Jack and Mary Burt and Eric and Alaina Mousel
The Burt family farm began when George and Ella Burt, along with their two sons, Don and Roy, purchased 120 acres of land in 1911. They moved to Itasca County from Iowa and began a small farm and logging operation. In the 1930s, the family started a small dairy herd. After World War II, Don came home and purchased another 120 acres which increased the farm size to 320 acres. By the early 1960s, Don upgraded the dairy farm from hand milking and expanded to 25 cows.
In the 1970s, Don transitioned the farm to a beef cow/calf operation. During this time, Don’s nephew, Jack Burt and his wife, Mary, started investing time and resources into the farm. In 1986, Jack and Mary moved their growing family to the farm and became the third generation of the family to farm. Jack and Mary expanded the beef herd.
When Jack and Mary’s kids got involved in 4-H, they purchased registered Red Angus breeding females, which would later grow into a registered Red Angus seedstock operation. Jack and Mary’s daughter, Alaina, took an interest in the cow business and learned to artificially inseminate cattle and to manage data necessary to organize a registered cow herd.
In 2011, the Burt Family Farm was recognized as a Century Farm and two years later Alaina, along with her husband, Eric Mousel, returned to the farm with their growing family.
The family currently raises registered Red Angus cattle and sells breeding stock. In addition to the beef herd the farm is home to a roadside pumpkin stand in the fall selling pie, coffee and pumpkins.
Jack and Mary Burt are co-owners of the farm. Jack handles day-to-day operations. Mary helps put up hay, babysits her grandchildren, and quilts. Eric and Alaina are part owners of the operation. Eric oversees the herd’s nutrition, breeding selection and takes care of fencing. Alaina manages data, artificially inseminates the cows, and is an occasional equipment operator. Eric and Alaina’s children, Katie, Jack and June, participate in 4-H. They also harvest and help sell pumpkins.
The Burts and Mousels have invested in their local communities. Jack, a retired teacher and coach, served on the local Farm Service Co-op board and continues to invest in youth through mentoring and coaching engineering design and robotics. Mary served as secretary of the Minnesota Red Angus Association and as Splithand Township supervisor and currently volunteers with Lutheran Social Services. Eric is a past president of the Arrowhead Regional Farm Bureau and a member of the St. Louis Valley and MN State Cattlemen’s Associations. He is also an University of Minnesota Extension livestock educator. Alaina is a 4-H volunteer and past secretary of the Minnesota Red Angus Association.