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The Minnesota Milk Producers Association has named the Metz family of Hart-Land Dairy in Rushford, Minnesota, its 2018 Producer of the Year. The honor will be bestowed during the Minnesota Milk Dairy Conference and Expo at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Welch Nov. 28. The Metz family was selected based on their innovation in adding a cheese plant to their farm operations and their social media and community involvement that helps connect consumers to dairy farming.

“I’m known as the city kid that went farming,” says Jeff, having grown up in Minnesota City, Minnesota. Jeff and Mariann Metz began their 1st generation farm in 1983 milking 24 cows. They married in 1985, eventually moving to their current location in Rushford, Minnesota. They currently milk about 200 cows and have an on-site creamery and storefront.

“With four kids, over the years I’ve always been thinking about how I can add value to the farm and grow our operation so that our kids can be a part of it,” says Jeff. Their children - Alicia, Courtney, Brittany and Nathan - all have some involvement on the farm and cheese plant, as well as Brittany’s husband Nick. “It’s kind of rare that all four of them wanted to come back to the farm in some aspect,” says Mariann.

The Metz family is also active in the community through their church council, Rushford Chamber of Commerce as well as through welcoming tours of the farm and creamery allowing people to see the work that goes into producing milk on the farm and the cheese making process.

As Producers of the Year, the family receives a $1,000 scholarship toward educational programming, a trip to the conference where the award will be presented and a framed and matted art print.


Minnesota Milk Producers Association is a membership organization representing grassroots dairy farmers through policy work, education and membership development. Our work is vital to the future of Minnesota’s dairy industry and is directed by a board of dairy farmers elected by their peers. For more information, visit