The Mike and Jennifer Rupprecht family of Earth-Be-Glad Farm in Lewiston has been named Winona County's 2013 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
The Rupprechts raise animals, corn, hay, small grain and soybeans on the farm, originally settled by Mike's great-great grandfather, William Kastner. The farm is 275 acres of permanent pasture and organic crops 15 miles from Winona. The Rupprechts been using sustainable practices for more than 25 years and have been certified organic since 2001. The Rupprechts’ system of intensive rotational grazing provides food for their cattle. Other hallmarks of their system include humane treatment of animals birth through slaughter, soil regeneration, zero pesticide use, increased biodiversity, erosion prevention, reduced fossil fuel use, holistic planning and respect for ecosystem processes.
The Rupprechts have been long-time supporters of sustainable and organic agriculture causes and the local food movement. They have served as board members of several organizations, including the Land Stewardship Project, Sustainable Farming Association, Bluff Country Co-op and the Winona Farmers Market. In addition, they've hosted numerous farm tours to educate consumers of all ages about the source of their food. In 2010 the farm received an Engaged Partnership Award from Winona State University for its involvement in WSU's year-long focus on sustainable agriculture and foods.
The Rupprechts are one of 87 farm families from around the state, one from each participating county, being honored by the university this year. The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony on Aug. 8 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn.