Jeff and Chanda Sayles family recognized as a 2024 U of Minnesota Farm Family

Published 5:20 pm Friday, June 28, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Sayles family of Austin has been named Mower County’s 2024 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

Jeff and Chanda are sixth-generation farmers and own a Century Farm located south of Austin in Mower County.

The Sayles farm started with Jeff’s great-grandfather, Claude, in 1879. Jeff’s grandfather, Harlow, and father, Sheldon, ran a family-based hog farm and crop farm, establishing Jane Brown Farms in 1960. Jeff continues the Jane Brown Farms name with his own hog operation he started in 2006. Jeff continues to add farmland to expand his crop farming.

Email newsletter signup

The Sayles are contract hog growers with a 6,000-head wean-to-finish operation, and they raise corn and soybeans. The Sayles farming operation includes Jeff and Chanda and their children, Faith and Andrew, along with Jeff’s father, Sheldon.

Faith graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with an animal science degree. Andrew attends the University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and is studying biology.

The Sayles family are supporters of their local 4-H and the Austin FFA and have hosted the Austin Chamber Third Grade Tour for the last three years and hope to continue in the future.

The family also enjoys hosting a yearly classroom tour for Austin High School’s ag, food, and natural resources students. The students suit up for an afternoon in the barns, learning the birth-to-harvest cycle of hog production.

The family attends Westminster Presbyterian Church and have donated hogs to the church’s annual Austin Community Hog Roast dinner. Faith and Andrew are fourth generation Enterprise 4-H members. The very first Enterprise 4-H meeting started with their great-grandfather, Harlow.

Families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 8 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls. Profiles of the 2024 honorees can be found on the University’s farm family website,

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

“These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota’s economy and the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of the University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

Along with Farmfest, university units sponsoring the recognition event include the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Farmfest runs Aug. 6-8 at the Gilfillan Estate. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the gate and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at