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University of Minnesota Extension

Steele County Farm Family

Ahrens Family

The Ahrens family’s descendants arrived from Germany in 1867 and settled in Havana Township. Great-grandfather Fred Sr. came to this country when he was 17 and spoke no English. Thirty years later he was elected a county commissioner and was instrumental in the building of the Steele County Courthouse. He purchased the family’s current home farm in 1899. His son, Fred Jr., began his farming career on the land. Martin and Lorraine, parents of the current partners, took over the farm from Fred Jr. In 1976, Brian and his brother Brad and their wives created the Ahrens Farms Partnership. When Martin retired, his youngest son, Marshall, joined the partnership. That continued until 2019 when Brad retired. Brian’s sons, Nolan and Nate, then joined the partnership and now represent the sixth generation of the Ahrens family to operate the farm.

The current partnership consists of Brian and Lisa and their children: Nolan and his wife Missy, Amber and her husband, Mark Dobberstein, and Nate and his wife, Molly. Marshall and Patty Ahrens have two children: Kaylea and her husband Zach Scott and Kaylea’s brother, Zach. The partnership includes Nolan and Missy along with their kids, Carson, Miley, Maxx, and Nate and Molly and their kids, Al and Ava.

All family members are involved in the operation from driving and maintaining machinery to driving trucks, making meals, recordkeeping and bookwork. Brad continues to lend a hand when needed as does Brad and Sherry’s son, Travis, and Travis and Sam’s son, Teagun. Brian, Brad and Marshall’s brother Randy live in Texas and helps during planting and harvest.

The farm began as a dairy and livestock operation. It then transitioned into a farrow-to-finish hog and crop farm, then a swine finishing and crop farm, and currently run as a strict crop farming business, growing corn, soybeans and vegetables.

Ahrens family members were and are very involved in their community in a variety of organizations, including the Minnesota Corn and Soybean Growers Associations, Owatonna FFA alumni, Steele County Ag Society, 4-H, Steele County Fair, Steele County Pork Producers, St. John’s Lutheran and Trinity Lutheran churches, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Claremont Chamber of Commerce, and many different area sports organizations.

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