May 24, 2024

Blume Family Honored as Farm Family of the Year

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Jake Sias

Grant County Herald

The Blume family, fourth-generation farmers of Grant County, have been recognized as Farm Family of the Year 2023 by the University of Minnesota Farm Family Recognition Program. This honor pays tribute to their considerable contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities.

The Farm Family Recognition Program, initiated in 1979, is coordinated by the University of Minnesota Extension, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. It applauds the tireless efforts and accomplishments of Minnesota farmers.

The Blume family legacy in farming dates back to Dana Blume’s great-grandparents, who were both farmers and blacksmiths. Dana’s grandfather, Leonard Blume, further diversified the family’s engagement in the industry by operating a local John Deere shop and farming alongside Dana’s father and uncles. Leonard advocated for sugar beet farming in the region, encouraging local farmers to adopt this crop and supplying necessary farming equipment, thereby leaving a lasting legacy in the agricultural landscape of Grant County.

Dana Blume’s farming journey began in 1988 when he joined the family operation after his father, Dale Blume, and his uncles decided to divide the farm. In 1996, he independently rented a 140-acre land parcel where he planted wheat, marking his inaugural venture into the domain of sole farm ownership.

Meeting Katy at the University of Minnesota Crookston was a significant turning point in Dana’s personal and professional life. They married in 2000 and ventured into planting beets, a risky but potentially rewarding decision that ultimately established their firm footing in the farming industry.

Presently, the Blumes farm 3,200 acres, while Dana’s father Dale and brother Dominic, together with hired hand Tanner Lehman, operate another 3,000 acres. The Blumes’ eldest son, Cole, having recently graduated, has begun to independently manage 140 acres of farmland. In total, the Blume family cultivates approximately 6,400 acres of diverse crops, including corn, soybeans, and sugar beets. The Blume’s sugar beets are processed in Wahpeton, ND, through the Minn-Dak Farmers Cooperative, where Dana and Katy hold membership.

Beyond their extensive agricultural endeavors, the Blume family is deeply rooted in community activities. Dana’s commitment to public service spans more than two decades, with 23 years in the Herman Fire Department and 18 years on the Herman School Board. His civic participation further extends to the St. Charles Catholic Church Council, the MN Soybean Growers Association, and several local co-op boards. His wife Katy is equally engaged in community initiatives, serving as the coordinator of faith formation at their church, a board member of the Herman Foundation, and a contributor to local 4-H and FFA programs.

The Blume children also actively partake in the family operation and community services, showcasing the intergenerational commitment to farming life and local community. Their daughter Kilee is a senior at NDSU majoring in communications, while Cole is preparing to attend NDSCS in Wahpeton with plans to return to the family farm. Addison, a junior at Herman-Norcross Community School, participates in sports, 4-H, FFA, and shows a keen interest in dairy and beef cattle. Charlie, a freshman at HNCS, plays hockey, and is also involved in 4-H and FFA. 

In a recent interview, Dana reflected on the future of farming with optimism. He voiced a sense of excitement about farming’s future, acknowledging the inherent challenges while also taking satisfaction in debunking common misconceptions about farming life. Dana also expressed concern for the aspiring farmers who lack family connections in the industry. He stressed the difficulty of securing sufficient capital for land and equipment, significant barriers for those new to the business. “I feel bad for a kid who wants to farm but doesn’t have access to a farm,” said Dana. 

The recognition of the Blume family as the Farm Family of the Year not only celebrates their resilience and hard work but also the vitality and promise of Minnesota’s agricultural industry.

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