The Molnar family of Bemidji has been named Beltrami County’s “2021 Farm Family of the Year” by the University of Minnesota.

Molnar Gardens began in 1981 and the family has farmed at their current location since 1984, a release said. Jeff and Jacki Molnar have 90 acres with eight acres of vegetable gardens and 60 acres of pasture that is home to a sheep flock of 40-80 ewes with lambs. From 1981 until 2010, the family raised chickens, ducks, pheasants and turkeys. They also raised milking goats.

Currently, the Molnar’s raise over 25 different kinds of vegetables including many different varieties of each. They’ve used no synthetic weed killers or fertilizers on their land. The Molnar’s are careful to manage their land as a renewable resource of earth, water and vegetation, the release said.

The family’s woodlot is selectively cut for firewood and milled boards used in the family’s home for kitchen cabinets and other on-site building projects.

The Molnars have six grown children who come back to the farm to help when needed. They have four daughters, Danielle, Anastasia, Amy, and Johanna and two sons, Nathan and Luke.

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Jeff and Jacki were 4-H leaders when their children were younger. Jeff was Beltrami County Fair Dairy Goat Barn supervisor and has given many sheep shearing demonstrations at the fair. He helped launch three area farmers markets with hundreds of other farm families over more than three decades. He now serves as vice-chair of Bemidji’s Natural Choice Farmers Market, the release said.

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 the University of Minnesota Extension. “The University of Minnesota is proud to recognize these farm families for their contributions to agriculture and their communities.”

The families will be officially recognized in a ceremony Thursday, Aug. 5 at the annual Farmfest near Redwood Falls. Profiles of the 2021 honorees and information on the recognition event can be found on the University’s farm family website, https://z.umn.edu/farm-families-year.