Judith Swentik of Baudette are producers of grass seed, small grains, commercial hay and registered Polled Hereford beef cattle. George also sets aside 40 acres of the farm for a variety of trees, including a fruit orchard to create a habitat for wildlife.

Schwarz Family of LeSueur County
Lone Oak Farm of LeSueur is a fifth-generation diversified family farm dating back to 1875. Today, Greg and Joan Schwarz grow corn and soybeans on about 1000 acres. In addition, they market about 70,000 turkeys annually. Greg's parents are still active in the farm operation, and Greg and Joan's two children also help.

Penner Family of Watonwan County
In 1977, Joel and Bernice Penner built their first finishing barn for 200 head of hogs in Butterfield. Later they added a farrowing and nursery barn, then a gestation barn, and eventually a 600-head finishing barn. Today, Joel and Bernice farm 340 acres and have 120 sows. They also grow corn, soybeans, and some small grains. They have three children and five grandchildren.

Golden Prairie Dairy of Winona County
Jim and Laurie Orth farm 157 acres in Winona. Their dairy herd consists of Jersey, Guernsey, Holsteins and crossbreeds. They have two daughters who help with tasks on the farm.

Here is a complete listing of the 2011 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year honorees, by county:

County Family
Aitkin Dale and Linda Lueck
Anoka Will and Kathy Almendinger
Becker Mickelson Farms, Inc.
Benton Troy and Melissa Schreindl
Big Stone Wade and Vicki Athey
Blue Earth Landsteiner Family Farm
Brown Gary and Dean Sellner
Carlton Suhonen Farm
Carver Joel and Barb Grimm Family
Cass Walter and Lucille Sowers
Chippewa Palke Farms
Chisago Heifer Haven Farm (Steve and Lisa Sontag)
Clay Sherwood and Marilynn Peterson Family
Clearwater John and Pam Arneson
Cottonwood Wiebe Family Farm
Dakota Carl and Dennis Reuter & Families
Dodge Alan and Lori Callister
Douglas Mark and Michele Fernholz
Faribault Paul and Karla Carr & Roger and Candis Carr
Fillmore Craig and Pam Mensink
Freeborn Dan and Jenny Erickson Family
Goodhue Carlson Brothers
Grant Michael and Lynn Marks
Hennepin Sever Peterson Farm and Corn Maze
Houston Ben and Linda Lind
Isanti Laman Farms
Itasca Promised Land Farm; Clayton's Produce
Jackson Paul and Joyce Henning
Kanabec Martens Farm, Inc.
Kandiyohi Larry, Mary, Drew and Amy Larson Family Farm
Kittson Marshal and Lorna Hemmes
Lac qui Parle David and Patricia Craigmile
Lake of the Woods George M. Sr. and Judith Swentik
Le Sueur Greg, Joan, Tom and Allison Schwarz
Lincoln Ken and Laura Krog
Lyon Greg and Mary Deutz & Family
Mahnomen Paul and Patricia Specht
Martin Lawrence and Diane Sukalski & Family
McLeod Paul and Heather Wright & Cody, Breanna, Allison and McKenna
Meeker Turck's Dairy Farm
Mille Lacs Steve and Tammy Olson
Morrison Gregg and Valora Stangl
Mower Fourway Farm, Inc.
Murray Posthuma Family
Nicollet Peter and Ann Seitzer
Nobles Mahlberg Family Farm
Norman Corey and Cassandra Hoseth Family
Olmsted Ed and Sherri Twohey & Theresa, Eric, Tim, Jessica and Jacob
Otter Tail Justin and Marea Malone Family
Pine Saumer Dairy
Pipestone Evans Family Dairy
Pope McIvers Happy Acres
Ramsey Dave Massey, Northwoods Organic Produce
Red Lake Calvin and Susan Harmoning
Redwood Maas Dairy Farm
Renville Neubauer Farms Inc.
Rice Danny and Nancy Morris
Rock Dan Leuthold Family
Roseau Kelman and Elizabeth Kvien
Scott Barten Pumpkin Farm
Sherburne Golly Farms
Sibley The Jaus Family
Stearns Jeron and Brenda Nathe Family
Steele Wencl Family Farm
Stevens Greg and Naomi Fynboh Family
Swift Al and Renaee Schreck Family
Todd The Bruce Paskewitz Family
Wabasha Gene, John and Carol Marx Dairy Farm
Wadena Terry and Jean Perius Farm
Waseca Winter Family
Washington Marvin and Beverly Schroeder
Watonwan Joel and Bernice Penner Family
Winona Golden Prairie Dairy (Jim, Laurie, Katelyn and Eryn Orth)
Wright Paul and Holly Neaton
Yellow Medicine Randal & Anna Kamrath and Erin, Rebecca, Nicole, Izzy &
Note: Photographs of families who attend the Aug. 4 recognition ceremony will be posted to after Aug. 12.

  • © 2015 Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy