Ericksons of Fertile are Polk County's 2021 Farm Family of the Year

The Erickson farm's roots date back to 1888

Times Report

The Erickson family of Fertile, Minnesota has been named Polk County’s “2021 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

The Erickson farm started in 1888 when Matt’s maternal great-grandfather homesteaded the current location of the Erickson farm in Polk County. Matt and Patricia joined Matt’s dad, Jerome, and his uncle, Allen, in 1999 as a third partner. Five years later, Matt bought out Allen to join the operation as a half partner with his dad. 

Currently, the Ericksons raise corn and alfalfa for livestock feed, and they grow wheat and soybeans as cash crops. The Ericksons own a commercial Angus-based herd of 320 spring calving cows and 75 fall calving cows. The family has ownership of all offspring to either retain in the herd as heifers or to feed out in two family-owned feedlots. The Ericksons also direct market some of their beef to consumers in the region.

Matt’s dad is still very active in the daily operation of the farm, tending to chores and fieldwork. Matt is the primary bookkeeper and oversees everyday tasks and chores. Patricia helps when she can; she is also a full time, rural mail carrier. 

Matt and Patricia have three children. Emery helps with daily chores and is in the process of building his own herd. Catie assists with the herd and fieldwork and daughter Sidney helps where needed, especially during calving season. Both girls have a great start on their own herd of cattle in addition to owning their own flock of Suffolk X Hampshire club lambs.

The Erickson family is very involved in the community. They are active in 4-H. The Ericksons are members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. The family supports the local FFA program where Catie and Sidney are members at the Fertile Beltrami School. Catie recently won the 2021 FFA State Sheep Proficiency Award.

Matt chairs the Fertile Beltrami School Board and is a board member of the Pine to Prairie School Board. Patricia is current chair of the District 1 Minnesota Beef Council. Matt and Patricia were named the NDSU Harvest Bowl Outstanding Ag Honorees in 2008 and in 2015 were named Top 10 Outstanding Young Farmers.

The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 5 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls. Profiles of the 2021 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://z.umn.edu/farm-families-year.

Honored families are chosen, one per county, by local University of Minnesota Extension committees based on their demonstrated commitment to their communities and to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

“These farm families are a major driver of Minnesota's economy and the vitality of Minnesota's rural communities,” said Bev Durgan, dean of University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

Along with Farmfest, University units sponsoring the recognition event include University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Farmfest runs Aug. 3-5 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8 in advance or $10 at the gate and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at https://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.