Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

After tough year, Minnesota farmers prepare for new direction from Washington


Brian Peterson, Star Tribune

Bonnie Haugen and her family have been farming near Canton, Minn., near the Iowa border since the 1990s.

CANTON, Minn. – Bonnie and Vance Haugen's small Fillmore County dairy farm weathered nearly three decades of relentless market forces, shifting government policies and the unpredictable dictates of nature and biology. But 2020 was the year that almost killed this family operation.

"Prices were crashing," Bonnie Haugen said, recalling the chaos in the U.S. food supply that accompanied the early weeks of last spring's COVID-19 lockdown. "We couldn't sell steers, we couldn't sell bull calves. There was a two- to three-week period where we really didn't know what was going to happen. We didn't think we'd have to go under but it was an option we put on the table."

Things stabilized, but not without federal intervention. The Haugens just filled out last year's taxes: "We got over $56,000 in government payments," said Vance Haugen, whose chest-length gray beard makes him resemble his many Amish neighbors here in Minnesota's southeastern corner.


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