Sorensens named Farm Family of the Year

Published 5:33 pm Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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By Ayanna Eckblad

The Fairlane Building at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds was busy on Tuesday afternoon as community members gathered to celebrate family farms at the 19th annual Agriculture Luncheon organized by the Albert Lea-Freeborn County Chamber of Commerce.

This year’s Farm Family of the Year was James and Jacque Sorensen of Alden. Not only have the Sorensens lived and worked on their family farm for generations, they are also active members of the community, being present in area sports, church events and other local committees.

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“This family has always done more than just show up,” said Minnesota Extension Regional Director Christy Kallevig.

The couple stood to receive an official plaque and cookies with their young grandsons, Brecken and Caden Sorensen. They also each delivered a few words of gratitude.

“I think being in a community is what it’s all about,” Jacque Sorensen said.

The family will be recognized again at the Farm Fest event in August.

Kallevig also recognized past winners of the Farm Family of the Year Award to stand and be recognized.

Guests were served a meal and enjoyed friendly conversation before the program officially began.

The guest speaker of the luncheon was Darin Johnson, a fourth generation farmer of Johnson Farms in Wells, which he co-owns with his uncle.

Additionally, Johnson is the vice president of the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and the upcoming president of the organization.

Key elements of Johnson’s speech included the importance of family farms in the rural Midwest.

“Agriculture simply equals family,” Johnson said. “It really is the engine that drives the Midwest economy.”

Johnson spoke about trips he had taken to promote U.S. agriculture in other parts of the world such as Brazil, China and the Philippines. He also shared that he is cautiously optimistic about the upcoming farm bill being passed through Congress. In closing, Johnson ended his speech reminding those present of why area agriculture is so vital:

“Let us remember that behind every statistic and every acre of land, there are families like mine and all of yours who embrace the values of hard work, resilience and stewardship of the land,” he said. “The stories remind us of the importance of supporting and preserving family farms not just for the sake of agriculture, but for the future of our communities.”