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Smiths recognized as a 2013 'U of M Farm Family'

Dick and Suzanne Smith of rural Morris have been named Stevens County's 2013 Farm Family of the Year.

Dick Smith bought his farm site near Morris in 1976. In his early years of farming, he started raising poultry, then added hogs in 1978. Dick and Suzanne were married in 1981. That same year, Dick also started a custom spray business, which he operated until 1989. In 1990, Dick started farming full time with 300 acres of crops and added sheep and cows to his livestock operation.

Today the farm has expanded to 850 acres, growing corn, wheat, soybeans, and alfalfa. The main livestock operation consists of 90 sows in a farrow-to-finish operation. They also feed out a few steers, have a small flock of sheep, and raise chicken, ducks, and geese. Dick and Suzanne have three children, Eric (fiancee Mandi), Nathan (wife Heather and son Kyler), and Becky (husband Bryan and daughter Lucia). Nathan has an off-the-farm job, but still helps in the spring and fall wherever possible on the farm.

Dick was a seed corn dealer for DeKalb for 25 years and Gold Country for three years. He currently belongs to the Stevens County Corn Growers. Suzanne is a member of the Stevens County Fair Board and the Sunshine and Rainbow Homemakers Club. This spring, after 36 years in elementary education, Suzanne retired from her teaching career. Both Dick and Suzanne belong to the Stevens County Pork Producers.

The Smiths are one of 77 farm families from around the state, one from each participating county, being honored by the University this year. Dick and Suzanne will be recognized and honored locally at the annual Wednesday evening community supper during the Stevens County Fair on Aug. 7. The 2013 Farm Families will also be recognized in a ceremony set for 1:30 to 3 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 8, at the annual Minnesota Farmfest near Redwood Falls.

Local Extension committees chose the families for demonstrating commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture. The families represent each county participating in the program. "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."

Profiles of the 2013 Farm Families can be found at