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Bratland Family recognized as a 2012 “U of M Farm Family” for Houston County


By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Aug 3rd, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Jerrold Tesmer

Extension Educator

Fillmore/Houston Counties

Gerald and Judy Bratland (Viking Valley Farm) of Spring Grove has been named Houston County’s “2012 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

Viking Valley Farm is three generations of Bratlands owning and operating the farm, which started in 1945 by Kenneth and Gladys. Gerald became a partner in 1960, joined by Judy in 1962. Their sons Duron and Darin became partners in the ‘80s along with their wives and families.

The farm started with 200 acres of land raising corn, oats and hay, 20 dairy cows, 350 head of slaughter hogs and 500 laying hens. In 1951 a registered Brown Swiss heifer was purchased for a 4-H dairy project. In 1954 and 1956 Gerald purchased registered Hampshire and Suffolk sheep. The swine operation turned to registered Hampshire pigs in 1960 selling breeding stock. The sheep and swine operations continued for 30 years and were discontinued in the ‘80s to concentrate on registered Brown Swiss dairy cattle and crop production. In the 1970s and ‘80s, the dairy herd was shown at the State Fair and was Premier Breeder and Exhibitor for ten consecutive years. The herd was also shown at National Shows. Over 130 excellent cows have been developed. The herd has received first place National recognition for production in herds of the same size and All American recognition on seventeen dairy animals. Today 4-H and FFA cattle are shown by the fourth generation.

The current farm operation consists of 710 acres owned and 250 acres rented; 750 acres of corn, beans and hay are grown. Crops are mainly no till terrace and strip cropping rotation. Over 200 Brown Swiss are maintained with 100 milk cows. The financial and management of the farm is now done by Duron and Darin and families. Duron is in charge of the dairy operation and Darin is the agronomy manager.

Duron and wife Missy have three daughters; Kaitlin, Claire and Kelsey. Missy is a teacher in the Spring Grove Public School. Darin and Sara have three children; Lindsey, Samantha and Carter. Darin’s wife Sara is a registered nurse at St. Francis Hospital in La Crosse. Gerald is active in the daily operations. The grandchildren help in the dairy barn and enjoy showing dairy at the county fair.

Gerald has served on local coop boards, been president of their church congregation, and served as president and se .....
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Beef rotational grazing tour

By Jerrold Tesmer

Mon, Jul 23rd, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Jerrold Tesmer, Extension Educator for Fillmore/Houston Counties A Rotational Grazing Tour will take place on Saturday, August 11, 9:30 am - 12 noon at the Jerry and Susie Frank farm 10775 Frank Rd., 3 miles North of Caledonia, MN, just off Highway ..... 
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County committee nomination deadline nears

Fri, Jul 20th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers may begin nominating eligible candidates to serve on local Farm Service Agency county committees. “County committees play a vital role in the administration of federal farm programs and the pos ..... 
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SWCD extends cover crop deadline to July 31

Fri, Jul 13th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

The Fillmore Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) has extended the deadline for signup for its cover crop program to Tuesday, July 31. Anyone who is interested should contact the SWCD office at (507)765-3878, ext. 3 or email [Read the Rest]

Calling all aspiring farmers and everyone who eats meat

Fri, Jul 13th, 2012
Posted in Lanesboro Agriculture

Lanesboro, MN – Consider this hot question concerning the future supply of beef, chicken and pork: Is it really possible to live a happier, healthier lifestyle and, at the same time, save the family farm, raise animals humanly, reduce your carbon ..... 
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Minnesota Pork Ambassador Winslow attends MAAI

Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
Posted in Fountain Agriculture

Minnesota Pork Ambassador Katie Winslow of Fountain attended the 17th annual Minnesota Agricultural Ambassador Institute (MAAI) in Red Wing and southeastern Minnesota. The MAAI program combines hands-on activities, speakers and tours that encour ..... 
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Nitrogen management for alfalfa-corn rotations field day

By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Jeff Coulter, University of Minnesota Extension Corn Agronomists, Matt Yost, University of Minnesota Extension Research Assistant, and Michael Russelle, USDA-ARS Soil Scientist are conducting research on N credits from alfalfa to corn. This year, t ..... 
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Raspberry renovation

By Jerrold Tesmer

Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
Posted in All Agriculture

Jake Overgaard of University of Minnesota Extension Winona County will be giving a free on-farm workshop July 14th, from 1-2 pm on raspberry renovation at Hoch Orchard and Gardens near La Crescent, Minnesota. Participants will learn how raspberry p ..... 
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Challenging corporate abuse of power brings citizens together

Fri, Jul 6th, 2012
Posted in Rushford Agriculture

RUSHFORD, Minn. — Over 100 farmers, small business owners and other rural residents came together in Rushford last night at a Land Stewardship Project (LSP) meeting to discuss how excessive corporate power negatively affects almost every aspect of ..... 
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