By Jon Tatting
Seventy-six families including a couple from the Rush City area have been named a “2012 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.
Representing Chisago County are Roger and Linda Blazek, whose farmstead is located on Elmwood Avenue off Co. Rd. 7, just a few miles southwest of Rush City.
They and fellow farm families from across the state were chosen by their local county Extension committees for having demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.
“Farm families and agriculture are a major driver of Minnesota’s economy and the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these outstanding families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”
From outside their farmhouse last week, Linda and Roger said they were quite surprised by their selection and even nomination. They shared what the honor means to them.
“It’s kinda nice to be recognized as people providing food for other people,” the couple explained. “Our kids grew up helping with daily farm chores, from milking cows to bailing hay. They earned a work ethic and learned responsibility, which has helped them through life.
“And we’re not a big, super farm,” Roger added. “We’re a basic farm of about 300 acres.”
Purchasing their farm in 1966, the Blazeks started with 120 acres but now have 257 acres and rent an additional 60 acres. Roger noted it was mainly a dairy operation for 40 years, until about seven years ago when things slowed down to crop farming (corn, soybeans and wheat) and about 55 head of beef cattle including two sets of calves.
Roger has three grown children, Keith, Denise and Kimberly, and so does Linda with Bryan, Anita and Jeri.
In the community, Roger has been involved with groups such as the Almelund Creamery Board and Rush City Coop Board. Linda’s children participated in 4-H, meaning she often worked in the exhibit booth at the county fair.
The Blazeks will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 9 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of all the 2012 honorees can be found at mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.
The Farm Family Recognition Program has been done every year since 1980. It is sponsored by the University of Minnesota Extension, College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and Farmfest.