Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
The Dennis and Gretchen Kuseske family of Kimball has been named Stearns County's "2009 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.
Dennis grew up on the home farm, graduated from Kimball High School, went to college and then he and Gretchen returned to Kimball to farm with Dennis's father in 1971. The Kuseske farm has been in the family for several generations, Dennis' father having purchased the farm from his father in 1940. The original enterprise was beef cattle which turned into a start to finish hog operation until 1990 when it became strictly a cash crop operation. The primary corn-bean rotation has been supplemented with peas, sweet corn, navy beans, buckwheat and seed corn over the years. The original purchase of the home farm site and 160 acres has now expanded to about 1400 acres of tillable land.
Dennis has adapted and implemented the latest technology over the years, being the first farmer in the area to install an irrigation system - a traveling gun that has now grown to 12 center pivot systems. He practices conservation tillage and hasn't used a moldboard plow since the mid-70's. With the use of a GPS system and field mapping, he applies fertilizer according to soil need. The Department of Natural Resources has been allowed permanent easement of 160 acres of swamp and wetland.
The Kuseskes are committed to improving agriculture and have been a member of the Farm Bureau since they began farming. Dennis was instrumental in starting the first Dairyland Irrigation Organization in the area and has been a longtime member of the State Irrigation Board. They were charter members of the Minnesota Corn Processors in Marshall, one of the first plants to begin manufacturing ethanol.
Gretchen taught in the Kimball School District from 1971 until her retirement in 2001. Dennis and Gretchen have six children: Alissa, Jebediah, Adam, Zachary, Amanda and Taylor. The children are known for their positive involvement and achievement in school and community activities, which is a testimony to the support and encouragement they have received from their parents. In addition to their diligent attendance at school events, they have helped with many school activities and fund raisers. They were one of the founders of the alumni FFA chapter in Kimball which continues to support FFA members and their activities. They have been asked to serve on steering, hiring, curriculum and building committees.
The Kuseskes are one of 73 farm families from around the state, one from each participating county, being honored by the University this year. The families receiving honors were selected by their local county extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.
"The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contribution to agriculture and their communities," said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. "There is no standard definition of a Minnesota family farm. The one factor they all have in common is that families work together in making their farm successful. The farm family work ethic is the major contributor to the success of Minnesota communities and Minnesota's agriculture."
The Kuseskes will be presented a certificate at the Stearns County Fair on Sunday, Aug. 2, and will be recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 6, at the annual Farmfest on the Gilfallen Estate near Redwood Falls, Minn.
Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring this recognition event include University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural experiment Station, the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.