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2017 Murray County Farm Family - Matt & Linnea Surprenant

The Matt & Linnea Surprenant family of rural Tracy has been named Murray County’s “2017 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

The Surprenant farm was established in 1962 by Ralph and Myrna. They grew corn, soybeans, wheat, oats and alfalfa; they also ran a farrow-to-finish hog operation and raised cattle. The Surprenants’ son, Matt, was active in the farm throughout high school and participated in 4-H and FFA. In the mid-1970s, the farm transitioned away from feeding cattle and focused on farrowing and selling feeder pigs.

Matt and Linnea Surprenant met at South Dakota State University and graduated with agriculture-related degrees. They were married in 1988 and moved to their current home located on the farm. They have two daughters, Rebecca and Megan.

In 2008, Ralph retired from farming and the family moved away from raising hogs and concentrated on corn and soybean production.

The 900-acre Surprenant farm is located near Lake Shetek in Murray County and because of its location, the family began adopting conservation practices including contours, waterways and reduced tillage, many years ago.


Matt has been a Shetek Township supervisor for over 20 years, served on the Southwest Minnesota Farm Business Management Board, Murray County 4-H Livestock Committee, and the Tracy-CHS Elevator board. He is a current member of the Tracy-Milroy-Balaton Area School Board. Linnea is a local 4-H club leader, teaches faith formation classes, and is involved in many other church related activities.


The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, August 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,


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.”


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