The Dakota County Board of Commissioners honored four local farm families and promoted the arts on Aug. 12 during a board meeting at the Dakota County Fair. 

Commissioners recognized Little Hill Berry Farm owners Aaron Wills and Molly McGovern Wills as the University of Minnesota Extension Services 2022 Farm Family of the Year. 

The Wills started their diversified organic fruit farm in 2011 with an initial 1,500 blueberry plants. Since then, they have been gradually repurposing their farm in Waterford Township from corn and soybean fields to a diversified fruit operation. 

Now, the Wills, with their children Ben and LuElla, grow blueberries, strawberries and raspberries They also sell spring plants, pumpkins in the fall, host farm-to-table dinners and run their own farm store. Everything the Wills grow is organic and 90 percent of it is sold at the farm.

The University of Minnesota’s Farm Family Recognition program highlights families across the state for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. 

Commissioners also recognized three families who have been farming for over 100 years in Dakota County. The Minnesota Farm Bureau 2022 Century Farm honorees for Dakota County are:

 ·        The Terry Family Farm (150 years): The 160-acre farm in Waterford Township is owned and operated by Edward and Carol Terry and David Terry.

·        The Childs Family Farm (150 years): A 160-acre farm in Castle Rock is operated by the Childs Family Partnership, including Vanda Childs Pressnall, Brenda Childs Wichmann, Suzanne Childs and Bryce Pressnall.

·        Rotty Farms (100 years): Owned by Robert and Kathleen Rotty, the 700-acre farm is in Nininger Township. The Rottys were also named the Extension’s Farm Family of the Year in 2021.

The board also proclaimed August as Public Art Appreciation Month in Dakota County. Robert Erickson and Cheryl O’Donnell, members of the Dakota County Public Art Citizen Advisory Committee, updated the board on art activities in the county.

“Art All Around Us” is the theme of this year’s Dakota County Government Building exhibit.

 

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