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July 15, 2015

2015 Farm Families of the Year honored by University of Minnesota

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

ST. PAUL, Minn. (7/14/2015) — Eighty families from throughout Minnesota are being honored as 2015 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

The farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 6, at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. The event is in the Wick Buildings Farmfest Center on the estate grounds.

The farm families represent each county participating in the program. They were chosen by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

"The farm families receiving this year's honors exemplify what makes Minnesota agriculture strong. They bring innovation, science and hard work to farming. They care greatly about the land and animals and delivering quality products to consumers worldwide," said Bev Durgan, dean of Extension. "The University of Minnesota takes pride in honoring these families."

A sampling of farmers and their contributions to agriculture follows. All the 2015 farm families are profiled here.

Carlton County
Meadow Brook Dairy,
The Juntunen/Mattinen Farm – Dale and Joanne Mattinen

This farm grows high-quality horse hay and small grains; it began in 1885 and operated for many years as Meadow Brook Dairy. Dale and Joanne Mattinen provide customers with small square bales and have become widely known for their dust-free hay.

Dale and Joanne are active in their community, including work with their local volunteer fire department and church. They’ve hosted farm tours and work with University of Minnesota Extension in on‐farm research.

Dodge County
David and Ruth Hanson

As their children grew up and moved away, the Hansons transitioned into growing apples. Their farm now has 110 apple trees and features nine varieties developed at the University of Minnesota.

David, an Extension educator from 1966 to 1989, conducts educational tours and also grows pumpkins and squash. David was county fair crops and gardens superintendent from 1990 to 2013; he was inducted into the county fair hall of fame in 2010. He has received recognition for dedicated service to the Dodge County Crop Improvement Association and Dodge County Friends of 4-H. Ruth is president of Dodge Center Lions Club, the first woman to serve in that post. The Hansons are also active in St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Kasson.

Grant County
Lacey Ridge Farm
Brian and Debbie Lacey and family

The Lacey family currently raises wheat, corn, soybean, sugar beets and barley. Lacey Barley grown on the farm was named after Brian’s father, Gerald, who was very active for many years in the Minnesota and National Barley Growers Associations. Brian now serves as chair of the Minnesota Barley Promotion and Research Council.

Brian and Debbie – along with sons Stephen and Donald and their spouses – use up-to-date technology and a three-to-four-year rotation as they strive to help create a healthy environment and better water quality.

McLeod County
Frerichs-Cullip Farm
Laura Frerichs and Adam Cullip

Laura Frerichs and Adam Cullip began purchased their 40‐acre certified organic farm near Hutchinson in 2008, slowly growing and expanding their business over the past 11 years. They now produce more than 250 varieties of produce, herbs and flowers on their farm, which has three hoop houses, one green house and three electric-converted tractors.

Laura and Adam are presenters in the Land Stewardship Project’s Farm Beginnings class each year. They present workshops and host farm tours in collaboration with McLeod County Extension Master Gardeners, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service, the Minnesota Organic Conference and local and regional events.

Yellow Medicine County
Mamer Farms

This cow/calf-feedlot operation has 150 cow/calf pair and 200-head feedlot with 1,400 acres of crop land consisting of alfalfa, corn, and soybeans. It has been in the Mamer family for four generations. Joe and Brenda Mamer, along with sons Brandon and Seth, who is married to Dana, operate the farm.

Aside from working on the farm, the Mamers are actively involved in the Midwest Cattlemen’s Association and Yellow Medicine County 4-H. Joe is a past director for Region 4 State Cattlemen’s.


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