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Extension > Local Extension Offices > Meeker > County Agriculture Educator > Articles > 2017 Meeker County Farm Family of the Year

2017 Meeker County Farm Family of the Year

Litchfield, Minn. 7/25/17 —The Schmitz family of Grove City has been named Meeker County’s “2017 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

The Schmitz family moved to Meeker County in 1966 and worked for Spruce Shadow Dairy Farm near Litchfield. In 1979, the family moved to the current farm near Manannah. The Schmitz herd consisted of registered and grade Holsteins. Bernie Schmitz worked at First District Association and his wife, Aggie, was in charge of the day-to-day operation of the farm. In 1996, Bernie and Aggie’s son, John and his wife, Julie, along with their children, Jolene, Jill and Joel, moved to the farm and took over its operation. Three years later they purchased it.

The current dairy herd on the farm consists of black and white and red and white Holsteins, Milking Shorthorns and Brown Swiss. The family milks about 30 head and has 30 young stock on the farm. The farm consists of 80 acres and the land is rented to the third generation of the family.

John and Julie are in charge of milking and decision-making. Bernie helps with feeding and other day-to-day chores along with help from Jolene and her fiancé, Lance. Joel, Jill and her husband, Bret, and their family, along with John’s sister Heather and her husband Russ and their family, occasionally help on the farm and are very involved in the county fair and state and national dairy shows. Greg helps with odd jobs on the farm when his job allows him time.

Aggie served on the Meeker County Fair Board for 20 years. Bernie and John have been very involved in various local and national Holstein organizations. The Schmitz children have been involved in 4-H and FFA and the family has volunteered at American Dairy Association activities including Breakfast on the Farm and the Dairy Princess program.

The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 3 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2017 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, The Schmitz Family will also be recognized during the Meeker County Fair - 4-H Blue Ribbon Dairy Auction on Saturday, Aug 5.

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,” said 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.”

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


Karen Johnson
Extension Educator, Ag Production Systems
(320) 484-4303
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