The Mark and Kathy Brosig family of Altura has been named Winona County’s 2018 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
Christian and Charlotte Brosig homesteaded the family farm in 1869. A log house and straw barn were constructed and land was cleared for farming. In the late 1880s, the farm site was moved to its current location and a new house, granary and barn were built. The barn is still in use today. In 1910, an additional 200 acres were purchased which brought the farm to its current size of 360 acres.
Today, the Brosig farm is operated by Christian’s great-grandson, Mark, who took over the farm in 1986. Three years later, Mark married Kathryn Schultz and together the couple raised five children, Hannah, Haley, Maggie, Leah and Greg.
Currently, the farm consists of 225 holstein and brown Swiss dairy cattle. The cows are milked three times daily and are housed in a sand-bedded free-stall barn and milked in a double-eight parabone parlor. The Brosigs also raise about 125 calves each year up to breeding age. Feed for the cattle is grown on 375 acres of owned and rented land. The family has received commendation from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture for their milk quality six out of the past seven years.
Mark manages the dairy farm, while Kathy takes care of the bookkeeping and helps with chores as needed. The couple’s children help milk the cows, feed calves and whatever other jobs need to be done.
Mark is a third-generation Elba Township supervisor now in his 26th year of service. He is the key leader in the Mount Vernon Beacons 4-H Club. Kathy is an elder at Our Saviors Moravian Church and a Red Cross Blood Drive volunteer. The Brosigs are members of the Minnesota Farm Bureau and the Land Stewardship Project.
The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony on Thursday, August 9, at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2018 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the university’s farm family website, http://mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/.
Families receiving honors were selected by their local county Extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agriculture production.
“These farm families 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 farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”
Along with Farmfest, university units sponsoring the recognition event include 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 from August 7-9 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 7 and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on August 8 and 9. Admission is $10 per person and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at www.farmshows.com/ffst.