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2020 Farm Family of the Year demonstrated commitment to ag

The Andree family, consisting of husband and wife Richard and Margaret and children Catrina and Dawson, of Brownsdale, Minnesota, has been named Mower County’s 2020 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

Each year, one family per county is chosen by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

The Andree family purchased land in Mower County in 1948, selling half of it in the late 1960s.

Richard’s grandfather had dairy, beef and raised crops. Richard’s father, David, purchased the farm in 1965. In 1969, David closed the dairy operation and built a laying house for 10,000 hens. Late in the 1980s, the family raised hogs until the market crashed in the mid ’90s. Richard continued to raise exhibition chickens prior to purchasing the family farm. Richard and Margaret took over the family farm about nine years ago.

Today, the Andree farm, Dobbins Creek Farm, is a hobby farm with beef cattle, goats and chickens. Margaret also raises and sells produce, vegetables, apples, gluten-free baked goods and canned goods at the Garden Spot Market, which she founded, in Brownsdale. The farm is home to about 500 chickens—show birds that are shown by the family at poultry shows all over the country. The Andrees specialize in Buff Orpingtons and Bantams breeds. Richard and Margaret also sell breeding stock.

The family has been involved in 4-H for a long time. Richard and Margaret have been Mower County Fair poultry superintendents for over 40 years. Through their 4-H connection, they have provided various poultry breeds to 4-H members for them to show at the fair. Richard has bred over two dozen Minnesota State Fair champion Peking ducks.

Catrina shows poultry, goats, and purebred border collies. She helps care for the animals and does a variety of farm work. She was a Mower County 4-H ambassador and president of her 4-H club. She is attending the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for animal science meat animal management.

Dawson helps with a variety of chores and participates in Hayfield FFA and sports. He is in the process of rebuilding a John Deere B tractor that his grandfather started to work on over 20 years ago.

The awards are usually presented during the annual Minnesota Farmfest in August; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s honorees will be celebrated in an online video tribute. The recognition, led by University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel, will be available at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6, at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.

“We’ll miss the face-to-face ceremony for the 2020 Farm Families of the Year, but nothing diminishes pride we take in celebrating their accomplishments,” said Extension Dean Bev Durgan. “These families represent the best in agriculture. They’re innovative and dedicated to their communities; they are stewards of the land.”

A complete list of the 2020 Farm Families of the Year will be available at mnfarmfamilies.CFAMS.umn.edu.