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Farm families recognized for their leadership, success

Ag News Wire
By Bev Durgan, Dean, University of Minnesota Extension

ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/28/2014)—Every day, in more ways than we are aware, agriculture impacts our lives. From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, to the machines and materials we use to work and play - we all depend on a thriving agriculture industry. Minnesota farm families are a vital part of the nation's agriculture industry.

The University of Minnesota began the tradition of honoring farm families in 1979. Since then, farm families from across the state have been recognized annually for their contributions to agriculture, the economy and rural communities.

This year, farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. More on Farmfest is available at

The farm families are chosen by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture. Those receiving this year's honors exemplify what makes Minnesota agriculture strong, which keeps Minnesota strong.

Minnesota is ranked fifth in the nation for total agricultural output. Our farm families are not only leaders in their communities, but they keep Minnesota a leader in the nation. In fact, Minnesota is the fourth largest agriculture exporting state in the nation. The 2012 Census of Agriculture estimated the market value of food and farm products sold in Minnesota each year at about $21.3 billion.

Farm families also improve the fabric--and the future outlook--of rural communities. They invest time in serving on township boards, hospital boards, school boards and church councils. They volunteer to help families in need, and to assure the positive development of young people through 4-H and other youth organizations.

All of this is on top of what they do to provide food, fuel and a multitude of other agricultural products to the rest of Minnesota, the nation and the world. You can see the diversity of their agricultural achievements in the 74 families honored:

I am proud to honor the University of Minnesota Farm Families of the Year at Farmfest in Redwood Falls. I hope you will join me in congratulating these deserving farm families.

Any use of this article must include the byline or following credit line:
Bev Durgan is Dean of University of Minnesota Extension.

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, U of M Extension, (612) 626-4077,

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