Farm Horizons, December 2014
Area farms named 2014 Farm Families
Carlson’s Orchard, Bakery, and Restaurant in Wright County; Buetow Farms in Carver County; Enelmann Dairy in McLeod County; and Tony and Patti Fisher family farm in Meeker County were named 2014 Farm Families.
The University of Minnesota Farm Family recognition program has existed for more than two decades and honors farm families from throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities.
The 2014 Farm Families will be honored at a program Thursday, Aug. 7 at 1:30 p.m. at Minnesota Farmfest (which takes place Tuesday, Aug. 5 through Thursday, Aug. 7), at Gilfillan Estate, located at 28269 Hwy. 67 in Morgan.
All of the honored farm families have made significant contributions to Minnesota agriculture and their communities.
Carlson’s Orchard, Bakery, and Restaurant
Joe Carlson was first introduced to farming in 1972, at age 15. Three years later, he left the farm for college and a career in sales, traveling to the Pacific Northwest. There, he visited many orchards and began studying the industry.
In 1985, Joe and his wife, Colleen, planted the first of 4,000 apple trees on the Stockholm Township farm near Winsted that they purchased from Joe’s parents.
While waiting the required years for the trees to bear fruit, Joe remained in Oregon. For seven summers, Colleen tended the orchard while caring for their two growing boys. Finally, in 1992, Joe left Oregon and returned full time to the Minnesota farm.
Growing apples was the easiest part of the orchard operation. Marketing the fruit to provide sustainable income was the challenge.
It became obvious that something needed to be done to draw customers, so the dairy barn built in 1932 was targeted for conversion to a bakery and restaurant in 1994.
Joe and Colleen converted the barn while scouring restaurant auctions for equipment and supplies. They also spent many hours developing and testing pie recipes, as well as creating a restaurant menu.
This year is the 20th anniversary in “The Barn.” Fifty seasonal employees deliver smiles and give an optimal experience to visitors at the orchard.
Years ago, the Carlsons traded their life in the city for farm life, and if asked if they would do it again, the short answer is, “In a heartbeat!”
Buetow Farms Inc.
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 on the farm daily, 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.
In 1945, Engelmann Dairy was purchased by Roger’s parents. Roger and Peggy joined them in 1973. At the time of partnering, there were 40 milk cows and a small hog operation.
As time went on, the pigs were phased out of the operation, and the dairy was expanded.
In 1986, Peggy and Roger bought the farm, and they continued to grow the dairy and make improvements to the farm.
After their sons graduated from college, they joined the operation; Chris in 1999, and Josh in 2001.
In 2003, Chris and Josh purchased Woodland Dairy, a dairy with 1,200 cows in Waverly; and in 2009, they purchased a heifer facility east of Winsted.
Today, Engelmann Dairy milks 550 cows.
The calving for both farms is done at Englemann Dairy in Plato, and the calf raising is done at the heifer facility.
The Engelmanns also run 3,500 acres of alfalfa, corn, and soybeans.
Roger and Peggy enjoy partnering with their two sons and one daughter-in-law; Chris, Josh, and Kristin Engelmann. They are also thrilled to receive help in the summer from granddaughter Samantha Logue.
Peggy is involved with the McLeod Dairy Association Board and McLeod Dairy Princess program.
Roger is on the Feedlot Committee for McLeod County.
The Englemanns donate dairy products for the local Lions Club’s celebrations and Plato Dairy Day, and conduct tours throughout the year, as well.
Tony and Patti Fisher family
The Fisher family farm, located near Watkins, was homesteaded in 1876, by Tony’s great-great-grandfather, Peter Pennertz.
Peter sold the farm to his son, Henry, in 1929, and Dick and Jane purchased the farm from Henry in 1961.
Tony began farming with Dick and Jane in 1985, and has farmed with them ever since.
Today, the Fishers milk 65 cows. They raise all of their own young stock and feed out the bull calves.
In addition to the livestock, they grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat.
On the farm, Tony takes care of the dairy operation and assists with the field work.
Dick cares for the calves and assists with the field work.
Tony and Patti’s children, Kelsey, Nicole, and Andrew, help with the feeding, milking, and field work.
Jane and Patti support their husbands with book work and other tasks where they can be of assistance.
The Fishers are involved in their church, 4-H, school sports, and with other school activities. They can also be found volunteering at the Meeker County Fair in the American Dairy Association malt booth and the 4-H food stand.