Living the Dream on a South Dakota Farm

Marc and Michelle Mack

Whoever said, “You can’t always get what you want,” hasn’t met Michelle Mack of Watertown, South Dakota.  The daughter of a Naval officer, Michelle and her brother lived many places throughout their childhood.  Michelle dreamed of living in one house, with a big yard, and lots of playmates.

Fast forward a few decades and today Michelle is living her dream along with her husband of 25 years.

The happy couple has lived on the Mack home place since Marc’s father, Lon, retired about 15 years ago.  Marc and his brother Leon have owned and operated Mack Farms since 1998, but like most “retired farmers,” Lon is still active with the family’s operation.

Mack Farms grows wheat, corn, soybeans and alfalfa.  The family also raise stock cows and finish cattle.  Marc takes the most active role with the crop side of their operation, and Leon is more involved with the cattle.  They have two full-time employees, Marc’s brother Leroy and Marc’s son Aaron.  They also rely on help after school and during breaks from Marc’s third son, Alex, and Leon’s third son, Seth.

Marc and Michelle have 11 children, ranging in age from 25 to 5:

  1. Aleigha, 25, married Jordan Hallberg on the first of February.  She graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) last December and works for the Clark School District.
  2. Ashlynn, 22, is student teaching in Watertown.  She will graduate in May from Mount Marty College.  “She has blessed us with two beautiful grandchildren, Mya and Isaac,” says Michelle. Mya is 3½ years old and Isaac is 2.
  3. Austin, 21, is finishing his sophomore year at SDSU where he’s majoring in construction management.  He took off a year from college to attend basic training and Advanced Individual Training (A.I.T.) upon joining the National Guard.
  4. Aaron, 20, enrolled at SDSU but decided to instead pursue his passion for farming.  He now works full time on the family farm.
  5. Alex, 17, is a high school senior.  He plans to attend Lake Area Tech next year agriculture.
  6. Arica, 15, is a sophomore.  Michelle says Arica is her right-hand in the home and often cares for her younger siblings.
  7. Aydan, 14, is an 8th grader at Watertown Middle School.  He just finished his second wrestling season 15-3.
  8. Aspen, 9, is a fourth grader.
  9. Autumn, 8, is a third grader.
  10. Ava, 7, is a first grader.
  11. Addison, 5, attends pre-K classes.

“I don’t think I was ever on a farm until I met Marc, but I love being able to raise our kids here,” says Michelle, who lived in town and taught preschool before she was married.  Now she teaches Religion three days a week at Holy Rosary Catholic School.  When she’s not busy teaching or chauffeuring kids to school, sporting events, Girl Scout meetings or 4-H activities, Michelle can be found in the kitchen.

Each family member has a favorite meal, but the one they all agree on is Prime Rib.  Today Michelle is sharing that beef recipe, plus recipes for her favorite salad and dessert, with

Perfect Prime Rib Roast

  • 1 prime rib roast (any size)
  • season roast with Spicecraft Prime Steak & Beefburger Seasoning

Place roast, uncovered, in a 375° oven.  Leave the oven on for 1 hour only.  Turn off the over but DO NOT open the oven door under any circumstances!!!  Leave in for 2-3 hours.  Before serving, turn oven to 300°.  Cook an additional 45 minutes for rare, 50 minutes for medium, or 55 minutes for well done.  Take meat out immediately as it will continue to cook.  Enjoy!


Cherry Pie Bars


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract


  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 cups flour

Additional Directions:

  • Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
  • Spread 2/3 of this mixture in a greased 11×15 pan.
  • Spoon one can of cherry pie filling over mixture in
  • Then spread (spoon) remaining dough randomly over the top
  • Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

After the bars cook, drizzle them with this icing:

  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ to 2 cups powdered sugar

COOK’S NOTE:  Mix all three ingredients together.  If icing is too thick, add a bit of Half & Half or milk to thin it.  My kids love these!

Spinach-Strawberry Salad


Salad Ingredients:

  • One bag of spinach leaves
  • 1 quart strawberries, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 package of glazed pecans

Dressing Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce



Mix dressing ingredients thoroughly; pour over other ingredients and toss.