Gerth Family

Pictured left to right are Annie and Ryan (and daughter, Aurora) Gerth, Judy Gerth, and Ross and Michelle (with son, Grayson) Gerth. Judy is the mother of Ryan and Ross.

The Gerth family of Princeton has been named Mille Lacs County’s 2021 Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.

Willam Gerth was the first generation to purchase the farm in 1924. The farm ownership was passed down through the family. More recently, Gene and Judy raised purebred Angus cattle and later hogs. In addition to livestock, they grew corn, soybeans, and hay. As their family grew, sons Ross and Ryan became fully involved in day-to-day operations alongside their parents.

Upon Gene’s passing in 2009, Ross and Ryan took over the operations of the Gerth family farm. They are the 4th generation to farm the land. Today, the farm is operated by Ross, Ryan, and their mother, Judy. Currently, they grow corn and soybeans on owned and rented land. In addition to their own farm the Gerths also do custom work for a few local farms. The combination of their own farm and custom work finds the Gerths covering just under a couple thousand acres per year.

Judy is a past secretary/manager of the Mille Lacs County Fair. Gene served on the Mille Lacs County Fair board for 25 years, the Minnesota State Fair board, and the Mille Lacs County SWCD board. Ryan and Ross are also active members of the community. Ryan is a current board member of the East Central Corn Growers Association. Ross is a current board member of Federated Co-ops.

Both Ryan and Ross have full-time careers outside of farming with families of their own. Ryan and his wife, Annie, have a daughter, Aurora. Ross and his wife, Michelle, have a son, Grayson. Judy worked for Princeton State Bank prior to staying home to raise her sons. Today, Judy remains busy continuing to help where she is needed in farming operations and enjoying being a grandma.

The families were officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 5 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls and will be honored at the Mille Lacs County fair on August 13. Profiles of the 2021 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website,

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 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 University of Minnesota Extension, Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

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