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Duncan Family recognized as a 2022 “U of M Farm Family”

University of Minnesota Extension News Release

The Brett and Heather Duncan family of rural Hancock has been named Stevens County’s “2022 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

The Duncan family has farmed in Stevens County since 1917 when Walter and Nellie Duncan purchased the southwest quarter of Moore Township section 4. In 1926, wind took down the original barn and the family constructed a second barn and lived in a corner of it for a year until they finished building their house.

The farm operation continued with Walter and Nellie’s son Charles along with his wife, Agnes, taking over in 1943. Their son Roger and his wife, Arlene, ran the farm beginning in 1969, and currently, the farm is operated by the next generations of the Duncan family, Brett and Heather along with their children, Krista and Connor.

Brett and Heather’s farm is a mid-sized, diversified operation growing corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and edible beans using conventional, minimum and no-till systems.

Brett manages the farm full-time with assistance from Heather. Krista and Connor help on the farm in the shop and in the field. The Duncans have a full-time employee, Eric, and hire other part-time employees during the busy season.

Brett serves on the Hancock School board and the Moore Township board. He also serves on the animal science committee managing the 4-H sheep show at the Stevens County Fair and served on the county FSA committee in the past. Heather has been a 4-H leader and is a special education teacher at the Midwest Special Education Cooperative. She is also a Sunday School teacher and helps with the Awana program at the family’s church.

The Duncans will be recognized and honored locally at the annual community meal during the Stevens County Fair on Aug. 9.

The 2022 farm families will also be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 4, at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2022 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://extension.umn.edu/farm-families.

Honored families are chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

“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 the 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. 2-4 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 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 https://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.

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Note to editors: Photographs of families who attend the Aug. 4 recognition ceremony will be posted online at https://extension.umn.edu/farm-families after Aug. 15.