The Hovel family of Cannon Falls has been named Goodhue County’s 2019 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
Gary Hovel began his farming career in 1969 with a John Deere B tractor that he purchased from his grandfather’s auction. Fifty years later, Gary is still farming the land he first rented. When Gary started farming he raised a flock of sheep and over the years transitioned to beef cattle and hogs.
Hovel Farms currently raises corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay. The farm is home to a 120-head Gelbvieh Balancer cow-calf herd. The Hovels custom finish hogs in several finishing barns and provide custom field work for area farmers. The family also owns and operates Hovel Farms Trucking that hauls feeder pigs and market hogs.
Gary and Nancy farm with their three children: Brad and his wife, Kelly, and their kids, Lily and Riggin; Greg and his wife, Courtney, and their kids Cashton and Caleb; Terri and her husband, Ross, and their children, Jordon, Max and Larissa. The grandchildren lend a hand by feeding bottle calves, picking rocks and assisting in the pig barns. Jordon, the oldest of the grandkids, helps with field work, daily chores and maintenance.
Gary has served as a supervisor on the Cannon Falls Township Board. Nancy volunteers with the Goodhue County 4-H program and two years ago received the 2017 Goodhue County Friend of 4-H Award. She’s also served on the county FSA committee. Nancy and Gary are very involved with the Cannon Valley Fair in Cannon Falls.
Hovel Farms are involved with the Goodhue County and Minnesota Pork Producers Associations and are members of the Goodhue County and Minnesota Corn and Soybean Growers Associations. The family received the Outstanding Conservation Farmers award from the Goodhue County Soil and Water Conservation District and has received the Cannon Falls Honorary Chapter FFA Degree.
The families were recognized in a ceremony Aug. 8 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls.
Families receiving honors were selected by their local county Extension committees and have demonstrated a commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture and agriculture 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.”
Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine.