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2 local families receive farming award

The Randy and Billie Jo Forster family of Aitkin County and Duane and Virginia Smart of Crow Wing County both have been named a 2016 Minnesota Farm Family of the Year.

The Randy and Billie Jo Forster family of Aitkin County and Duane and Virginia Smart of Crow Wing County both have been named a 2016 Minnesota Farm Family of the Year.

There were 81 families awarded this year, representing counties throughout the state, according to a release from Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin. The honorees were chosen by local University of Minnesota Extension committees, with selections based on "demonstrated commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture."

"The profession of farming is a fundamental calling that the rest of our society relies on for their food," Lueck said in the release. "Congratulations and thank you to both families for raising the food we enjoy and also protecting our environment."

Profile information provided by the U of M indicates the Smarts' farm has been in the family since 1903. They raise corn, small grains and hay. The Forsters purchased their farm in 2001 and they harvest cranberries, wild rice, soybeans and hay.

Farm Family award recipients will be recognized Aug. 4 during the annual Farmfest event near Redwood Falls. Visit mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/ for more information regarding the Farm Family Recognition Program.

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