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Kruse Family recognized as a 2022 ‘U of M Farm Family’

Kruse Family recognized as a 2022 ‘U of M Farm Family’


By Katie Drewitz, University of Minnesota Extension 

PRESTON and CALEDONIA, Minn. (08/02/2022) — The Kruse family Eitzen has been named Houston County’s “2022 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.


Kruse Farms started in 1961 when Donald and Belva Kruse purchased the original 160-acre farm. In 1965, they added an adjoining 100-acre farm. At that time, the Kruse family milked cows and raised beef cattle and hogs. Belva also raised butcher chickens and laying hens.

The couple’s sons, Charlie and Kevin, joined the operation in 1980. Over the years, an additional 580 acres were purchased by the Kruse families. They grew corn, soybeans, hay and oats. The family also raised beef cows and calves, feeder cattle were purchased and finished, and the farm was home to a farrow-to-finish hog operation.

Currently, Charlie and his wife, Julie, and Kevin and his wife, Karen, are the owners of the farm. They own and rent 1,500 acres of cropland growing corn, soybeans, oats, and hay. The families raise 250 beef cow pairs and fatten all their calves. They own a 1,200-head hog nursery that is rented out.

Charlie’s son, Jacob, and the brothers’ nephew, James Sweet, work on the farm seasonally as they are able. Jacob and James have full-time jobs off the farm. Julie and Karen work off the farm as well.

Charlie and Julie’s family includes Kristin and Jonah Ross; Jacob and Chrissy Kruse; Lindsey and Derek Nelson; Carrie and Jesse Klug; Jesse and Aubrey Buttell and Megan Buttell. Charlie and Julie have 10 grandchildren.

Kevin and Karen’s family includes Emily and Mark Stein; Laura and Isaac Goetzinger; Sarah and James Little. Kevin and Karen have three grandchildren.

Charlie is a retired member of the Eitzen Fire Department where he served for 32 years. He is currently a member of the board of directors for the Equity Northeast Iowa Sales Barn. The Kruses are members of the Houston County and Allamakee County Cattlemen’s Associations.

Families from around the state, including the Kruse’s, will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 4 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2022 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://extension.umn.edu/farm-families.


Honored families are chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.


“These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota's economy and the vitality of Minnesota's rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of the University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.” 


Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include the University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. 

Farmfest runs Aug. 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8.00 in advance or $10.00 at the gate and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at https://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.

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