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University of Minnesota Extension

Nobles County Farm Family

D&S Hilltop Farms: Dorward and Shirley Dykstra, Steve and Esther Dykstra

Dorward and Shirley were married in 1964 and began farming and milking cows. The farm was purchased in 1969 while Dorward was serving in the reserves in Vietnam. Dorward and Shirley had four children: Gary, Cindy, Steven and Cherilyn. Steven joined the operation in 1990. He married his wife, Esther, three years later and they have six children: Carl, Karen, Trent, Stephanie, Paula and Lanae, all of whom participate in the day-to-day operations on the farm.

D&S Hilltop farm consists of 2,000 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and pasture land, and 300-plus head of mostly Holstein dairy cows that are milked three times a day. The farm employs nine employees in addition to family members.

Dorward is vice president of D&S Hilltop Farms. He helps with planting, harvesting and many other jobs. Shirley supports the operation in countless ways including preparing and delivering meals. Steve is president of D&S Hilltop Farms and serves as operations manager. Esther is the bookkeeper and payroll secretary. Steve and Esther’s son, Carl, is employed full-time on the farm after graduating from the ProTech program at Dordt University. Karen works part time at Main Street Kids and serves as a Nobles County Dairy Princess. Trent will be a junior in high school this fall and participates in all aspects of the farm. Stephanie will be a freshman in high school, and helps with the livestock and enjoys driving tractor and skid loaders. Paula will be a seventh-grader and enjoys working with her Brown Swiss cattle. Lanae will be in fourth grade and helps pick rocks along with her siblings, but she enjoys riding her bike and four-wheelers better.

The Dykstras are very involved in their community including serving in various roles with Worthington Christian School, Bigelow Laotian Christian Reformed Church, Ocheyedan Christian Reformed Church, AMPI, Nobles County Dairy Associations, Bigelow Township Board, the Corn and Soybean Growers Associations, 4-H, and FFA.

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