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Miller family recognized as a 2014 “U of M Farm Family”


Fri, Jul 18th, 2014
Posted in All Fillmore County Fair

Mabel, Minn. — The Chris & Melissa Miller family has been named Fillmore County’s “2014 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

Miller’s Viewlawn Farm was started in 1866 by Chris’s great-great-great grandfather Manoah Miller. Of the six current farms, two are recognized as Century farms. Miller’s Viewlawn Farms is proud to be recognized as the second oldest continuous Angus herd in Minnesota – celebrating 111 years this summer.

Chris owns and operates the current farm operation with his parents, Larry & Margaret Miller. This makes Chris the seventh generation to farm the land, and the fifth to breed purebred Angus cattle on the family farm. The farm consists of over 1,000 acres with 400 acres dedicated to permanent pasture, the remaining filled with corn, oats, and alfalfa. Two additional farms are rented for added crops. In addition to the 240 Angus cows, the Miller’s have 50 Suffolk ewes and a custom-finish hog operation. Seedstock Angus bulls and heifers remains the primary business. They thrive on word of mouth advertising from third, fourth, and even fifth generation cattle customers. With this robust and busy farm, Chris and Larry are fortunate to have John Brink as a dedicated employee of 32 years. Margaret also plays a crucial role in the farm handling all registrations, bookwork, and most importantly, the cooking.

Chris is in partnership with his parents, Larry & Margaret, and runs the day to day farming operation. Chris’s wife Melissa is fresh to the farm – being just married in October of 2013. She has adapted from city-life and has the job description of a jack of all trades. Aside from working as a Registered Nurse at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse, Wis., she is the photographer, social media rep, secretary, supply gopher, and equipment mover for the farm. Melissa’s son Colton is learning the ropes of farm life since moving to the farm in June 2013, and enjoys the 4-wheelers, feeding sheep, grounds maintenance, and has mastered the art of “don’t tell mom” activities.

Chris is president of the Iowa Angus Association, board member & past president of the Fillmore County Cattleman’s Association, board member & past chairman of the Fillmore County Extension Committee, 4-H volunteer including sheep, beef and swine PDC committees, member & past delegate of the American Angus Association, and member of the Minnesota Angus Association.

Melissa is a key coordinator of the annual Mabel-Canton FFA General Livestock Judging Contest held each September at the Miller Farm in existence since the mid-1960s with area schools and 4H teams. As the “First Lady” of the Iowa Angus association, Melissa helps Chris with the behind the scenes work and social events. She is also involved in various school activities and is excited for the new opportunities being a farm wife has to offer. Colton is active in the Mabel-Canton Cub Scout Pack as well as choir, band, and the Gifted & Talented reading program at Mabel-Canton Elementary School. He is also involved in 4-H in Houston County transitioning to Fillmore County to be a member of the Mabel Busy Bees.

The Miller’s are looking forward to the birth of Baby Boy Miller in September 2014 which will allow them to increase their involvement in all of the opportunities being a farm kid has to offer.

While Chris & Melissa are a young farm family, they would like to recognize that the lesson they’ve learned is that they are here because of the determination of a few men to start, improve and maintain a family farm of 148 years. The Miller’s are energetic, eager, and strive to enrich their community and the farming industry.

The Miller family is one of the many 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 7 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2014 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the U’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.

“The 2014 Farm Families were chosen based on their contributions to agriculture and their communities,” said Bev Durgan, Dean of University of Minnesota Extension. “Farm families are the foundation of Minnesota communities. More than 90 percent of Minnesota farms are operated by a farm family. These farm families live and work in our rural and urban communities.”

The Miller Family will be recognized locally on Wednesday, July 23 at 6 p.m. in the Grandstand at the Fillmore County Fair.

Along with Farmfest, University of Minnesota units sponsoring in this award include University of Minnesota Extension, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Farmfest runs Aug. 5-7 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, MN. Event hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 5 and 6, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 7. Admission is $12 at the gate. More information on Farmfest is available at www.farmshows.com/ffst/index.po

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