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Mensink family recognized as a 2011 U of M Farm Family

Fri, Jul 15th, 2011
Posted in Agriculture

Extension Notes

The Craig and Pam Mensink family of Preston has been named Fillmore County's 2011 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota. The Mensink Family will be recognized locally on Thursday, July 21st during 4-H Night at the Fillmore County Fair.

In the 1940s, Craig's grandfather Earl Mensink purchased the current farm. In 1949 he turned the farm over to Craig's parents, Wendell and Cleo Mensink. The farm, along with their children, continued to grow, adding additional acres in the 1970s. Wendell was offered a career advance with the USDA. This meant a move to Meeker County. This offered an opportunity for Craig and Pam (who were married in 1977) to pursue farming on the home farm in 1978. Pam had been raised on a dairy farm only a few miles away, so they were excited and pleased for the opportunity. The farm operation has really evolved with many changes seen. The mid '60s saw the milk cows leave, and the '70s welcomed the purchase of a beef herd and a 12 crate farrowing house. The '90s found the beef herd and the farrowing disappear and hog finishing barns being built. Today they have 2,400 head of finishing pigs on hand that eat the corn and soybeans raised on the home farm.

Currently, the Mensink's farm 1,500 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa. They finish 8,500 head of feeder pigs. They love the environment and believe strongly in conservation, and still have the original '70s contour strips and terraces. They no-till all of their soybean acres and utilize their nutrient management plan to use as much natural fertilizer as possible.

Craig and Pam have three grown children. Michael just received his Ph. D in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. He and his wife Rachel live in St. Paul, MN. Mandy was married in June to Nate Olsen; she is currently living in Apple Valley, MN and works for Walden University as a manager of Academic advisors. Megan is pursuing a social work degree at Winona State. Through the years they were all involved with the farm. Craig and Pam are waiting to see how their careers turn out to see if someone returns to farming.

The Mensinks feel very strongly about serving the community and have always been active in their church, school and community. Christ Lutheran Church in Preston has seen both of them serve on the council, Craig as President and Pam is active in circle and altar guild, and was a past Sunday school teacher. Pam has also worked as a surgical technician for the Mayo Clinic for the past 28 plus years. They have over 20 years of involvement with 4-H, and several years as leaders and project supervisors. Pam is in her 7th year as a SWCD supervisor currently serving as president. She is also president of area 7 Joint Powers SWCD board. Craig is currently serving on the Minnesota Pork Board, having been past president of MPB. He currently serves on the national committee of Domestic Marketing for the National Pork Board. He is very active with the Fillmore County Pork Producers. Craig is currently serving on the Preston Community Foundation board. Craig & Pam are very interested in the successful promotion of agriculture and the preservation of the environment. They feel blessed and are proud to be farmers.

The Mensink 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 4th at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, MN. Profiles of the 2011 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the U's farm family website,

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 2011 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.

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.

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