By Starrla Cray
WRIGHT COUNTY, MN Whether it’s planting a field, watching the birth of a calf, or playing outside with their three children, Wright County Farm Family of the Year Dan and Seena Glessing can’t get enough of life on the farm.
“Every day, there’s something unique going on,” said Dan, who milks 72 cows and has 500 acres of corn, alfalfa, and soybeans near Waverly.
The farm has been in the family for four generations, and is a partnership with Dan’s parents, Allen and Sharon.
Both Dan and Seena are avid dairy promoters, helping with the Region 7 Dairy Show, Breakfast on the Farm, and the Young Farming and Ranching Committee.
Dan chairs the Wright County American Dairy Association and is involved with Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Alumni. Seena teaches agriculture and is the FFA advisor at Dassel-Cokato High School.
“We do it to develop leadership in ourselves,” Dan said. “More importantly, though, we want to aid in making sure agriculture stays strong in this area.”
“So many people don’t come from a farm,” Seena added. “We need to be a voice for our industry.”
Seena and Dan also teach their sons, Wyatt, 3, Mason, 2, and 5-month-old Tanner, about agriculture at home.
“They learn responsibility and work ethics,” Dan said. Both Dan and Seena grew up on farms, as well.
“It’s really where I wanted to raise my family,” said Seena, who served as a dairy princess before she got married.
The boys like to spend hours outside, helping in any way they can, Seena said.
“I think it’s great for learning and development,” she said. “They’re not sitting in front of a TV.”
“They like to be where the action is,” Dan added. “They can be free and run.”
Dan and Seena said they enjoy being able to see their efforts while farming.
For Dan, “getting a heifer calf out of your best cow in the barn,” and combining corn are two highlights. He doesn’t have a preference between working with livestock or out in the field, he said.
“It doesn’t matter to me if I’m driving tractor or milking cows,” he said. “I like them both.”
One of the Glessings’ goals is to educate people about what dairy farming is really like.
“The environment and the care of the animals are very important to us,” Seena said.
“Many people haven’t stepped on a farm,” she added. People might hear things about farming that aren’t true, she said.
“We hope to educate more and keep the industry alive,” she said. “What we’re doing here is feeding others. It’s great knowing we’re helping others, and we can do it as a family.”
“We’re just doing what we do here,” Dan added.
The Glessings were honored as the 2009 Wright County Farm Family of the Year at Farmfest Aug. 6.
The University of Minnesota Extension office selects one family per county for the award, based on contributions to Minnesota agriculture and community involvement.
To see a list of families that were chosen from other counties, go to www.extension.umn.edu, and click on “U of M recognizes 2009 Farm Families of the Year.”