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Heusinkveld Family recognized as a 2013 ‘U of M Farm Family’

Fri, Jul 19th, 2013
Posted in All Agriculture

PRESTON, Minn. —The Cleon & Bonnie Heusinkveld family of Spring Valley, Minn. has been named Fillmore County’s “2013 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

The Heusinkveld farm was homesteaded in 1856 by Bonnie’s great-grandfather, where Bonnie’s father farmed his entire life. Cleon & Bonnie began operating the farm after their marriage in 1949. Sons Steve & Jeff joined the operation and a partnership was formed in 1973. After Cleon’s retirement, Jeff’s son, Nate, came into the partnership and an LLP was formed in 1998.

Jeff and Nate run the dairy farming operation where they milk up to 350 cows and currently have 320 replacements, raising all their own heifers. They farm 550 acres with alfalfa and corn rotation. Steve retired from daily chores, but does the computerized book work, check writing and helps with haying, chopping, fencing as needed. Cleon’s involvement is mowing the alfalfa.

Cleon served as Fillmore County DHIA president, County Farm Bureau president, FHA board, helped form Fillmore County Forage & Grassland Council, and served on the church board. Bonnie was active in Farm Bureau Women’s Committee, Church ladies organizations, currently still choir member and active Mayo Clinic Hospice volunteer after 27 years. Both Cleon & Bonnie were 4-H leaders for several years.

Steve was a Fillmore County Agricultural Society (fairboard) member for 10 years, Farm Bureau board member, Kingsland school board member for 10.5 years, church board member. Ruth & Steve were on the Farm Bureau Minnesota State Young Farmer Board. Steve is currently on their church mission team and both Steve & Ruth help at the local food shelf. Steve loves to travel to help others and has been on mission trips to Honduras twice, Uganda, Nicaragua, New Orleans (with Ruth), Mississippi, Rushford Minn., Cedar Rapids IA, and Mexico. Ruth is a licensed PCA caregiver.

Jeff & Darla own the Gateway Inn Restaurant in Wykoff, Minn. which Darla has operated for 20 years.

Nate is a FFA Alumni member and Nate & Misty were both on the Fillmore County ADA board. Nate is currently a church board member, and Misty is on the Forestville Township board. Nate is also a seed salesman; a business he took over from Grandpa Cleon, who sold for 50 years. Misty is a librarian at the Fillmore Central High School.

The Heusinkveld’s are one of 87 farm families from around the state, one from each participating county, being honored by the University this year.

The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, August 8 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2013 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, http://mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.

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

“These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota’s economy and the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

The Heusinkveld family will be honored locally at the Fillmore County Fair on Wednesday, July 24, 6:30 pm in the Grandstand.

Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include 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 6-8 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are 8 am to 5 pm on August 6 and 7, and 8 am to 4 pm on August 8. Admission is $10 per person, and those 18 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.

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