MORGAN, Minnesota — The final day of Farmfest is reserved for honoring top farming individuals and farm families of Minnesota.

The first of two awards was selected by IDEAg Group and given on the afternoon of Aug. 5, for the Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year.

It was the second year of the annual award being presented, and judges selected a winner from five women finalists. All finalists demonstrated a "high level of commitment to the farm or ranch in terms of hours dedicated, positive impact on income, yield, diversification or challenges, community involvement and passion" for farming.

The winner of this year's Woman Farmer of the Year Award was Jane Goplen of Canby, Minnesota.

Jane Goplen of Canby, Minnesota. Contributed / Minnesota Farmfest
Jane Goplen of Canby, Minnesota. Contributed / Minnesota Farmfest

The others finalists for the Farmfest 2021 Woman Farmer of the Year Award, sponsored by Ziegler Ag Equipment, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, CHS, Inc., EarthScout and the Minnesota Agricultural Water Quality Certification Program, were Erica Sawatzke of Farwell, Jessica Blair of Starbuck, Wanda Patsche of Welcome and Pam Weiers of Henderson. The five women were recognized at the awards ceremony as part of the Women in Ag Event.

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Canby is a corn and soybean farmer with her husband, Kent, of 41 years. She participates in the operation by hauling fuel during planting and harvest seasons, delivering seed during planting season, picking rocks, driving the tractor during fall tillage, helping with repairs in the shop, bringing meals and all the farm accounting.

"It's very gratifying that Farmfest has provided this platform for women to be recognized in the roles they play," said Canby after receiving her award. "I'm surprised, humbled and honored to have this award. I think it's important for those that know farm women to nominate them, because I'm kind of living proof it can happen to anyone."

According to Kent Canby, who nominated his wife, the financial successes of the family's farm are directly attributed to Jane's involvement in the financial decision making process.

"My wife pretty much keeps it all together. She is amazing and the Woman Farmer of the Year every year to me," said Kent Canby in his nomination submission.

Farm Families of the Year

The University of Minnesota's Minnesota Farm Families of the Year were also presented with plaques of recognition on Aug. 5. at Farmfest. UMN's Farm Family Recognition Program, which honors farm families from throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities, has existed for more than three decades.

Approximately 80 families (from each county) were named as 2021 Farm Family of the Year, with a little background on each given as they were presented with their awards.

"(Farmfest) would like to thank the University of Minnesota for putting on such a good program," said Amy LaTessa, show director of Farmfest, on the Farm Families of the Year presentation. "Congratulations to all of the families."

University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel also shared congratulatory remarks during the Aug. 5 presentation.

"I'm so happy to be back with you again, and to see all of us together, to be able to honor these 80 farm families who've done so much for our communities," said Gabel. "They really reflect some of the best things about all of the wonderful things in this state."