Sts. Isidore and Maria Award Recipients Announced
Minnesota Couple Lives Out Faith, Stewardship on Farm
By KARA STOREY
It’s been over 85 years since Dave Minar’s grandfather purchased what is today known as Cedar Summit Farm.
The farm, near New Prague, Minn., was passed down to Dave’s father and mother, and is where Dave was born and raised. As the only son, Dave and his wife, Florence, returned to the farm in 1969, where they raised their five children.
“I…wanted to continue what my grandfather had started,” writes Dave on the Cedar Summit website. “We built a new sixty-cow tie stall barn in 1971. Over the years we developed a registered Holstein herd that had received state and national recognition. We showed our animals at many shows and fairs. In 1974, we discontinued the use of pesticides, and started exploring alternative ways to combat pests. We knew it could be done because it had been done in the past.”
Dave and Florence are the 2013 recipients of the Sts. Isidore and Maria Exemplary Award. The award honors a rural couple who exemplify fidelity to a vision and vocation of rural life, which combines family, stewardship and faith. It also acknowledges those whose work through the tradition of Catholic social teaching has led to significant progress toward greater social justice and dignity for rural families and communities.
Faith in practice
The Minars, who belong to St. Wenceslaus Parish in New Prague, are committed to living out their Catholic faith in everyday ways. They operate an organic meat and dairy retail business, selling 100 percent grass-fed beef and dairy products, as well as antibiotic- and hormone-free pork. They milk approximately 140 to 150 cows and own about 420 acres, 180 of which are used for pasture and the rest is used for growing forages. The Minars also run a creamery on their property.
“While researching about the nutritional value of grass-fed beef, we realized that our 100 percent grass-fed milk also was an exceptional product,” Dave adds. After many family meetings the decision was made to process our own milk, which is how we came to build a creamery on our farm.”
While Cedar Summit products are in 75 retail locations in Minnesota, providing a high-quality product to the public isn’t the only drive behind the business. The Minars also take very seriously Catholic social teaching’s call to care for creation, exhibited in the way they treat their animals.
“If you treat the animals well, they do you well,” Dave said. “They grow better and will thrive.”
Due to their successful business, the Minars are mentors in the sustainable agriculture and organic farming movements throughout the Upper Midwest. They open up their farm to school groups, rural life celebrations and other events throughout the year. Most notably, each August for the past few years the Minars host seminary students from St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity for a Rural Ministry Practicum course, co-taught by NCRLC. The seminarians are able to experience first-hand a rural setting.
“Students remark how much ‘life’ and ‘love’ is on the Minar farm,” said Jim Ennis, NCRLC executive director, who helps lead the course. “Dave and Florence have been leading by example for many years, being good stewards of the gifts God has given them. They are a great role model in their community for faith, family, and stewards of creation.”
NCRLC congratulates Dave and Florence on receiving the award.