By Katie Drewitz
University of Minnesota Extension
Fillmore and Houston Counties
The Mulhern family of Fountain has been named Fillmore County’s 2022 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
The Mulhern farm originated in 1900 when Michael Mulhern and Rose Gaughan were married. The couple had six children. Two of the boys grew up and were married but the remaining siblings stayed on the farm and took over their parents’ diversified operation. The farm was sold to the siblings’ nephew and his wife, Eugene, and Beth, in 1970. Eugene and Beth had been residing in Maple Grove with their three children, Chris, Laurie, and Greg.
Eugene was ecstatic about being able to farm. He decided to re-establish the barn so he could milk 18 Holsteins along with working off the farm. An addition to the barn was built in 1980 allowing for the milking herd to expand to 64 cows. In the following years, expansion continued as did the modernization of the dairy.
After Eugene and Beth’s son Greg finished vocational school and married Barb Schmidt, the four decided to build a new dairy facility on the farm. In 1995, the new facility was finished, and the family milked 300 cows. Eugene, Beth, Greg, and Barb became partners in the operation at that time.
In 2014, Gene and Beth retired. Greg and Barb’s nephew Cory, who had been working at the dairy, became a partner. Cory’s children along with Cory’s partner Billie Tweeten and her children are often working together on the farm. Family members along with 10 full-time employees and several part-time employees help make the farm a success. Nick Peterson has been employed by Mulhern Dairy for over 20 years.
Mulhern Dairy now consists of 900 cows milked three times a day. The family raises 850 dairy heifers and farms 1,400 acres. The Mulherns operate a custom forage harvesting business and are involved in custom manure application.
Greg and Barb had three children, Brett, Bradley, and Derek. Cory and Billie’s families include children Riley, Emma, Miles and Brynn.
Gene and Beth are members of the Southeast Minnesota Ag Alliance. Cory served on the county DHIA board and the county American Dairy Association. Billie serves on various church committees. Greg and Barb have served on church committees and Barb has also worked with the 4-H Federation. Derek is a past state FFA president. All family members are supporters of 4-H and FFA.
Families from around the state, including the Mulherns, will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, August 4 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2022 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://extension.umn.edu/farm-families.
Honored families are chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.
“These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota’s economy and the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of the University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”
Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.
Farmfest runs August 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. More information on Farmfest is available at https://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.