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July 18, 2013

University recognizes Farm Families of the Year for 2013

This year, 76 families from throughout Minnesota will be honored as a 2013 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota. The families will be recognized in ceremonies set for 1:30 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8 at the annual Minnesota Farmfest near Redwood Falls.

Media Contact: Allison Sandve, University of Minnesota Extension, office 612-626-4077

A 2013 Farm Family
Photo by Terry Salmela, Kanabec County Times
ST. PAUL (July 18, 2013)—This year, 76 families from throughout Minnesota will be honored as a 2013 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
The families will be recognized in ceremonies set for 1:30 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8 at the annual Minnesota Farmfest near Redwood Falls.

Local Extension committees chose the families for demonstrating commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture. The families represent each county participating in the program.

"Farm families and agriculture 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 outstanding families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities."

A sampling of families and the breadth of their contributions to agriculture follows, as does a complete list. More on Farmfest is available at

The background on all the farm families is at

Paul and Deb Rentschler and family, Jackson County
A fourth generation farming family, the Rentschlers operate a wean-to-finish hog operation, as well as growing corn and soybeans. The family is from Lakefield and is active in 4-H, including the state swine committee, and FFA, as well as the Minnesota Pork Chop Open and Jackson County Jackpot Hog Show.

Chad and Cameo Zehnder and family, Isanti County
Farming in Stanchfield since 2002, the Zehnders grow alfalfa and grass hay and raise purebred Red Angus and Charolais beef cattle that are sold throughout the United States. They are involved in 4-H, National Cattleman's Beef Association, Minnesota Cattleman's Association and the executive committee of the Minnesota Beef Expo; they also are Farm Bureau members.

Benike Farms, Inc., Koochiching County
In 1993, Brent, Ross and Kent Benike formed Benike Farms from the operation begun by their parents. Today, Benike Farms consists of 700 acres of diversified crops including wheat, perennial ryegrass, soybean, canola and you-pick corn. The farm is a member of the Minnesota Crop Improvement Association and the Minnesota Soybean Growers; all three brothers volunteer with area civic programs.

Donny and Holly Thompson and family, Olmsted County
Using high-technology advances including daily milk weights and activity monitoring, the Thompsons house nearly 200 head of registered and grade Holsteins. They also raise crops on more than 700 acres, with more acres devoted to pasture, woods and waterways. The family is involved in 4-H, FFA and the Minnesota Dairy Herd Improvement Association.

Tim Page and Cherry Flowers, Ramsey County

Operating as Page & Flowers, Tim and Cherry grow a range of vegetables at their home in St. Paul and certified organic property in North Branch. They take part in a wide range of activities, including the Sustainable Agriculture Conference, MOSES, Black Farmers, Immigrant and Minority Farmers Conference and the High Tunnel Conference.

The other honorees, by county, are:

Aitkin: Paulson Farm
Anoka: Larry and Sandi Golyer
Becker: John and Linda Schouviller Family
Beltrami: John Jr. and Shelly Gilbertson
Big Stone: Mark and Amy Blackwelder
Blue Earth: Doug and Lori Meixell
Brown: Pace Farms
Carlton: Jon and Ann Finifrock Family
Carver: Jopp Century Farm
Cass: The Martins
Chippewa: Marc and Jan Stevens
Chisago: Al and Judy Olson, Wild Mountain Vineyard and Winery
Clay: Brian and Barb Kimm
Clearwater: Tom and Corrinne Anderson
Cottonwood: Troy and Lisa Erickson
Dakota: Donald and Lisa Kamen Family
Dodge: Toquam Family Farm
Douglas: Larry and Mary Kay Lund
Faribault: Cartwright Farm
Fillmore: Heusinkveld Farms
Freeborn: Miller Family
Goodhue: Rae and Leo Rusnak
Grant: Michael and Denise Hanson
Hennepin: Patnode Farms
Houston: Carrie and Wesley Lapham Family
Isanti: Chad and Cameo Zehnder and Family
Itasca: Oliver and Gertie Juntunen
Jackson: Paul and Deb Rentschler
Kanabec: Faye, Rick, and Dennis of River Mist Farms
Kandiyohi: Terry and Carol Schaefer Family
Kittson: Roger and Bernice Anderson
Koochiching: Benike Farms, Inc.
Lac qui Parle: Mulder Dairy
Lake: Lise and David Abazs
Lake of the Woods: Darrell and Doris Nelson
Le Sueur: Kienlen Family
Lincoln: Kirk Family
Lyon: LeClaire's Fresh Veggies
Martin: Cory and Layne Ebeling
McLeod County: Dahlke Family
Meeker: Vir Kar J Swiss Farm, Virgil and Karen Ackerman Family
Mille Lacs: Richard and Sandy Bronson
Morrison: Jeff and Leah Schilling, Ripley Esker Farms
Mower: Neuvirth Family
Murray: Kluis Farms
Nicollet: David and Ann Wendinger
Nobles: Marlyn and Jolene Nystrom
Norman: Loren and Deb Eken Farm
Olmsted: Donny and Holly Thompson Family
Otter Tail: Leaderbrand Brothers
Pine: Tom and Nancy Rys
Pipestone: Mike and Carrie Caskey
Polk: Neal and Jolene Anderson
Pope: Klimek Family Farms
Ramsey: Page & Flowers
Red Lake: David and Peggy Miller
Redwood: Brian and Michelle Hicks Family
Renville: John and Sheila Robinson Family
Rice: Bauers - Mark, Sue, Skyler & Brandi
Rock: Sandbulte Family
Roseau: Ray and Lillian Christianson
Scott: Les and Sue Quatmann
Sibley: Dale and Julie Schwartz Family
Stearns: Borgerding Dairy Farm
Steele: Balzer Family Dairy
Stevens: Dick and Suzanne Smith
Swift: Holtkamp Farms
Todd: Michael and Eloise Thorson
Traverse: Joe and Katie Murphy Family
Wabasha: Sapa Ska Farm, David and Dennis Pierson
Wadena: Tim and Rita Nolte Family
Waseca: Brad and Beth Krause and Family - Jacob, Caleb, Tatiana & Tanyce
Washington: Byron and Helen Anderson Family
Watonwan: Brown Family Farm
Winona: Earth-Be-Glad Farm, Mike and Jennifer Rupprecht
Wright: Randy and Barbara Abel
Yellow Medicine: The Charles and Lorie Hoffman Family

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