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University of Minnesota Extension

Renville County Farm Family

Philip and Robin Smith

Philip and Robin Smith have been farming since 1980 and currently own and operate the land that was homesteaded by Philip’s great-great-grandparents in 1868. The couple raised their family of four daughters on the farm.

Over the years, the Smiths grew corn, soybeans and small grains. They also raised alfalfa in the past when the family had sheep, cattle, and chickens. Since 1997, the Smiths have owned a seed business located in Sacred Heart with another location in Bird Island added in 2013. Robin has operated a cleaning business in the area for over 30 years.

The family’s current farm includes 800 acres of corn, soybeans and winter cereal rye. Over the past five years, the farm has been converted into a regenerative farm that focuses on soil health, conservation, stewardship, and a healthy ecosystem. The operation is all no-till and includes extensive use of year-round cover crops.

Philip and Robin are the farm’s owners and operators. Their daughters helped extensively as they grew up on the farm handling tasks that included baling hay, moving livestock and livestock chores, and other grain farming duties.

The Smith’s eldest daughter Heather and her husband, Brad Bigler, live in Marshall. Daughter Sarah and her husband, Taylor Huseby, live in Sacred Heart. The Smiths’ daughter Heidi and her husband, Justin Harer, farm near Gettysburg, S.D., and daughter Sally and her husband, Ryan Gniffke, farm near Hanley Falls. Philip and Robin have 14 grandchildren and are hopeful one or more of them will continue with the tradition and heritage of the farm. Phillip’s parents, Darrel and Camille, also help on the farm in the spring and fall.

The Smiths are very involved in their community. Philip is vice president of the Renville County Soil and Water Conservation Board and serves on the stewardship committee of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church. In the past, he has devoted his time to the Sacred Heart Jaycees and the BDRSH/RCW school board. Philip is a public speaker with Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Robin has been involved in the Sacred Heart Women’s Club and the Women of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Smiths contribute their time and energies to promoting regenerative agriculture and the production of nutrient-dense food.

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