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Schouvillers named U of M’s Farm Family of the Year

John and Linda Schouviller, at right, along witih their children Matt, Nicole and Kelly, were honored as this year’s Becker County Farm Family of the Year earlier this summer. The family jointly operates a dairy farm north of Callaway, along with John’s brother Mike and his family. SUBMITTED PHOTO

In 1984, John Schouviller purchased a small farm north of Callaway.

At the beginning of his farming career, he raised a few beef cows and worked on a landscaping business in Fargo. 

He also helped his father Nick, mother Betty and brother Mike milk cows at their family farm, just one mile down the road.

After his parents semi-retired from milking, John and his wife Linda, along with John’s brother Mike and his wife Lois (who is also Linda’s sister), decided to buy the cows from their parents and start the Schouviller Dairy.

“I figured that when we got married (20 years ago this spring), it got to be too far to drive to Fargo and back every day,” Schouviller said of his reasons for getting out of the landscaping business.

“We’ve farmed full-time since 1993,” he added.

Today, the farm is home to John, his wife Linda and their three kids, Kelly, Matt, and Nicole; as well as Mike, his wife Lois and their five children, Bobbi, Sami, Betty, Nick, and Adam.

Together, the Schouvillers run an operation that includes around 400 head of cattle, 120 of which are milk cows.  They have 480 acres of land and raise corn, alfalfa, wheat, and soybeans — mostly as feed for the cattle, John said.

Though Linda also works part-time at the Holiday Inn in Detroit Lakes, and their children are all in school, “this truly is a family owned and operated business,” said Linda.

“Dad still helps with the field work too,” said John.

Kelly and Matt are students at Detroit Lakes High School, while Nicole is a sophomore at North Dakota State University, majoring in ag business.

Before she graduated from DLHS in 2012, Nicole was the Region 1 FFA president; Kelly, a junior at DLHS, is secretary of the local FFA chapter, and Matt, a sophomore, is involved in the program as well.

“Linda and I also belong to the Detroit Lakes FFA Alumni,” John said, adding that he is a member of the Becker County Farm Bureau’s governing board as well.

Because of their commitment to farming, and involvement in the local and regional agricultural community, John and Linda Schouviller’s family was chosen as the Becker County Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota Extension Service.

They, along with 75 other families across the state, were recognized during the 2013 Farmfest celebration at the Gilfillan Farm near Redwood Falls, which was held in early August. The Schouvillers were also honored during the Becker County Fair last month.

Local Extension committees chose each of the 75 families that were honored for demonstrating their commitment to enhancing and supporting agriculture.

“Farm families and agriculture 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 outstanding families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

Though John readily admits that there are some aspects of farming that are less enjoyable than others, overall, he enjoys the opportunity to spend most of his days working outdoors.

“You get to work outside, and you get to be your own boss,” he said.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454