Eighty-four families from throughout Minnesota are being honored as 2019 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota. The farm families will be recognized in ceremonies beginning August 8 at the annual Minnesota Farmfest on the Gilfillan Estate near Redwood Falls. The families were chosen, one per county, by local U of M Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

KMRS will be spotlighting a different County each day for the next few days. The Farm Family of the Year for Big Stone County is Tom and Mary Arens. Tom’s father, Tony, purchased the Arens farm in 1962. Tony and his wife, Bev, raised nine children on the farm. They grew corn, soybeans, and wheat, and raised 50,000 laying hens. Tom’s parents also had 500 cow/calf pairs and raised pigs. In 2009, Tom and Mary took over the farm. The Arenses raise corn, soybeans and wheat on 1,200 acres. They custom feed cattle in a 750-head pit barn and custom feed 3,000 hogs.

Tom and Mary both handle daily chores that go with crop production, including planting, spraying and harvesting. Their children, Michelle and Joe, help with tillage, working the cattle, rock picking and other jobs.

The Arens are members of Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Graceville. Tom serves on the Graceville and Big Stone County township boards. The family has also been involved in the Almond Highlanders 4-H club.

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