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2020 Koochiching County Farm Family of the Year


Weidenborner Farms recognized as Koochiching County Farm Family of the Year

NORTHOME, Minn. — Andrew and LaVon (Jourdan) Weidenborner grew up farming, so it’s no surprise that they are the heart and soul of this northern Minnesota beef operation.

In 1994, Andrew and LaVon were living in a trailer house on the land owned by Andrew’s parents. They owned just under a dozen Angus cows. With two small children (Trista, age 2 and Tonya, age 1) and a third child on the way, they purchased the 426-acre farm and immediately started building their herd and improving the farm. They quickly outgrew the small two-bedroom, one-bath farmhouse and started remodeling the home to accommodate their growing family. In 1995, their son Cyril was born. And just two years later, Teresa was born. The baby of the family, Tiana, was born in 2000.

Growing up, all of the kids helped out on the farm. At chore time, Andrew would haul 5-gallon buckets of feed to the cows while the older kids could manage a 2½ gallon bucket and the littlest ones would sometimes carry just a sand pail with barely a cup of feed. The tradition continues with Tonya and husband Grady’s boys, Luke (6), Kyle (4), Jace (2) and someday with Nate (4 months old) learning to care for the animals. Even though Andrew and LaVon are now “empty-nesters,” all of the kids come back home to help when they can.

They currently have 100 cows and young stock and rent an additional 200 acres on which they have grown a variety of grains, beans and haying rotating crops on given years. They use rotational grazing to feed their livestock.

Besides running a thriving farm, Andrew hauls pulp wood and wood chips locally. In 2016, they purchased a greenhouse, and following some renovations, opened Mizpah’s Local Roots Greenhouse. In the spring, they donate vegetable plants to school children to plant and grow over the summer in the school garden. In the fall, the produce is harvested for the local food shelf. Throughout the summer months, they sell plants of all varieties and offer their produce for sale at the greenhouse in addition to selling at two farmers markets. With a park and community center right across the street, families from International Falls and Thief River Falls are known to make a day of visiting the greenhouse, packing a lunch and enjoying the park.

During the long winter months in northern Minnesota, the greenhouse hosts local artisans to sell their goods on the weekends, which provides a retail opportunity for vendors and holiday shoppers. What started with only a few booths has now grown to over 50 vendors. The Weidenborner’s also sell Christmas trees and make and sell wreaths in the greenhouse.

Additionally, Andrew and LaVon are active in St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Kelliher. LaVon is a director on the Koochiching County Fair Board and is also a member of the Shooks Homemaker Club.

The Weidenborner Farm is located at 11388 County Road 107 in Northome and Mizpah’s Local Roots Greenhouse is located at 11354 Pleasant Street in Mizpah. Contact them by email at alttctt@paulbunyan.net or calling 218-244-9716.

The Farm Family Recognition Program has existed for over 30 years and honors farm families from throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. All of the honored farm families have made significant contributions to Minnesota agriculture and their communities.

Last modified: 08/25/2020

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