Filzens Work Together to Carry on Family Legacy
Dale grew up on a dairy farm near Renville, Minnesota. His father, Richard, sold the family’s dairy cows in 1987. Like many farm families during the 1980s farm crisis, they diversified their income. In addition to farming with his father, Dale took a part-time job working in the warehouse for Keltgen Seed in Olivia. He and his father also raised seed corn for Keltgen. When the local Keltgen Seed dealer retired in 1997, Dale was given the opportunity to take over his seed dealership.
“What I enjoy most about being a seed dealer is visiting with farmers,” says Dale. “I like working with seed companies, too. I really enjoy working with family-owned seed companies because they take a personal interest in how well their dealers and customers are doing.”
Dale was drawn to Latham Seeds in 2003 because the company’s CystX® soybeans were gaining notoriety for combatting soybean cyst nematode. Dale remains a Latham dealer because the company’s products have consistently performed on his acres. Latham brand products designated as the company’s exclusive IRONCLAD™ Soybeans are bred from exceptional genetics and include industry-leading protective traits that against yield-robbing threats from pests and diseases.
While he believes in the value of planting a portfolio of products, Dale admits to having a favorite soybean. Latham’s L 1328 L continues to be a top performer on the Filzen farm. Having access to all the industry’s leading traits and the ability to try new products are other benefits he enjoys to having a seed dealership. He also appreciates how Latham Seeds includes his entire family in its seed meetings.
Dale and his wife, Tina, are the proud parents of three daughters. Emily, 21, graduated last May with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Services and Human Development from the University of Minnesota, Morris. She works as a Child Protection Social Worker in Redwood Falls. Katie, 19, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture at Southwest Minnesota State University. She is considering a career as a loan officer or an agronomist. Their youngest daughter, Melody, is a freshman at Renville County West High School. She is active in softball, choir and drama. She often performs the National Anthem at school sporting events. She recently played the lead role in a play called, “The 146 Point Flame.”
“I am very thankful to be living and raising our family on a farm,” says Tina, who works in health information at Renville County Hospital and Clinics in Olivia. “As soon as the girls were big enough to sit in the buddy seat of the tractor or combine with Dale or me, they have had an active role in Filzen Farms. Through the years, they have helped us pick rock, pull weeds, bale hay, and whatever else needed to be done. These tasks require hard work, dedication and perseverance. We hoped these skills would serve them well in their future endeavors.”
“We’re so proud of our parents for continually working to build this farm and expand what our Grandpa Richard and our Great Grandpa Erwin Filzen started. We couldn’t have asked for better role models and influencers,” says Emily. “I truly believe my work ethic is so much stronger because I have such hardworking parents who lead by example.”
Katie adds, “I think it’s so important to realize the utter necessity of agriculture and all the love, time, dedication, stress, work, and sacrifice that goes into it that is often overlooked. Farmers have to know so much to own a successful operation. They are masters of agronomy, business management, financial planning, accounting, fixing equipment, marketing, networking, technology, communication, and more. We take such pride in knowing our dad is a part of this incredible industry and that he plays a role in feeding the world. Nothing in my life makes me prouder than to be able call this farm ours.”
The Filzen family helps with the farming operation as time allows. Tina and their daughters either run equipment, run for parts or run food to the field. Dale’s brother, Mike, works as a field sales agronomist for a local cooperative. He often jumps in the tractor and runs the grain cart when he’s done with his day job. About five years ago, Ty Dooner started helping Dale. Ty is a real estate agent, too. The number of hours he works for Filzen Farms and the responsibility he has assumed has increased over the years. Thanks to his help, the Filzens have been able to enjoy family time away from the farm.
In addition to raising corn and soybeans, Filzen Farms raises navy beans for Bush’s Baked Beans. Dale plants navy beans once his soybeans are in the ground. Then he harvests the navy beans the end of August or the first of September. Filzen Farms also dedicates some acres to sugar beets. In addition to bringing in his own crop, Dale does custom harvest work for some neighbors. They wrapped up harvest last Sunday, but there’s more work to be done once the snow comes. Dale plows snow for several local farms and businesses throughout the winter months.
When the Filzen family isn’t working, they enjoy relaxing in northern Minnesota. Dale’s hobbies include fishing, watching sports, and riding motorcycle. He plays in a men’s winter basketball league. Tina enjoys flower and vegetable gardening. She likes canning and preserving garden produce, so they can enjoy home-grown goodness all year long.
Tina recently used a quart of homemade sauerkraut to make a hearty soup that Dale said really hit the spot during a cold harvest evening. Today they’re sharing this soup recipe with us on “The Field Position.” You could even add a cup of leftover Thanksgiving turkey to your pot of sauerkraut soup.
“We look forward to the holiday season for the delicious food and lefse!” says Tina. “We make lefse with leftover mashed potatoes. I want to make sure the lefse tradition continues as my girls get older.”
If you’re interested in reading about the lefse tradition shared by many of our northern Latham dealers, click on the posts below:
3 or 4 potatoes, cut into cubes
5 or 6 smoked sausages or 1 sausage ring, sliced into bite-size pieces
1 quart sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained.
4 to 6 cups chicken stock/broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
½ pound sliced Portobello or Shiitake mushrooms
4 carrots, sliced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 teaspoons dill weed
½ teaspoon pepper
Put all ingredients in a kettle. Cook until potatoes and carrots are tender. Enjoy!