Little family 2020 Rice County Farm Family of the Year

The Little family pictured from left, back, TJ Little & Chelsea Hatfield, Tim Little, Charlie & Tawna Schneider and Tricia & Nick Streitz. Front, Axl Little, Tami Little, Gavinn Schneider, Jax Little, MiaRae Schneider and Savannah Schneider. Not pictured Lucas Brezina. (Photo courtesy of Krissy McCabe Photography)

The Tim and Tami Little family has been named Rice County’s “2020 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

Tim grew up on a generational working dairy, hog and crop farm west of Dundas. After Tim and Tami were married in 1979, they bought their own home place and cultivated the overgrown acres into a well ordered farmyard to suit the ever-evolving needs of their farming and trucking business.

The Little’s currently run a cash crop operation rotating corn and soybeans, along with implementing the practices of no-till and incorporating cover crops on 300 acres. Alongside farming, Tim has owned and operated Little Acres Trucking since 1977. As members of the South Central College Farm Management Program for almost 40 years, Tami contributes managerial and business support when not working at Carleton College as an administrative assistant.

The family stays busy on the farm. Tim and Tami have three children — TJ, Tricia, and Tawna — and six grandchildren. Family members help whenever needed, especially with the crowd favorite, yearly rock picking. Together they enjoy many “Sunday Fundays” when they gather at the family farm to reconnect and play outside. They take advantage of the land in the summer and fall by shucking and freezing sweet corn and harvesting apples for sauce and cider. TJ has helped his dad with many mechanic projects over the years, as well.

The members of the Little family value giving back to their community and the environment. In the 1980’s, Tim and Tami were both on the Cannon Valley Co-op’s Young Farmer Board and members of the Dundas Jaycees. They are active members of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Northfield where Tami has served on the youth board and taught Sunday school for many years. She has coached and refereed youth volleyball and softball, was a Cub Scout leader, and was on the Booster Club Board.

Tim is a member of the Corn and Soybean Growers Associations and has always been conservation minded in his farming practices. He received the Rice County Conservationist of the Year award in 2012 and was named a Soil Health Champion in 2017 by the National Association of Conservation Districts. The farm is also Ag Water Quality certified through the Minnesota Department of Agriculture. Tim currently serves as a supervisor on the Rice County Soil and Water Conservation District board (SWCD) and has conducted several presentations for other farmers and landowners, sharing what he has learned about the benefits of using cover crops and practicing no-till farming.

Families were selected as Farm Family of the Year by their local county extension committees for demonstrating commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agricultural production. “These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota’s economy and the vitality of Minnesota’s rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

The Little’s will be recognized during a virtual, state-wide Farm Family of the Year recognition ceremony at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 6. Profiles of the 2020 honorees and information on the recognition event will soon be posted on the University’s farm family website, mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu.

Clare LaCanne is the agricultural extension educator for Rice and Steele counties.

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