The Reents farm has been in the family since 1932. Gary Reents’ father started irrigating crops in 1957, mainly to feed his cow-calf operation. He also raised potatoes for local produce distributors. After his father’s death at age 45, Gary quit college and returned to the farm, adding center pivot irrigation over the years, raising corn, soybeans, sweet corn, peas and other specialty crops along with beef cattle.
The Reentses currently farm 1,500 acres with their son, Kyle, and his family. They are a Minnesota Agriculture Water Quality Certification farm with several conservation practices, including CRP, cover crops, no-till, buffer strips, field windbreaks, water and sediment control basins and irrigation scheduling. They currently raise corn, soybeans, wheat, sweet corn, peas, hay and cover crops. Kyle also has beef cattle and rotates pastures with paddocks. The Reentses use a crop consultant and do grid sampling, variable rate planting, and fertilizer and split rate nitrogen applications.
Jane and Gary have four children and 12 grandchildren. All the kids helped on the farm while growing up. Heather is a teacher; Jesse is a doctor, midwife and a Villard first responder. Lindsey is a medical lab technician, and Kyle farms, serves on the Villard Fire Department and is a first responder. They are transitioning the farm operation over to Kyle and his family.
Gary has been a Pope County Soil and Water Conservation District supervisor for over 35 years. He was on the board of Villard Co-op Oil for 35 years. Jane was the first woman elected to the FSA county committee and served as chair. Jane was a Villard first responder for 30 years. The Reents family are members of the Villard Methodist Church, where Kyle’s wife, Jackie, is a Sunday School teacher. Gary raced cars on area dirt tracks for 50 years and has been inducted into the Viking Speedway Hall of Fame.
The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 3 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls, Minn. Profiles of the 2023 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://extension.umn.edu/farm-families.
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 the 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 the 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. 1-3 at the Gilfillan Estate, near Redwood Falls, Minn. Event hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8.00 in advance or $10.00 at the gate and those 17 and under are admitted free. More information on Farmfest is available at https://www.ideaggroup.com/farmfest.