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Steele County Farm Family of the Year announced

Representing agricultural achievement in diverse farming operations, 74 families from throughout Minnesota are being honored as a 2014 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

The farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning at 1:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 7, at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. The event is in the Wick Buildings Farmfest Center on the estate grounds.

The farm families represent each county participating in the program. They were chosen by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

"The farm families receiving this year's honors exemplify what makes Minnesota agriculture strong. They bring innovation, science and hard work to farming. They care greatly about the land and animals and delivering quality products to consumers worldwide," said Bev Durgan, dean of Extension. "The University of Minnesota takes great pride in honoring these families."

Starks & Sons - 2014 Steele County Farm Family of the Year

Doug and Jodi Starks bought their farm after their first child was born in 1992.  They purchased the farm from Doug’s parents, who had originally bought the family farm in 1957.  Today the Starks farm 2400 acres of corn and soybeans.  They also run a hog finishing operation consisting of 4500 hogs.  Doug farms full time alongside Jodi, who is also a seasonal tax accountant.  Doug and Jodi have three sons; Dustin, Sam, and Jesse.  All three boys help on the farm when their schedules allow.  Until later in his life, Doug’s father also played an integral part on the farm.

In the community, Doug is involved with the Steele County Farm Bureau Board of Directors, Ag Advisory Board, and Elks.  His past involvement includes being a Pioneer Seed Dealer, a Clinton Falls Township Supervisor, Steele County Planning and Zoning Commissioner, Central Valley Coop Board Member, and a member of the Our Savior’s Lutheran Church Council.  Jodi is involved with the church council and the Salvation Army Disaster Team.

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