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Keeping it in the family, Deutzes chosen Farm Family of the Year

July 21, 2011
By Steve Browne , Marshall Independent

MARSHALL - It was actually news to Greg and Mary Deutz they had been chosen Lyon County's "Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota Extension.

"It was a surprise,"?Greg Deutz said. "I'm not sure how they picked us, needed a family I guess."

But now that they know it's ironic they may be too busy to attend the recognition ceremony in Redwood Falls this August.

Article Photos

Photo by Steve Browne
Greg and Mary Deutz and their eight children were chosen Farm Family of the Year for Lyon County by the University of Minnesota Extension. However, they might be too busy haying and replacing the roof of the barn ripped off by the July 1 storm to attend the recognition ceremony in Redwood Falls next month.

Greg Deutz said the family may be busy haying around that time. Not to mention replacing the barn roof torn off by the July 1 storm, repairing a silo, and various other damage.

"First there was all the snow this year, we were constantly moving snow just to feed the animals," Greg Deutz said. "Then when the snow melted, there was the mud."

Asked what made farming worthwhile, Greg Deutz said, "You picked the wrong year to ask that."

But it does seem to be worthwhile for Greg, Mary, and their eight children, in spite of the stresses.

"We're pretty laid back," Mary Deutz said. "The kids have learned a good work ethic, plus they've learned how to deal with stresses, and they've learned how to work together."

According to Bob Byrnes, regional director of the U of M Extension, each county in the state has an extension committee appointed by the county board of commissioners. The university delegates responsibility for choosing the Farm Family of the Year to the committee.

"It's by no means a contest," Byrnes said. "The family is selected based on how they represent what is positive about agriculture in the county, and positive contributions they're making to their counties."

Byrnes said the committees take into account the geography of the county and the diversity of agriculture when they select the family of the year.

The Deutzes work a farm Greg's parents bought in 1967. Mary Deutz grew up on a farm by Garvin.

"We met somewhere in between," Greg Deutz said.

They married in 1990 and have eight children between the ages of 4 and 19.

"I was one of those who didn't plan on staying with a farmer," Mary Deutz said. "But now having a family, they find things to do outside. They build forts, play with the animals, take bike rides, and get out and explore."

The Deutzes grow corn, oats and alfalfa. They used to raise hogs and beef cows, but a few years back decided to concentrate more on dairy when Greg's brother got out of dairy and sold his cows to Greg.

They also raise ducks, geese, and peacocks as a hobby.

"A peacock is just a lawn ornament that gets out of the way of the mower," Greg Deutz said.

As to whether the kids will continue the farming tradition, Kenny, 19, a student at University of Minnesota, said, "Possibly. Right now I'm looking at being a large animal veterinarian. Maybe I'll have a hobby farm on the side."

Eric, 17, said he plans to go into broadcast journalism.

"But I'll be glad to say that I did it," Eric Deutz said, "for the work ethic and responsibility. I got that at an early point in my life."

The Deutz kids all have farm chores to do like milking the cows, dairy farming is still a labor-intensive enterprise. But it's not all work and a farm presents a lot of opportunities for play.

Adrid, 9, said she likes the room to ride her bike around. Four-year-old Hope just said, "I can have fun and I like the kittens."



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