Butkiewicz' named Farm Family of Year
The Butkiewicz family - Rory, Debra, Louis, Bailey the Collie, Brendon and Bryceton - is named the 2014 Farm Family of the Year.
Each year the University of Minnesota and county Extension offices work together to recognize farm families across the state for their contribution to agriculture and their communities. This year the Carlton County Extension Committee has named Louis Butkiewicz and Rory, Debra, Brendon and Bryceton Butkiewicz, who farm the Kettle River family farm, as the 2014 Farm Family of the Year.
The Butkiewicz farm is well known in the area as a great fruit and vegetable farm along with direct sales of beef, hay, and Christmas trees. They have also branched out into making and selling jams, jellies and steak sauce from their produce. In the last few years, about 140 acres of land were planted into hybrid poplar trees. The Butkiewicz's have also done landscaping for the last 35 years. It's a very diverse farm.
This farm started out 110 years ago with chickens, pigs, sheep and a few cows that were utilized for both milk and beef. In the 1930s, potatoes were grown to sell and hay was always produced for their animals, as well as to sell. Their first tractor was a Fordson, which was purchased during World War II when most of the farm hands went off to war. Gradually, from 1975 to 1995, the number of milk cows increased to a high of 82 with a milking parlor. The milk cows were sold in 1998.
Louis has three sons, Doyle, Kyle and Rory. Rory and his wife, Debra, and their two sons, Brendon and Bryceton, work together with Louis to handle all of the aspects of the farm. Louis served for many years as a school board member and church confirmation class teacher. He remains an active volunteer in both school and church in programs such as Kids Plus and Age to Age.
Rory has continued that tradition of school and church volunteerism. He video tapes many of the school sports games for Internet and local TV programs. He serves on school and church committees, being very involved with the annual Catholic Irish Show, which is a community fundraiser.