Representing agricultural achievement in diverse farming operations, 74 families from throughout Minnesota are being honored as a 2014 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota. In Carver County, that honor goes to the Buetow Farm in Cologne.
The farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning at 1:30 p.m. at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls on Thursday, Aug. 7. 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 great pride in honoring these families.”
The Buetow Farm, located near Cologne, began in 1891 when Christoff Buetow purchased the original farm of 170 acres. Over the years, the farm was passed down through many generations.
It was passed from Christoff to his son, Raymond. Then, after Raymond’s death, his two sons Earl and Ralph took over the farm. In 1989 a corporation was formed to include Earl’s son Gerry and Ralph’s son Steve. Today Gerry and Steve manage the farm. They and their families milk 150 Holsteins between two farm sites.
The families raise all of their own replacements and sell their bull calves. They also grow corn, soybeans, and alfalfa on 1,525 acres of owned and rented land.
Gerry and his wife, Denise, have three sons: Brian, Chris, and Jacob. Chris joined his father in the family operation in 2003. Brian, a mechanic for an Ag dealership, and Jacob, a construction worker, both use their skills on the farm to help their family.
Steve and his wife, Jen, have a son and a daughter, Austin and Carley, both of whom are in high school. Austin works daily on the farm and is going to join the operation when he finishes college. Carley helps where and when she is needed. In the community, the Buetows are actively involved in their local church and its events.
The full list of farm families can be found at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/families-by-year/2014-farm-families. To learn more about Farmfest, visit www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.