Myn brad schloesser

Schloesser takes reins of MARL Program

Brad Schloesser is the new executive director of the Minnesota Agriculture and Rural Leadership Program at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall.
Schloesser comes to MARL from South Central College in North Mankato and Faribault, where he served as the dean of agriculture and as the first director of the Minnesota State Southern Agricultural Center of Excellence. Prior to those leadership roles, Schloesser taught postsecondary agriculture for two decades. Schloesser has been a leader in agricultural education across the state for more than 30 years and became a MARL alumnus in Class XI in June 2022.
In addition to his time at South Central College, Schloesser has served as an agriculture and rural leader in many ways, most notably as a development team member for GreenSeam, a leader with the Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators and a developer and program manager of the National CASE Ag Science Curriculum.
Schloesser holds a master’s degree in animal science from Montana State University in Bozeman, as well as a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus.
“The MARL executive director role is one that I have prepared for a lifetime to humbly serve,” Schloesser said. “The experiences gained as a MARL class member, lessons learned, networking with professionals, class members and alumni during seminars in Minnesota, nationally and internationally all will be cultivated in the rich future ahead. I am excited for the future and hopeful for the ability to serve those who have benefited from this program. I look forward to this with a growth mindset and am optimistic this new endeavor will be fulfilling and exciting as we work at strengthening leaders past, present and future.”
Schloesser brings to MARL three decades of supporting and building partnerships with students, faculty, farmers, ag educators and private industry. His work has been primarily centered around the learning and development of agricultural professions and consumers. He has also been a lifelong advocate for FFA, food and natural resource education, veterans in farming and rural mental health.
“I’m excited about this announcement because Brad brings to the table an untethered enthusiasm for MARL,” said Mark Enninga, president of the MARL Board and Class IX alumnus. “Brad also brings the ability to recruit, support and retain students and other stakeholders, as well as his familiarity with the MARL program and his future colleagues.”
Schloesser and his wife, LuAnn, reside near St. Peter on a rural acreage, tending grapes in their vineyard, a sheep flock and some Minnesota River Valley lands. Their two adult daughters are married and are involved in agriculture. They have eight grandchildren.
Schloesser began his role as the MARL executive director late last month, just as the new MARL Class XII is beginning its journey.
The MARL program is a dynamic leadership development program for active and engaged adult agricultural and rural leaders in Minnesota. Every two years, a class of up to 30 participants is selected through a rigorous application process. Each class has roughly two-thirds of participants involved in production agriculture, and the remaining one-third are business, civic, government and organization professionals from across rural Minnesota agriculture.
Myn roos family

Meet Rock County’s Farm Family of the Year

By Kyle Kuphal

The Roos family is the 2022 Rock County Farm Family of the Year.
“I was kind of humbled,” said Curt Roos about receiving the award. “I was honored that we were recognized for trying to do what we do.”
Roos described the family’s farming operation as “old school.” He said he and his wife of 43 years, Joyce, do most of the work with some help from their two children, Tony and Anna.
Roos grew up on the family farm, which is located between Hardwick and Edgerton. He is the third generation to own, occupy and operate the farm. His grandparents, Julius and Anna Carstens, bought it around 1944. His parents, Harold and Katherine, bought it from them and then he bought it from his parents.
Today, the family raises about 50 cow/calf pairs and a few sheep, grows corn, soybeans and oats, and cuts hay for feed. Roos said they used to raise hogs and have more sheep.
They won the Silver Bell Award from the Minnesota Lamb and Wool Producers Association for sheep production in 1979 and won the Pioneer Shipper Award from the Sioux Falls Stockyards in the 1980s for dedication to sheep, hogs and cows.
Roos said they cut back on the sheep in the 1980s due to problems controlling dogs and predators on rented pastures, and stopped raising hogs in 1995 because Roos’ lungs are susceptible to the dust and ammonia from hogs and they didn’t want to build a confinement barn. They got more into stock cows after they backed off the sheep.
Roos said he likes raising livestock more than crop farming due in large part to the flexibility it offers.
“Your time is basically your own, but you have to manage it wisely,” he said.
The 68-year-old Roos said they’re cutting back on their cows now and gradually transitioning to retirement. He said he and Joyce will likely move to town eventually, but they plan to keep the farm in the family. He said their children won’t likely take it over due to their full-time jobs, but perhaps one of their four young grandchildren will.
“If they want to live in the country I think it’s a beautiful way to live and have a family,” Roos said.
In addition to farming, Roos said he’s been involved in 4-H since he was 8. He’s now a leader and sheep superintendent for Rock County 4-H. Joyce works off the farm as a nurse at the Good Samaritan Society - Mary Jane Brown nursing home in Luverne.
Fmn myn hoefling

Hoefling recognized as one of nations’ top
application operators

An Iowa application operator has been recognized as one of the best in the nation.
Patrick Hoefling of Nutrien Ag Solutions of Odebolt, Iowa, was named AGCO Corp.’s 2022 Operator of the Year at the Agricultural Retailers Association Annual Conference and Expo in San Diego late last month. The award recognizes the skills, dedication and customer service demonstrated by application professionals to their local communities.
“AGCO is proud to be associated with operators like Patrick Hoefling and all of this year’s nominees,” said David Fickel, Fendt application senior marketing manager. “Application is an increasingly vital component of sustainable farming, and the services these professionals deliver increase farmers’ yields, strengthen the economies of farming communities and help feed a growing world. Those values are what Operator of the Year honors and recognizes.”
Hoefling has served his community and its farmers since 1972, when his cousin, a local retailer manager, encouraged him to get into the business. Since then, he’s become well-known to area farmers who frequently request his services because they know he’ll treat their crops as if they were his own.
Hoefling is respected by colleagues at Nutrien for his mentoring that focuses on the practical aspect of application services and the value of taking pride in well-done jobs. He’s also respected for his care of the equipment he uses and the importance he places on timely maintenance and careful operation. Hoefling shares credit with the team in Odebolt, saying, “No matter what the application is, we work together to get every job accomplished professionally and completely.”
Hoefling said he thoroughly enjoys his time both in and outside the fields.
“It’s not work when you love your job every day,” he said.
In his off-hours, Hoefling can often be found participating in community fundraisers, providing landscaping services in Odebolt’s city parks and green spaces and spending time with his nine children and 28 grandchildren.
Kourtney Kaemming of The Jewell Grain Co. of Defiance, Ohio, and Shane Twenter of MFA Inc. of Boonville, Mo., were also finalists for the award and appeared at the ARA conference.
“Kourtney and Shane are just as deserving of this award as I am and it’s an honor to be included with them,” said Hoefling. “They’re both such talented and knowledgeable professionals — and they’re young. The industry and our farmers will be in great hands with them.”
Myn nystrom family

Nystroms are Nobles County Farm Family of the Year

by Kyle Kuphal

The Aaron and Kia Nystrom family is the 2022 Nobles County Farm Family of the Year. They found out they’d received the honor this past summer and Kia Nystrom described it as a humbling experience.
“At first we didn’t necessarily feel deserving of it because we think there are a lot of other great farmers in our county, but we decided that it’s also an opportunity for us to highlight all that is agriculture and what drives the economy in southwest Minnesota,” Nystrom said.
The family is the fourth generation of the Nystroms to live on the original family homestead south of Worthington. They own and operate Nystrom Orchard.
Nystrom said she and Aaron grew up near each other and then lived in the Twin Cities during and after college. They then decided to move back to the family farm and not only keep it going, but invest in it and make it sustainable long term.
“Everything that we’ve done since that decision day is to hopefully provide an opportunity for our kids to come back if they choose to come back, and that’s their decision,” Nystrom said.
That has included expanding the orchard into something more than a time-intensive hobby.
“When I married him I knew that they were always producing great fruit and it was just being bagged up and sold in a small garage shed,” Nystrom said. “Over the last decade I’ve had the desire to turn it into a destination in southwest Minnesota where it’s more than just apples in a bag.”
Nystrom said they’ve created an experience at the orchard that is similar to a winery. They host tasting events where people can come and taste food and learn about different varieties of apples. The tasting events include an appetizer, main course and dessert featuring apples and other products grown on their farm or by other producers in the area.
The Nystroms make a variety of products from the apples they grow including Dutch apple pie, applesauce and cold press cider. They’re also working on wine, vodka and apple cider vinegar.
“Every year we have the goal to do a new product and this year was salted caramel dip that we made and people loved it,” Nystrom said. “We just try to keep coming up with new ideas.”
In 2020 the Nystroms built a new facility for events at their property and this fall they expanded it to add a commercial kitchen. Nystrom said she’s excited to see what opportunities the new addition will provide.
She said her overarching goal for their operation is to connect the community through the senses to agriculture.
“Everything I do, I think of how can we connect through all five senses and be a resource of agriculture to our community to teach and learn and grow, and create lasting memories with their family and friends,” Nystrom said. “That’s what we set out to do.”
Nystrom Orchard is open from Labor Day to Halloween with pop up hours and events throughout the year. Fall is their busy season. Nystrom said they hope to have an open house for their new space in December or January. For more information visit
In addition to the orchard, the Nystroms grow corn and soybeans, have a small cow/calf operation and operate a feedlot. They also work full-time off the farm. Aaron is a veterinarian and Kia works in animal health on dairies.
The Nystroms have three children who are 5, 8 and 10. Nystrom said the kids know how to do every job on the orchard and that one of her goals is to instill a good work ethic in them.
“I want them to know how to help a customer and be a host and serve others and it is a huge goal and desire of mine to teach them the value of work as they grow up,” she said.
Nystrom said the family keeps busy and that their family members help make it all work.
Fmn myn hinkeldey

After 60 years, Hinkeldey still at the helm

By Justin R. Lessman

Sharon Hinkeldey, leader of the Delafield Diggers 4-H Club in Jackson County for the past 60 years, briefly thought about retiring this year.
Very briefly.
Then she got back to work.
“What would I do if I wasn’t working with my 4-H kids?” Hinkeldey said. “I just enjoy it too much to stop.”
Though she’s been at the helm of the Delafield Diggers 4-H Club for the last six decades, her involvement in 4-H stretches back nearly three-quarters of a century.
“I was in 4-H myself with the Bergen club for 10 years prior to coming on as a leader,” she said. “It’s just always been a part of my life.”
Hinkeldey said she first volunteered to serve as a club leader because of her belief in 4-H as a premier youth organization.
“I truly believe in 4-H,” she said. “It’s a good program for youth for learning life skills and leadership.”
She continues to volunteer because that belief has only strengthened.
Over the last 60 years, she’s helped shepherd her children, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren through 4-H as Delafield Diggers. And in that time, she’s seen plenty of change.
“There are a lot more project areas today than we used to have,” Hinkeldey said, “though fewer entries in each.”
Back when she was in 4-H, beef cattle filled two barns at the Jackson County Fair and the dairy project was strong. Today, there are far fewer beef cattle exhibited at the fair, she said, and the Hinkeldeys are the only family raising dairy cattle in Jackson County.
“Things change,” she said.
What hasn’t changed is her favorite part of being a club leader — namely, seeing all her 4-H members’ hard work pay off, whether that’s at the end-of-year recognition banquet or in life.
“It’s a highlight to work with youth and then see that hard work pay off,” she said. “The youth really do work hard and then to see them recognized at the end of the year is special. We’ve won club of the year many, many times, and now we’ve won it the past three years in a row. But even more than that, it’s seeing how they grow and how they go on after 4-H and succeed in life and make this world a better place. That keeps me going.”
Myn kopperuds

Meet the Murray County Farm Family of the Year

By Kyle Kuphal

The Andy and Krista Kopperud family is the 2022 Murray County Farm Family of the Year.
“Both Andy and I were extremely humbled by that honor,” Krista said. “It was really cool to be thought of because we are not traditional farmers.”
The Kopperuds own Painted Prairie Vineyard near Dovry. They bought the vineyard from Ben and Kim Hause in 2014 and reopened it for business in 2015.
Krista said she and Andy were living in Westbrook and wanted to move out to the country. They had been looking at various properties in the area when they found Painted Prairie Vineyard.
“This one happened to come for sale and it had the things that we were looking for,” Krista said. “It just happened to be a functioning winery and a vineyard.”
They thought it would be fun to take on and, as it turns out, it has been. Krista said she and Andy are the type of people who are open to learning and trying new things and they’ve enjoyed learning about the business.
The Kopperuds grow three cold climate grape varieties, Frontenac, Marquette and La Crescent. They also buy grapes from other growers, buy apples and grow plums that they use to make wine. Krista said 100 percent of the fruit they use for their wine is Minnesota grown.
“We love supporting local and we’re proud to have Minnesota products,” she said.
Andy, who is an internal medicine and pediatric physician for Sanford, makes the wine and Krista works full-time at the vineyard. She said Andy has learned to make wine from others and by doing his own “homework.” She said there’s a general process used to make wine, but there is room for creativity, “kind of how you want to finish it.”
Krista said they try new wines each year and added a sparkling wine this year. They also make ciders. Their products area available on site, online and in some liquor stores in southwest Minnesota. Krista said 95 percent of their products are sold on site.
Originally, the old red barn on the site was used as the tasting room. The Kopperuds built a new structure in 2019 that they call the pavilion and now use that for the tasting room and the barn for private events.
Krista said they host events including weddings, anniversary parties, class reunions, birthdays, celebrations of life and more at the vineyard year round, but the busy season is from May through the end of October or early November. She said thousands of people visit Painted Prairie Vineyard each year.
“I try to always have different types of activities and events going that might reach different people, but at the end of the day it’s private and special events that really help us,” Krista said.
This fall, they created a challenging three-acre corn maze and had a scavenger hunt. Krista estimated that between 800 and 900 people visited the corn maze in September and October
She said the vineyard is a gorgeous place that she loves to share with others. They encourage visitors to explore the property and added paths this year to make it more inviting to do so.
“It’s just this beautiful little oasis that you would never expect,” Krista said.
The Kopperuds have three daughters, who range from second to seventh grade at Westbrook-Walnut Grove who have, for the most part, grown up on the vineyard.
“They get to see what it takes to get a business off the ground,” Krista said. “They’re involved as much as they can be.”
For more information about Painted Prairie Vineyard, visit They’re also on social media.
Fmn myn hazen

Beekeeper is always learning

By Justin R. Lessman

Toni Hazen has been learning about beekeeping for the last 10 years.
She says she still has much to learn.
“That’s the best thing about beekeeping,” said Hazen, of Estherville, Iowa. “You can never learn it all, so you’re always learning something new.”
Hazen said she first became interested in bees as she began researching superfoods — those foodstuffs with exceptional nutrient density is said to offer maximum health benefits. At the top of most lists of superfoods is raw honey.
Hazen attended a workshop on beekeeping put on by the Northwest Iowa Beekeepers Association, connected with a mentor and began an apprenticeship of sorts, learning the ins and outs of the beekeeping business.
“After that, I started my own hives and I’ve been learning ever since,” she said. “Now I not only harvest honey, but also make beeswax soaps, salves and balms.”
Beekeeping is a nearly year-round endeavor, Hazen said, with periodic spring and summer hive checks, a late summer honey harvest, pre-winter pest checks and late fall hive winterization.
“It’s enjoyable,” Hazen said of beekeeping, “and I’ve learned so much and continue to learn so much and know there is still so much yet to learn.”
Like how to avoid getting stung.
“I’ve been stung 56 times,” she said. “And it’s not great when it’s on the end of your nose — or in your eye.”