The Minnesota Milk Producers Association 2020 Producer of the Year is Spadgenske Dairy, Menahga, Minn. The Spadgenske Farm includes twin brother Mike and Mark Spadgenske, and Mark’s wife Kristine. Mark and Kristine have four children, Ryan, Kate, Adam and Seth, and Mike has a son, John. Ryan works full-time on the farm. The honor will be formally bestowed on Dec. 2, during the Minnesota Milk virtual annual meeting.
“The Spadgenske family exemplifies the resiliency we’ve been seeing in Minnesota dairies. They manage their risk well, focus on their strengths and thoroughly evaluate big decisions amongst other possibilities,” said Lucas Sjostrom, executive director of Minnesota Milk. “By being diversified and involved in their community, they’re a great example of Minnesota dairy farming in 2020.”
Spadgenske Dairy was established in 1994 and today, milk 350 cows and farm 1,400 acres of crops. “Learning from the successes and failures of the past and building for the future is the motto of everyday life on the farm,” said Kristine Spadgenske. “We are not afraid to think outside the box and are willing to try something new.”
Church, school and community are also important to the family, and they are an example of how to live life to its fullest and be there to help in their community. The entire family is active in 4-H and FFA as well as the annual Midsummer Celebration at the county fair. The Spadgenske Dairy has an open-door policy and loves giving tours of the dairy, with their favorite being the annual fall trip from the Menahga first graders.
Both Mark and Kristine are very active in the dairy industry including participating in lobbying in Washington D.C. and at Minnesota Milk’s Dairy Day at the Capitol. Kristine also has served on the Minnesota Dairy Promotion Council since 2008 and served as a Minnesota Milk board member from 2011-2019.
As recipient of the Producer of the Year, the family receives a scholarship toward educational programming and a framed and matted art print.