Farm Horizons, August 2017

Kreitlow/Ford family honored

The Kreitlow/Ford family of Howard Lake was recently named Wright County’s 2017 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

The family will be officially recognized at the Wright County Fair Friday, July 28; and in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 3 at the annual Farmfest at the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. Fo more information on Farmfest, visit www.farmshows.com/ffst.

Profiles of the state’s 2017 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, http://mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/.

History of the farm

The Kreitlow and Ford farm was founded in 1898, by August and Pauline Kreitlow.

The next generation to farm the land in Middleville Township was William and Esther Kreitlow.

Willard Kreitlow is the third generation of the family to live on the farm, and he has done so since he was born in 1922.

The farm was primarily a dairy until the 1990s, when Willard sold the cows and continued to raise row crops and hay.

Willard’s daughter, Marienne, moved back to the farm in 2002 with her husband, Jerry Ford.

The Kreitlow/Ford family credits much of their farm’s success to their highly-cooperative relationship with their neighbor farmers, Kevin and Kelly Stokes.

The family owns 288 acres, and much of that is rented to the Stokes. All of the land is in soil and water conservation practices.

Marienne and Jerry raise replacement heifers for the Stokes’ dairy and have a small grass-finished beef herd. They also grow organic garlic and potatoes for market, in addition to eggs from their laying flock.

Willard is a founding member of the Wright County Parks Board and served for more than 40 years. He served about that long on the Soil and Water Conservation District Board, as well.

Jerry works for the Sustainable Farming Association of Minnesota, and directs the Minnesota Garlic Festival. He is currently participating in research projects with the University of Minnesota, and has volunteered with 4-H.

Marienne is a professional musician who regularly works with the music program at Buffalo United Methodist Church.

Selecting a farm

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,” explained 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.”

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