Myn bossuyt

Bossuyt family is Lyon County Farm Family of the Year

Sirrina Martinez
Multimedia reporter

In Lyon County just three miles south of Cottonwood on County Road 9 sits a hobby farm owned and operated by Brad Bossuyt. In August of this year, the Bossuyt family was named Lyon County’s Farm Family of the Year, a hard earned honor for many reasons.
Around 25 years ago, Bossuyt purchased the farm from an uncle who had bought it some years prior from another gentleman. His farm ventures include raising a few head of cattle every year that end up filling the freezers of his family and friends, and raising goats for 4-H projects that are sold to local kids or at club sales. In their youth, his two sons, Anthony, 26, and Colin, 24, actively participated in 4-H and have been helping on the farm by feeding animals and taking care of babies from a young age.
“My sons are both older now, so we sell them to friends or take them to club sales,” he said. “4-H families from here to Iowa buy them and take them home, raise them up and work with them all summer.”
When his sons were young and heavily involved in the 4-H organization, Bossuyt served as a goat superintendent and hung onto the title for some time after they were done. Now, he helps by running the show rings, lining up the kids for competition, rounding up donations from businesses, soliciting bidders to come to shows and mentoring youth participants in any way that he can. Bossuyt, who was active in 4-H in his youth, recalls showing everything from sheep to pigs and cattle, that he raised himself.
“Back then we raised our own whether it was the farm pig from the farm yard or steer from the pen,” he said. “We didn’t go to club sales and buy them we just picked one from our own herd at home. Whether it was a blue or red ribbon we took a little pride that it was from our own livestock.”
In November of 2021, Bossuyt faced what would have been a major setback for many when he was in an accident on his farm. While baling hay, his leg became pinned between a tractor and a large round bale. After trying to free himself by cutting away the bale with a pocket knife and trying to wave down cars passing his farm, Bossuyt realized his best course of action was to save his energy to try to get through the cold November night. After 14 hours, a neighbor and good friend from down the road found him and called for help. As as result of the accident, Bossuyt lost part of his leg, but not his drive to keep going.
Not to be kept down for long, he continues to live a life of business as usual, working everyday to overcome the obstacles that the accident created. Recalling the initial days that he was in the hospital in Sioux Falls, Bossuyt remembers planning to buy cattle to add to his operation. When questioned by family as to why he was making plans for the farm so soon after his accident, he told them he had every intention of going back to his regular routine when he was discharged.
“I said ‘I’m going home someday,’” he said. “If I’m gonna go home to the farm and not have animals and do what I enjoy then I might as well move to town. It’s all been an adjustment but you kind of learn your limits and try to get around them or make do with what you can do.”
As for his nomination for Lyon County Farm Family of the Year, Bossuyt humbly accepted the honor, although he put up resistance at first.
“I didn’t know anything about it until they selected me and I tried to deny the nomination,” he said. “They said ‘Well we would be awful disappointed if you didn’t accept it.’ I said I don’t really know if I am the deserving one with having just a little hobby farm.”
The committee, however, insisted that he was more than deserving, based on his lengthy track record of community service and his continued dedication despite the physical set backs he faced. Over the past two years, Bossuyt has continued to work hard to overcome those obstacles and be able to serve the community, all while undergoing years of physical therapy.
Although his role has changed, he continues to go to work at the grain elevator in Hanley Falls where he drove semi truck for 25 years prior to the accident. Additionally, Bossuyt has been a member of the Cottonwood Fire Department for almost 30 years, and he still goes on calls and helps the department in any capacity that he can. Serving on the department has been a long term commitment that has provided a host of benefits including friendship, he said.
“What’s kept me there is the friendship and the community service,” he said. “There’s a camaraderie involved in hanging out with the boys a couple of nights of week and serving the community together.”
Outside of all of his responsibilities, Bossuyt enjoys spending time with family and friends, taking rides in the side-by-side, deer hunting and fishing when he can, helping out friends with their farm and carpentry projects and tinkering around on his own farm with little projects when weather permits. Around the second week of gun season for deer here in Minnesota, Bossuyt was preparing himself mentally for the two year anniversary of his accident. With a little luck, he was able to find another reason to smile after he harvested a whitetail deer.
“A little sugar on the cake, I ended up shooting a really nice whitetail deer that second Saturday of deer hunting,” he said. “It put a little smile on my face and lifted me up for that weekend.”
There are many people and life experiences that Bossuyt credits to his attitude of perseverance, including family, friends, community members and even playing sports and growing up on the farm. If it weren’t for those around him, he said, his success would not have been what it is.
“If it wasn’t for parents, siblings and children helping out, leading me the right way it would not have been possible,” he said. “Even the farm experience. I have been around livestock since I could walk. When I was two I was out with dad in the milk barn and my little or bigger brother. Then the older you get it’s more chores and field work, and so it’s been a part of me and it’s one of those things that it is not easy to walk away from and it gives you a reason to get up in the morning. Old football coaches and friends, people like that, I give a lot of credit to high school sports and other things in life that weren’t so tragic as this but weren’t easy and I think ‘I got through that, I can get through this.’ I say, ‘Don’t stand in my way, just stand alongside of me and we will get through  this.’”
Myn robert craven

Local farmer – and U of M ag economist – lands prestigious honor

An ag economist with the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota — who doubles as a Jackson County farmer — is the recipient of the prestigious Blanchfield Award from the American Bankers Association.
Robert Craven, associate director of the Center for Farm Financial Management at the University of Minnesota, received the award at the ABA Agricultural Bankers Conference earlier this month in Oklahoma City.
“I’m surprised, honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Craven, a rural Jackson native. “Educators that have won this in the past have all been folks I’ve looked up to during my career.”
Craven’s career first kickstarted when ABA, the University of Minnesota and community banks in the state provided funds and hired him to test computerized credit analysis systems, which eventually became FINPACK. His connection to ABA continued to grow, and he has now presented at ABA’s National Agricultural Bankers Conference for more than 20 years.
Craven, who has been employed at University of Minnesota for 41 years, has been part of the Center for Farm Financial Management since its start and served 22 years as its director. In 2000, he co-founded the national schools for beginning and experienced agriculture bankers that he currently co-leads with the South Dakota Bankers Association. He was also an instructor for more than 15 years at the Midwest Banking Institute.
With a background in economics and agriculture, Craven predicts a bumpy road ahead for ag, but believes the industry is in a good position to handle it.
“Since we’re coming out of a high-profitability period for agriculture, the next few years are going to be a little more difficult in terms of profitability, especially within livestock,” said Craven. “I think the industry has good liquidity and it should be able to get through it OK.”
Raised on the family farm south of Jackson, Craven has always had a natural affinity for agriculture and today helps run the soybean and corn farm passed down from his grandparents to his father to him. He drives nearly three hours from his home in St. Paul to rural Jackson to tend to the land during planting and harvest seasons every year. But he doesn’t do it alone. Craven, a father of one son, also has two sisters, a nephew and an 86-year-old mother who get involved during harvest.
“I’m most proud of having a really satisfying career serving agriculture and the people in that industry,” said Craven.
Outside of the farm, Craven enjoys traveling and hiking. He began working half time with his role at the University of Minnesota beginning this past summer and plans to use the free time to focus on traveling with his spouse. It will also mean a little more time at the family farm where he plans to farm for several more years.
Established in 2015 in honor of John Blanchfield, former senior vice president of ABA’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Banking, the Blanchfield Award recognizes the contributions of a non-banker who has made significant additions to the advancement of agricultural lending.
Myn krogfamily

Krog family, Lincoln County Farm Family of the Year

Sirrina Martinez
Multimedia reporter

In August of 2023, 87 families across Minnesota were recognized at Farmfest in Redwood County, as Farm Family of the Year for their respective counties. For Lincoln County, the family of Kelly and Nancy Krog were honored with the title.
In 2002, the Krogs purchased their farm from Nancy’s grandparents, Ernie and Lee Richmond, who originally purchased the farm in 1954. The farm site is located around three and a half miles north of Arco in Lake Stay Township. Nancy and Kelly have three daughters, Jennifer, Molly and Megan. Jennifer works at Panka Insurance in Ivanhoe and is married to her high school sweetheart, Alex Pohlen. The couple is expecting their first child in December. Molly is a senior at the University of South Alabama, where she is studying communications and marketing. Their youngest daughter, Megan, is a first year undergraduate student at South Dakota State University, where she is studying ag business. On July 19, Kelly and Nancy celebrated 25 years of marriage, and they are looking forward to welcoming their first grandchild into the family.
As third generation family members to live on the farm, Kelly and Nancy enjoy the tradition of farming, Nancy said.
“We both come from a farm background, and we enjoy the gift of rural life,” Nancy said. “We appreciate the values of farming, and the ability to raise and involve our children in the operation.”
The Krogs grow corn and soybeans on 2,000 acres within Lincoln County, and through the diversification of their operation, they run their business, Krog Seed Sales, selling corn and soybean seeds to other farmers. Since starting their business in 2009, the family has enjoyed the relationships they have created with area farmers, Kelly said, and their opportunity to bring other family members into the operation.
“We are thrilled to bring Jenny and Alex, the fourth generation, into the seed and farm operation this year,” he said. “It’s very exciting to add young minds and strong work ethic to the operation. With this change, comes a new name for the seed business, Highway 7 Seeds.
As for their children, Kelly and Nancy’s daughters have been involved in the family operation from the beginning, Nancy said, and many lessons have been learned from picking rocks, cutting and hauling ditch hay, running the grain cart and hauling loads to the bin, going on parts runs and other day-to-day activities that keep the farm going. Working together ad a family and as a couple, Nancy said, has been a cherished opportunity, and the Krogs’ look forward to seeing what the future holds.
“We look forward to seeing where and how this farm will grow with the future generation,” she said.
Teaching their children the values of farming and good communication has been an important part of their upbringing, Nancy said.
“We have tried to teach our girls the importance of communication and flexibility in farming,” she said. “Plans change often with circumstances and weather, and nothing is guaranteed. Sometimes things don’t always end up the way you plan. It’s important to have the ability to improvise and troubleshoot, which allows you to adapt to other life situations as well.”
Farming is not always just about profit, Nancy said. It’s also about the ability to work together and enjoy being together in the process while feeling good about your accomplishments and using your talents.
“It’s not just a job, but a way of life,” she said.
Over the years, the Krog family has been involved in multiple organizations. Both of Kelly and Nancy’s daughters have been active in 4-H for years, and Kelly has served on the Lake Benton Elevator Board and their church council. Currently, Kelly serves on the Lincoln County Fair Board, and is a member of the Lincoln County Corn and Soybean Growers Association. Additionally, since 2014 he has been a volunteer for Farm Rescue, a volunteer farm organization that assists farm families that are in crisis. Through his work, he has had the opportunity to travel to North Dakota to harvest wheat, and haul hay to ranchers in South Dakota.
“I’ve enjoyed making many new friends in the process,” he said.
For Nancy and Kelly, working together everyday with a variety of jobs and new challenges, and having their daughters involved has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of farming for them, Nancy said. At the end of the day, seeing the hard work of their family come to fruition is one of the greatest rewards.
“It is satisfying to harvest a crop that you have planted, nurtured and taken care of all year long,” she said. “and seeing what kind of yield you and the good Lord can pull off together.”
Myn bob worth

Lincoln County farmer is first MSGA president to serve multiple two-year terms

Lincoln County farmer Bob Worth has been re-elected president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association.
Worth was re-elected by his farmer peers during the organization’s June board meeting.
“I greatly enjoyed this past year and look forward to another year as president,” Worth said. “I love working with this board and appreciate all the hard work they put in for Minnesota soybean farmers.”
With his re-election, Worth is set to become MSGA’s first president to serve multiple two-year terms. Only John Evans, MSGA’s “Founding Father” who presided from 1962 to 1967, served as president longer than Worth.
“It’s exciting for me to see where we’ve been and where we’re going,” Worth said. “I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the coming year.”
Wells farmer Darin Johnson was re-elected vice president, Rose Wendinger of St. James moved to secretary and Brownton farmer Ryan Mackenthun returns as treasurer.
“I’m honored to once again have the support of my fellow farmers on MSGA,” Johnson said. “It’s been a great experience the past year, and I’m excited to learn more under Bob’s leadership and mentor some of our newer directors.”
Worth has farmed for more than 50 years on his family farm in southwest Minnesota. He has volunteered as an MSGA director since 2002, serving in various capacities, including vice president, secretary and treasurer. He also remains active on his county board and has become a national advocate for rural mental health.
Worth started farming with his father and now grows soybeans and corn in Lake Benton alongside his wife, Gail, and their son, Jon, and his family. In 2022, Worth was awarded the American Soybean Association’s Outstanding Volunteer Award. Worth previously served as an ASA director and vice president, in addition to sitting on numerous ASA committees during his years on the board.
Worth has prioritized mentoring younger farmers and is optimistic about the emerging leaders on the officer team, in addition to the nine new directors who have joined MSGA in the past year.
“MSGA is a fantastic organization that is going to be great for years to come,” Worth said. “I really like the new and upcoming leaders that are coming into the mix with new ideas to move this organization to a higher scale.”
During the 2023 legislative session, MSGA advocated for a grain indemnity fund, helped to raise the ag homestead tax credit to $3.5 million, prevented treated seed regulations, protected biodiesel and successfully introduced a bill that increases funding for the Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s international trade program. Worth said MSGA will look to build on those successes in 2024.
“We need some of our politicians to understand how important ag is to our state,” Worth said. “We’ve got to keep them educated — the more we can get them on our farms to talk agriculture, the better.”
Redwood County farmer Jeff Sorenson was elected to represent Minnesota on ASA’s board of directors to replace Joel Schreurs, whose third and final ASA term expires in December. Three of MSGA’s seven ASA directors will now hail from Redwood County.
“MSGA has a strong state presence, and I felt that, after being on the board for a few years, I wanted to step up and be an advocate for Minnesota farmers in Washington, D.C.,” said Sorenson, a graduate of ASA Young Leader’s Program. “It will be an honor to represent MSGA in D.C.”
Directors also elected members for MSGA’s governing board. Beyond the elections, directors honored past ASA President and Worthington farmer Bill Gordon, reviewed the organization’s 2023 legislative wins, received a national policy update from ASA and looked ahead to the policy outlook in 2024.
“We’re getting things done in St. Paul and D.C. that are improving farmer profitability,” Worth said. “We’re doing our part in taking care of farmers. That’s what it’s all about.”
Myn uilk family

Uilk named Klingbeil Endowed Educator in precision agriculture

By Sirrina Martinez
Multimedia Reporter

Recently, Nicholas Uilk, an agriculture instructor at South Dakota State University (SDSU) and Rock County native, was named the inaugural Klingbeil Endowed Educator in precision agriculture.
Uilk was given the prestigious title of an Endowed Educator, for the work that he has done in starting the precision agriculture program at SDSU, developing new courses and significantly increasing enrollment in the university’s agricultural program, among many other achievements.
The endowment program was started by the generosity of Maynard Klingbeil, a farmer who worked the land near Onida, S.D., Uilk said. Throughout his farming career, Klingbeil had acquired a sizable amount of land, which he donated upon his passing to the SDSU Foundation for the benefit of the precision agriculture program at the college. At auction, the land brought roughly $17 million for the program, and $1 million of that endowment has been dedicated to Uilk’s department.
“There is a million dollars in an account, which earns about 4 percent in interest a year and I oversee some of the ways that interest is spent,” he said.
One of his main goals, Uilk said, is to improve the undergraduate precision ag program at SDSU through creating more hands-on learning activities for the students and expanding their opportunities. The endowment started on Aug. 21, and Uilk is making plans to improve upon the program and some of the technologies the department has already integrated. For example, the ag department recently provided students a hands-on learning experience through utilizing Kubota utility vehicles that are equipped with Raven precision agriculture equipment. They also just added two John Deere Gators that have auto-steering systems in them, Uilk said.
“It’s a John Deere side by side that has all the technology in it of a tractor,” he said. “So we can go out and do labs with those.”
Uilk still has ideas he would like to see come to fruition, including developing better student labs, supporting undergraduate research and industry collaboration projects. He is also excited about the scholarships that are now available to students as a result of the endowment, and he looks forward to seeing the program continue to grow.
“Overall, its about how do we make sure that we have the best precision agriculture program in the country,” he said. “We were the first and others are coming on the line. We want to continue to be the leader, and we want to be the model. The money will go to support that, however that may be.”
For those unfamiliar with precision ag, it is the practice of integrating technology into agricultural production, Uilk said.
“A common one (concept) is the tractor that steers itself,” he said. “Or it might be a drone that’s taking an image of a field and assessing where the high productivity areas are or the low productivity areas, then exporting that map to a computer and using that to develop prescription fertilizer maps or prescription application maps. So you’re trying to use technology to better manage a farm.”
One misconception about precision ag, Uilk said, is that it essentially means you are taking the people out of the equation of farming. However, what it really entails is using available technology and tools to give farmers a greater macro-view of their operations, so that they can make educated decisions in the planning of their operation.
Precision agriculture education is especially important, Uilk said, because of the impact agriculture has on the Midwestern economy.
“Ag is kind of the backbone of the Midwest,”  he said. “The technology advancements, the advancements in production ag, you cannot keep up with if you are not directly involved with it, or even if you are directly involved in it. We have a lot of students who come here because their parents say ‘you need to go and learn about the technology because we can’t keep up on it.’ You can get by without it and not know the technology, but in order to really benefit from it you need to integrate it, make it a system and understand how to extract the value from it.”
After graduating from Luverne High School in 2003, Uilk attended SDSU, where he graduated with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural systems technology in 2008. Shortly after, in 2009, his former advisor at SDSU retired, and the SDSU ag department contacted Uilk and asked if he would be interested in teaching. Around the same time that he began instructing, he started working on his master’s degree in career and technical education, which he completed in 2011 at SDSU.
Uilk said he continues to teach because he loves the experience of working with the students.
“I just love working with the students and being able to connect the real world in the classroom and engaging them,” he said. “The students are why I teach. It’s jut a blast. There are two kinds of groups you work with in the ag classes. There’s those ag students who grew up on the farm, and that’s a lot of fun being able to work with them. But then there are also the one’s that don’t have the ag background, or maybe grandpa or an uncle farmed, and they are from the Midwest, so they have a connection to ag and it may be at varying levels. That’s a lot of fun too, to work with them and to expose them to ag and educate them on the practices and see the appreciation you get from them. It’s fun.”
Outside of his work as an instructor at SDSU, Uilk still helps to manage the family farm by Jasper, a mile into Rock County and some land that they work in Pipestone County, planting and harvesting soybeans and corn with his parents, Wayne and Becky Uilk, and his brother Tyler. Having a career that allows him to both teach and still farm is a blessing for him, Uilk said, and both his passions and commitments benefit one another.
“The farming absolutely benefits me in the ag classroom, and working in ag also benefits me on the farm,” he said. “Being exposed to the research and just constantly learning agriculture, they play well off each other.”
Uilk and his wife, Kristen, live in Brookings with their three daughters, Chole, 9, Luella, 7, and Ingrid, 4. Having his daughters come out to the farm to help him do what he loves is a great experience, Uilk said.
“They love being out there,” he said. “Now that my kids are starting to get older they can come along a bit more.”
Myn madsen

Local dealer honored as ‘Master Seed Rep’

A Jackson County seed dealer has been honored for providing high-level customer service and going above and beyond as a representative of Wyffels Hybrids.
Mike Madsen of Madsen Seed in Heron Lake was recently recognized as a “Master Seed Representative” for Wyffels Hybrids. Madsen was honored at an awards banquet earlier this summer.
“Madsen Seed’s high-level of customer service and dedication to their customers, partnered with passion for the seed business, drives their success,” said Wade Anderson, region manager. “He absolutely deserves this award and I look forward to seeing what’s next for Madsen Seed.”
Madsen was presented with a commemorative certificate and congratulated by members of the Wyffels leadership team for his accomplishments at the awards banquet, which took place in conjunction with the annual Wyffels seed rep kickoff event. At the event, seed representatives receive training on the latest hybrid lineup, sales programs for the upcoming year and agronomic training, including an in-depth look at Wyffels Hybrids’ new products for the 2024 planting season. They also learn more about future growth plans for Wyffels Hybrids and initiatives.
For earning the prestigious award, Madsen will select a custom Wyffels gift, in addition to getting the opportunity to travel with fellow “Master Seed Reps” to Arizona in March 2024.
Wyffels Hybrids was established in 1946 with a vision to produce seed that could help growers be more successful. Headquartered in Geneseo, Ill., Wyffels Hybrids is the fastest growing seed corn company in the nation.
Myn baustian family

Baustian Family - Pipestone County Farm Family of the Year

By Kyle Kuphal

The Mike and Cyndy Baustian family, of Jasper, has been named the 2023 Pipestone County Farm Family of the Year.
The University of Minnesota Farm Family Recognition Program honors farm families from throughout Minnesota for their significant contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities, according to the University of Minnesota. Melissa Runck, Extension educator for Pipestone and Murray counties, said the Extension Committee chose to honor the Baustians this year due to their involvement in their community; the technology and production practices they utilize in their hog, cattle and crop production systems; and their work to build an operation that the next generation can be a part of.
“It’s an honor to be recognized,” Mike said, adding that there are many families in the county that are very deserving of the honor.
Mike and Cyndy have been married for 43 years and have been raising pigs for about that same amount of time.
“We used to farrow pigs in corn cribs and chicken houses and anywhere we could find a place for a momma pig and her babies,” Mike said.
They bought their farm in 1985 and joined the Pipestone System in 1994. In 2009, they started raising baby Holstein calves with their son, Erik. Today, the family feeds Black Angus steers. Mike said Erik takes care of the cattle side of the business and he and Cyndy work primarily with the pigs, but also help with the cattle.
The family also grows corn and soybeans and owns Jasper Seed & Chemical with Matt Haraldson. Mike said Haraldson has a background in agronomy and runs the business.
Farming has long been a part of life for both Mike and Cyndy. Mike grew up on a farm about 10 miles northwest of Luverne and Cyndy grew up on a farm about four miles outside of Jasper.
“We both threw bales and cleaned hog pens and Cyndy can drive about any tractor that we put in front of her, so we’ve been a really good team,” Mike said.
The Baustians have been involved in the local and state pork producer associations, and Erik is a member of the Pipestone County Cattlemen’s Association. Outside of agriculture, Mike is the mayor of Jasper, and Cyndy taught Sunday school for many years and always helps with Vacation Bible School at the family’s church.
In addition to Erik, Mike and Cyndy have two daughters — Amber and Shawna — and eight grandchildren. Mike said spending time with their grandchildren is among he and Cyndy’s top priorities.