Siiras are farm family of the yearThe Siira family was named a 2010 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year.
By: By Heather Huwe, Intern Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
The Siira family was named a 2010 University of Minnesota Farm Family of the Year.
A family from each of the 73 participating counties was selected by a local county extension committee from each county.
Emily Siira said that families are nominated and then sent out the survey.
She said they received a letter in the mail with the questionnaire that they filled out and returned.
In April, they received another letter of congratulations, said Andy Siira.
The farm families were officially recognized at a ceremony on August 5, at the annual Farm Fest near Redwood Falls.
The Siira family farm was also recognized before the Douglas County 4-H livestock auction.
Andy’s great-grandfather established the farm in 1916 when he purchased the land in Urness Township near Brandon.
Andy is the fourth generation to be involved with the farm. Andy and Emily live on an acreage that one of Andy’s great-great-grandfathers had settled in the 1870s.
The farm was a dairy-based operation for about 35 years until about two and a half years ago when Andy and his father decided to sell the dairy herd.
They now deal in beef and have an Angus-based herd of cattle that they raise from calves to finish. They also grow corn, beans and alfalfa. “This year could be a bumper crop,” Andy added.
Andy had always been around and was a part of the farm but became even more involved after graduating from college in 2000.
Andy and Emily met while attending college at South Dakota State University (SDSU). Andy double majored in animal science and agronomy while Emily majored in environmental management.
Emily did not grow up on a farm and was introduced to farming through Andy.
In addition to farming, Andy is a full-time feedlot specialist and Emily works full time as the land use/water plan technician for the Douglas Soil and Water Conservation District.
Andy and Emily have been married for nine years and have three children, Wesley, 7, Ty, 4, and Lacey, 2.
Andy had raised a flock of about 75 sheep during high school. He sold most of the sheep before going to college and was able to make a profit that he used toward his education.
“My mom enjoyed spinning wool so she liked the Rambouillets,” Andy said.
Emily also got a chance to show sheep while attending SDSU at a Little I show competition.
Growing up, Andy was very active in 4-H and is still active in 4-H as a Douglas County Fair Board member and as a father of a first year 4-H member.
Wesley showed a jersey winter calf at the Douglas County Fair. This is his first year showing as a 4-H cloverbud.
“Working for yourself, independence and the whole country lifestyle.” These are some of the things Andy said they enjoy about farming.
Seed genetics, yield improvements and monitors on the machinery are a few of the changes Andy has noticed during his years on the farm.
Andy added that he also does more marketing than he has done in the past.
“We know there are many deserving families in the county and we’re honored to be chosen this year,” added Emily Siira.