Yankowiak Family recognized as a 2019 ‘U of M Farm Family’
The Yankowiak family of Claremont has been named Dodge County’s “2019 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.
The Yankowiak farm was originally purchased by Anton and Agnes Yankowiak when they emigrated from Poland in 1920. Their son, Anton F. and his wife, Dorothy, purchased the farm in 1939. Today, the farm is owned by Don and Joan Yankowiak, who purchased it in 1969, nine years after they were married. Dairy cows have been on the farm for decades except for the years Don was in the Army in the 1950s. When Don came back to the farm, he started over by buying a new dairy herd.
Today, Don and Joan and their family milk cows, raise beef cattle and grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa, oats and grass on almost 400 acres of owned and rented land. Don milked cows for much of his life until an injury forced him to stop.
Don and Joan’s son, Steve and his wife, Tanya, have five children: Rayelle, Jordan, Conner, Piper and Hunter. Steve and Tanya have taken over the dairy milking chores. Another son, Rick, and his wife, Michelle, have three children: Haley, Kiley and Jay. Don and Joan’s daughter Sandra and her husband, Ron Gwin, have two kids: April and Camron. All the Yankowiak children and grandchildren have helped with putting up hay.
Don was township clerk for Claremont Township for 51 years and has served as an usher at St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Claremont. Joan is a past leader of Ripley’s Believe it or Nots 4-H Club and was very involved in a variety of 4-H activities over the years. She served as treasurer of CCW at the family’s church.
The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 8 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2019 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, http://mnfarmfamilies.cfans.umn.edu/.
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 the 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.
Farmfest runs Aug. 6-8 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 6 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 7 and 8. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the gate and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at www.farmshows.com/ffst.