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Kluis Family honored as 2013 Murray County Farm Family of the Year

August 16, 2013

	Murray Countys Farm Family of the year is the Kluis family, Chandler, MN.  
Murray Countys Farm Family of the year is the Kluis family, Chandler, MN.
By Norma Dittman
Bonded by love of family, and the hard, but rewarding, work of being dedicated to agricultural production, the Kluis Family, Chandler, Minnesota, was honored as the 2013 Murray County Farm Family of the Year on Thursday, August 8th, at Farmfest.

Currently farming together are brothers Mike and Aaron Kluis. They are proud to be third-generation farmers. Their grandparents, Felix and Henrietta Kluis began farming in Fenton Towship, Chandler, Minnesota, during the 1940s.

Mike and Aaron’s parents, Jim and Joan Kluis, took over the farming in the 1960’s. They moved to Slayton in 2009. Jim, who retired from farming in 2009, continues to help with the farming during spring planting and fall harvest. He sells crop insurance through Crop Insurance Specialists.

During the 1990’s Mike and Aaron began farming together. The fifty-plus years tradition of growing corn and soybeans, and raising cattle and hogs continues at Kluis Farms. Today, Mike and Aaron tend 3,200 acres of corn and soybeans, as well as raising cattle and hogs.

Mike started farming in 1991. He had attended South Dakota State University, where he met Jan, the love of his life. After college, he worked for five years with Centrol Crop Consultating. He was already farming when he made the decision to ask Jan to be his wife. He sold soybeans in order to purchase an engagement ring for Jan, the couple recalled. “I quit working in town to concentrate on the farming,” Mike explained.

“I moved here from Aberdeen, South Dakota. During 1993, I couldn’t help but wonder what we were doing,” Jan commented. (Area farmers will recall that 1993 was the year when many local producers were forced to disc crops under because weather conditions did not allow for the growth of grain on the corn or soybean plants. )

“That was a difficult year for all area farmers, but farming has always been good to us. Somehow it always balances out,” Mike stated and Aaron agreed with a nod of his head.

Mike and Jan are the parents of Austin and Logan. Austin is in college at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. Logan will be a junior this fall at Murray County Centra, Slayton.

Aaron began farming with Mike in 1997. He graduated from college in 1998. He is married to Bridget, who is a first grade teacher at Murray County Central. The couple have four children: Camdyn, who will be in the fourth grade at Murray County Central (MCC); Derek who will be in third grade and Dylan, who will be in first grade this fall. Dugan is four years of age.

Speaking of the way that work is accomplished on the farm, Mike stated, “Everybody works together to do everything. Early on, Jan did everything that we did. She’d work in town and help with all aspects of the farming plus keeping up with all of the meals and housework. Somehow it all works out when you are dedicated to working together.”

“Taking good care of the land and the livestock is how we make our living. Being a part of agriculture is very important to all of us,” Aaron stated.

The Kluis Family is aided in their farming activities by Larry Van’t Hul, Edgerton, and Tim Holm, Chandler.

Even now the members of the Kluis family acknowledge that there is a lot of “bonding” time. “There is a lot of time spent together working, but we also spend a lot of time just being together,” Aaron commented. As is typical with farm families, the children like to “ride along” as work is done.

Both families are involved in the Murray County Fenton Friends 4-H Club. “Aaron’s children are just getting started with 4-H and our’s are just to the point where they are getting done with 4-H,” Jan commented. “We have all been 4-H leaders because our Club rotates leadership.”

Mike currently serves as the supervisor for Fenton Township. He served for nine years on the Chandler Co-op Board. Jan works at Crop Insurance Specialists, and is on the Murray County Fair Board and the Nobles Cooperative Electric Operation Round-Up Board.

Aaron is currently on the Chandler Co-op Board and Bridget is a Community Education Camp Coach.

The Minnesota Farm Family Recognition Program has been in existance for over twenty years. It honors farm families from throughout the state for their contributions to the agriculture industry and to their local communities.

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