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West central Minnesota farm families among those recognized as 2020 Minnesota Farm Families of the Year

The University of Minnesota's farm recognition program is honoring 82 farm families for their contribution to agriculture and their local communities. One family per county is recognized. Families are usually honored during the annual Farmfest event in August, but it was canceled because of COVID-19.

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ST. PAUL — Seven west central Minnesota farm families are among 82 selected this year as winners of the University of Minnesota’s Farm Families of the Year award for their contribution to the agriculture industry and their local communities.

One family per county was selected by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

Typically the winners are honored at the annual Farmfest celebration, but the event was canceled this year because of COVID-19 and the recognition was held during a virtual event last month.

Sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension, the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine, the Farm Family Recognition Program has existed for more than two decades.

The University of Minnesota provided the following information about the area families:

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Chippewa County – Paul Spray Family

Paul Spray has been actively farming since 1978. He and his wife, Patee, and their adult children maintain a 400-head ewe flock consisting of purebred Columbia and Rambouillet sheep, in addition to the farm’s commercial flock. They also grow corn, soybeans, oats, wheat and hay.

Kandiyohi County – Bjornberg Farms

Bjornberg Farms was homesteaded in the 1880s and is currently run by Nick Bjornberg, the fifth generation of the family to farm their land. Nick took over the operation from his parents, Allan and Linda. The Bjornbergs grow corn, soybeans and dry edible beans in southern Kandiyohi County. Technology is used extensively on the farm to minimize environmental impacts and increase production.

Lac qui Parle County – Enger Farms

Carl Enger began farming in Garfield Township more than 100 years ago. His son, Clarence, purchased the family’s current home place in 1952. Clarence’s sons, Wayne and Ron, along with their wives, Amy and Mary, now run Enger Farms. Wayne’s son Stephen joined the operation in 2011.

The Enger family farms about 2,000 acres, raising corn and soybeans. Stephen runs a cow-calf operation as well. The Engers implement a wide array of new technologies in farming including variable rate seeding, fertilization and pesticide application.

Meeker County – Cervin Farm

The Cervin farmstead was purchased in 1947 by Harlan Cervin and is currently farmed by Harlan’s son, Gary, and his grandson Corey. They currently raise corn and soybeans and feed out 50 to 60 head of dairy steers annually. The Cervins are committed to being good stewards of the land by using the latest and time-tested technology

Renville County – Nachreiner Dairy

In 1987, Tim and Janet Nachreiner purchased and started operating Tim’s childhood family farm. With the help of their four children, they expanded their dairy operation. Two of their children, Chris and Curt Nachreiner, became full-time operators shortly before Tim died. Today, Nachreiner Dairy is owned by Janet, Chris and Curt, who all share in the operation and decision-making of the 300-head dairy operation and 1,400 acres of cropland, where they grow corn, soybeans, oats, spring wheat, alfalfa and winter rye.

Swift County – Greg and Kathy Tweten

Greg and Kathy Tweten grew up on their own family farms in Clay County and, in 1984, Greg moved to Swift County with his father, Russell, and his brothers, Tony and Bruce, to raise potatoes. Greg and Kathy married that same year.

The Tweten farm has expanded to include corn, sweet corn, soybeans, edible beans and sugar beets. The family also runs a cow-calf operation that Greg and Kathy’s son, David, and his fiancée, Samantha, have taken over. Their oldest son, Brandon, works on the farm and Greg also farms with his brother, Tony.

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Yellow Medicine County – Paul and Terri Frank

The Frank family homesteaded Pleasant View Farm around 1880. Initially a diversified livestock and dairy farm, the family focused on raising and selling purebred boars. Paul continued selling breeding stock until 2017 and converted to finish custom feeding. The farm has reached the milestone of having farrowed hogs for 100 continuous years.

In addition to the hog operation, the Franks’ farm currently grows corn and soybeans.

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