Hog farmers to be recognized with U of M’s farm families of the year
The University of Minnesota’s Farm Family Recognition Program honors farm families from throughout the state for their contributions to agriculture and their communities. The 2012 Farm Family Recognition program will be Aug. 9 at 1:30 p.m. at Farmfest.
The 76 families, one from each participating county, were elected by their local county extension committees for having demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.
Profiles of the 2012 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.
Second Harvest Farms; Daniel, Curtis, Dave, Drew, Aaron, and Lee Johnson
Second Harvest Farms was established in 1927 when LeRoy Johnson received three pigs from his father-in-law as a wedding gift. LeRoy did not have funds to purchase feed for the pigs, so he visited neighboring groceries and collected the waste produce for the hogs to eat. This concept is still being used today through three Johnson farms; Second Harvest Farm Central, Inc., Second Harvest Farm North, Inc., Second Harvest Farm South, Inc. and Barthold Recycling. Each day 13 trucks leave the farms to pick up 140 tons of food waste from restaurants, schools, nursing homes, and other facilities. The food wastes are brought to the farm, cooked to 212 degree Fahrenheit for 30 minutes, and fed to livestock.
The farms together produce 6,000 hogs annually. Cattle are also raised on one of the farms. Manure generated by the farm is sold to local farmers for fertilizer. The management team consists of Daniel Johnson (son of LeRoy), Curtis and David (Daniel’s sons), Aaron and Lee (Curtis’s sons), Drew (David’s son), owner of Barthold Recycling, Pete Barthold (Daniel’s nephew), Luke, Josh, Nathan, and Shane (Pete’s children), and niece Jane.
In the community, the family is members of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Oak Grove. They also donate pigs to organizations for charity events featuring pig roasts. The farm also supports Scouts and the Anoka County Food Shelf Golf Classic. The farm has been featured on TV specials, in the Star Tribune, and can be seen on YouTube “Reuters Food Waste and Anoka County’s website under “Pigs aren’t Picky.”
LeRoy and Darleen; Johnson’s Rolling Acres
LeRoy and Darleen then took on the role of management and son-in-law, Gerald Eide and LeRoy’s son, Richard, entered the business. Today, Johnson’s Rolling Acres has 750 milking cows and four 1,000-head hog finishing barns selling 10,000 hogs a year.
They also have 2300 acres of corn and hay. Mark and Cindy, Bradley and Kari, Richard and Pam, LeRoy and Darleen, Gerald and Ellen Eide, Trinity and Emily, and Lee and Zachary are all involved with the operation of the farm.
LeRoy and Darleen served on the Pork Producers, ADA, Norway Town Board, Tri County Electric Advisory Board, Highland Prairie Church Council, and HP Cemetery Association. Mark now serves on an advisory board to another local dairy. Bradley works closely with Rush Creek Co-op, and Richard is currently on the Norway Township board.
Andrew and Jody Bakken
The Bakken family farm has been in the family for five generations. Their farm consists of livestock and grain. Andrew and Jody moved to the livestock site in 2009 and have lived there since. Today Andrew and Jody’s operation consist of 750 acres of cropland planted to corn, soybeans, and alfalfa hay. They also operate a farrow to finish hog operation, producing 3,500 or more market hogs annually. In addition, they feed out 50 head of fat cattle. Daughter Brielle recently got her wish with a horse, so the family is enjoying their new addition to the farm.
On the farm, Andrew is in charge of management decisions and daily operations. Jody does the accounting and does building site maintenance. Brennan (8), Blaine (6), Brielle (4), and Bryant (1), all help with chores and processing pigs.
Andy and Jody are active in their community. Andy has been involved in the Freeborn County Corn and Soybean Growers Associations, MN Corn Growers Association, Freeborn County Pork Producers, Spring Barrow Show, and Albert Lea FFA Alumni. Jody is involved in the Albert Lea Parent Teacher’s Organization, Mothers of Preschool Students, and Sunday school at First Lutheran Church. She is also a hockey mom!
The Rostad family farm has been in Joel’s family for over 150 years. The Rostad children and Joel’s nephew are the sixth generation of farmers. Today, Joel and his wife Bridget, along with other Rostad family members, are in partnership with Joel’s parents, George and Alice Rostad. They farm 2,500 acres of corn, soybeans, peas, and alfalfa, a 60-cow dairy and custom finish hogs.
In the community, Joel has been active with the Goodhue County Holstein Club, church, and helping with 4-H and FFA. In addition, Joel and Bridget own a restaurant, Bridget’s Café, which Bridget operates. Through the restaurant, Bridget sponsors many school and community activities. She also sponsors a pie baking contest at the county fair. Joel and Bridget have been married 21 years and have two children, Rachael (18) and Brad (17). Rachael has recently graduated from Kenyon-Wanamingo High School and will attend the U of M this fall. She is currently a Goodhue County Dairy Princess Attendant. Brad will be a senior. Both kids are involved with 4-H, FFA, and other school activities.
Bruce and Juanita Bot Family
The Bot Family Farm was established in 1960 by Bruce’s parents. After attending SDSU, Bruce joined the family farm in 1987. Bruce and Juanita moved to the farm in 1993 and have lived there since with their five children; Amanda (23), Charles (21), Emily (20), Lee (19), and Joshua (16). All of the children help on the farm when time allows. The Bots raise soybeans, wheat and hogs.
Eller Family Farm
The Eller Family Farm was established in 1947 by Richard and Fran Eller. Daughter Barb returned to manage the farm in 1996 after retiring from the US Army. The Ellers started direct marking beef in 2001, poultry for meat in 2002, and pork in 2005. Today they farm organically, although not certified. They also direct market grass-fed Hereford-Galloway-Shorthorn beef, Tamworth hogs, and free-range chickens and eggs.
The farm is 80 acres of combined open and wooded pastures and 130 acres of rented pasture and hayfields. They also own and manage 60 acres of forested land for wildlife. The Ellers believe in conservation stewardship and cooperate with their local Soil and Water Conservation District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Department of Natural Resources.
The Ellers are part owners of the Farm Market Café, LLC in Onamia. The Farm Market Café sources local foods and serves made-from-scratch meals. The Ellers also support area farmers’ markets in Onamia and Isle and sell to the Mille Lacs Area Food Co-op. Additionally, Barb is the volunteer coordinator for sales of local fruits and vegetables to the Mille Lacs Health System and the Onamia Public School. The Ellers are members of the Sustainable Farming Association, the Land Stewardship Project, the Farmers Union, and the Onamia Area Civic Association.
Jeff and Natalie Leonard & Doug and Nancy Wenner
The family farm was established by Jacob Leonard who came to St. Peter from Germany in 1934 at age five. After being passed down through several generations, Jeff Leonard and brother-in-law Doug Wenner took over the farm. Today the farm consists of corn, soybeans, and hogs. In addition to the farm, Jeff and Doug own and operate Timber Lake Sod where they do sod production, sod sales, and sod installation.
Their wives Natalie and Nancy make meals and run errands for the farm. Jeff and Natalie have two children, Josh and Dani. Doug and Nancy also have two children, Ben and Brianna. All the Leonard and Wenner children have been active with 4-H and have shown pigs at the county fair, Tri-County Fair, and the state fair.
In the community, Jeff has been active with the Nicollet County Pork Producers Board, Nicollet County Bank Board, basketball, track, football, softball, and volleyball associations and committees, 4-H, United Farmers Coop Advisory Board, and the Trinity Lutheran Church in St. Peter. Doug has been involved with Nicollet County Pork Producers Board, Minnesota Pork Board, National Pork Board Producers Service Committee, the St. Peter Catholic Church, and Knights of Columbus. He was also instrumental in starting Ag Academy at St. Peter High School.
Joe and Pat DeGrood Bros.
The DeGrood Bros. farm was established in 1931. The farm started with 200 acres and had a dairy, hog, chicken, corn, small grains, and alfalfa operation. Today the DeGrood brothers raise dairy replacement heifers and finish out approximately 2,400 hogs a year. They also manage 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans, small grains, and alfalfa.
The farm is run by Joe and Pat, with the help of their wives and children. Joe is married to Connie and they have a daughter Sarah. Pat is married to Clarice and they have two daughters Breanna and Karlie. Joe and Pat’s mother, Joanne DeGrood, also helps on the farm as the bookkeeper and the “gopher.”
The DeGrood brothers are active on the Divine Mercy Catholic School Advisory Council and Divine Mercy Catholic Church, the Rice County Pork Producers, Corn Growers and Rice County 4-H. Joe is on the River Bend Nature Center Committee, and Pat is a part-time fire fighter/EMT for the city of Faribault. He is involved with Rice County 4-H Boosters Club. The brothers are honored to receive this award as their parents, Robert and Joanne, were received the honor 20 years ago in 1992.
Melvin’s parents purchased the Neyers family farm in 1950. Melvin and Genny became involved with the operation in 1961 and took it over in 1976 after Melvin’s dad was sidelined due to illness. In 1984, their son Alan joined the operation. It was at this time that the Neyers incorporated the business. Today the Neyers have a hog farrowing operation which Melvin and Genny’s son-in-law Bill and daughter Maria manage with the help of three other employees.
They also grow corn and soybeans. Their corn is marketed to Heartland Corn Products ethanol plant and also fed to the hogs. At this time Alan is taking over the leadership role and is making most of the management decisions. The Neyers have established a family partnership with all seven of their children owning shares in Heartland Corn Products.
In the community, Melvin has served on a number of boards including the foundation board of Heartland Corn Products ethanol plant, the Gibbon School Board, and St. Willibrord’s Church trustee and parish council committee. Genny serves as the Director of Religious Education at St. Willibrord’s in Gibbon. Both Melvin and Genny serve as volunteers at church. When their children were younger, the Neyers were active in 4-H.
In 2010, Lampert Farms in Chokio became a century farm. Mark and Robyn live on the original farmstead that was started by Mark’s great-grandfather. Today the Lamperts have 1,100 acres, with approximately 50 percent of it being run conventional and the other half being run organically. The conventional crops include corn, soybeans, and wheat. The organic crops consist of blue corn, sunflowers, alfalfa, and barley.
They finish-out organically fed cattle and have a 1,000 head hog barn. The pigs are custom finished for Hilltop Swine. Organic chickens, turkey and eggs can be found on the farm. Robyn has two high-tunnel greenhouses where she markets her produce at farmers markets. Hot air solar panels are used on one greenhouse to heat the soil for early production and they are building a 39.9 kW wind turbine. The turbine will be used for net-metering.
On the farm, sons Kyle (14) and Luke (13) help as needed, and Mark’s dad, Jack Lampert, assists in the spring and fall.
The Lamperts are involved with Eldorado Township Board, Donnelly Coop Board, Stevens County Farmers Market, Morris Healthy Eating, and St. Mary’s Church.
The Anderson family farm in St. James dates back to 1880. The farm has passed from Dale’s grandfather John Anderson to Dale’s father Clarence to finally Dale. Today the Anderson operation contains over 1,000 acres of corn and soybean. They also have a livestock operation that has evolved from a small hog operation into a 4,000 head nursery. The Andersons expanded the hog operation recently with the purchase of another nursery and two finishing barns located close by on another farm site. Dale gets support on the farm from his wife Debbie and their children Dustin, Danielle, David, and Danon.
Dustin, his wife Kara, and their three sons Daevon, Kollin, and Alek help with both the crops and hogs. Danielle and her husband Ryan help with the harvest. David works at NuWay and helps make decisions in the agronomy aspect on the farm. Danon, who is married to Tricia, is a carpenter and keeps the farm house updated and help vaccinate the pigs.
The Andersons are involved with Pork Producers, FFA Alumni Group, East Sveadahl Lutheran Church, Watonwan County Fair Auction Committee, Relay for Life, and Corn and Soybeans Associations.
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