Baker family recognized as a 2020 'U of M Farm Family'

Left to right: Marilyn Baker, Mark Baker, Ken Baker and Heidi Baker. (Submitted photo)

The Baker family of Cleveland has been named Le Sueur County's "2020 Farm Family of the Year" by the University of Minnesota.

The Baker family farm began in 1950 in rural Cleveland, when Jim and Marge Baker purchased 80 acres. The couple milked a small herd of dairy cows and raised 11 children. In 1983, two of their sons, Ken and Mark, returned to the farm. In 1988, after their parents' passing, Ken and Mark purchased the farm and years later added a farrow-to-finish hog operation while continuing to milk cows. In 1994, Ken and Mark built MNDAK Dairy and milked 1,000 cows three times a day. They sold the dairy six years later.

The Baker farm presently consists of beef cattle and a cropping operation. In addition, the Bakers run a custom crop farming business for area dairy farmers. Ken and Mark operate the farm as a team. Ken oversees the cattle operation as well as combining in the fall. Mark handles the farm's finances and takes care of planting in the spring. Ken and Heidi have three grown daughters, Kyndra, Bridget and Brianna. The sisters all participated in 4-H in their youth. Heidi works as a State Farm Insurance agent in Le Center and Mark's wife, Marilyn, works for Consolidated Communications in Mankato.

The common thread to the farm has always been family helping with whatever is needed: brothers, nephews, spouses, or daughters helping in any way they can.

For many years Ken and Mark have supported 4-H. They are currently helping nephews, nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces, in addition to other 4-H members, with various livestock projects.

Ken and Heidi served on the Le Sueur 4-H Ribbon Auction Committee for many years. Heidi also served for 12 years as the local Cleveland Pioneers 4-H Club leader.

Though COVID-19 has forced cancellation of the annual Minnesota Farmfest, where the awards are presented each.....

To see more on this story pick up the July 16, 2020 print edition of the LifeEnterprise paper. 

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