LEADER-University of Minnesota Extension Service recognized Ernest and Diane Haehnel as Cass County Farm Family of the Year during the Tuesday, June 18, Cass County Board meeting at Leader Community Hall.

The Haehnels currently own 150 ewes on their sheep farm in rural Motley. They also grow 75 to 100 acres of corn, 80 acres of barley, 200 acres of alfalfa and 40 acres of soybeans.

They rent pasture land where they manage rotational needs of cattle.

The couple began farming in Sauk Rapids 45 years ago with a dairy operation and moved to their present rural Motley location in 1978 after switching to sheep farming. Their sheep flock has been as high as 350 ewes. They also owned a beef cattle operation from 1981 to 2013, peaking with a 165 to 170 cow/calf operation.

They raised their children-Becky, Bonnie and Bill-on their rural Motley acreage. All their children helped out as they grew up. Becky and her family still live nearby and help with the farming.

Ernest Haehnel served on his town board for 20 years. Diane Haehnel participates in her church quilting group. She enjoys sewing and baking bread and cookies. The Haehnels have nine grandchildren.

The Farm Family of the Year Program works to recognize families who have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture in their communities.