Farm Horizons, Oct. 2017

Meeker Co. farm family of the year

The Schmitz family of Manannah Valley was recently named the 2017 Meeker County Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

The Schmitz family moved to Meeker County in 1966, and worked for Spruce Shadow Dairy Farm near Litchfield.

In 1979, the family moved to their current farm near Manannah.

The Schmitz herd consisted of registered and grade Holsteins.

Bernie Schmitz worked at First District Association, and his wife, Aggie, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of the farm.

In 1996, their son, John, and his wife, Julie, along with their grandchildren, Jolene, Jill, and Joel, moved to the farm and took over its operation. Three years later, they purchased it.

The current dairy herd on the farm consists of black-and-white and red-and-white Holsteins, milking shorthorns, and brown Swiss. The family milks about 30 head, and has 30 young stock on the farm. The farm consists of 80 acres, and the land is rented to the third generation of the family.

John and Julie are in charge of milking and decision-making. Bernie helps with feeding and other day-to-day chores, along with help from Jolene and her fiancé, Lance.

Jill and her husband, Bret, and their family, along with John’s sister, Heather, and her husband, Russ, and their family occasionally help on the farm and are very involved in the county fair, and state and national dairy shows.

Aggie served on the Meeker County Fair Board for 20 years. Bernie and John have been very involved in various local and national Holstein organizations.

The Schmitz children have been involved in 4-H and FFA, and the family has volunteered at American Dairy Association activities, including Breakfast on the Farm, and the dairy princess program.

The family was officially recognized in a ceremony Aug. 3 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls.

Families receiving honors were selected by their local county Extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agriculture production.

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