University of Minnesota Extension

Extension is expanding its online education and resources to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

Extension > Extension in your Community > Wright > County Agriculture Educator > Articles > 2019 Wright County Farm Family of the Year

print icon email icon share icon

2019 Wright County Farm Family of the Year

Left to right: Luke, Keith, Becky, Britta. Photo credit: Laura Photography MN

Sixty years ago, Keith Swenson’s father and his family were awarded the Farm Family of the Year award in Douglas County, Wisconsin. Fast forward to 2019, and Keith, along with his wife Becky, is being recognized for the same dedication to family and agriculture. 
The University of Minnesota’s Farm Family Recognition Program has existed for over 30 years and honors farm families from throughout Minnesota for their contributions to the agriculture industry and their local communities. The Wright County Extension Committee selects the Farm Family each year and this year recognizes the Swenson family of Swenson Gardens near Howard Lake. Swenson Gardens has become the world’s largest chemical-free peony producer since its birth in 2002. 
The Swensons started their operation on a small two-acre plot near Delano they leased from friends. In 2008, they moved the family and the business to their current location. Keith Swenson described the 40-acre farm near Howard Lake as “an opportunity provided by God laid in our lap.” They nurture thousands of peony plants in hundreds of varieties. They sell new seedlings, intersectional, garden peonies, and bare-root peonies. They use innovative ground covers to reduce weeding, as well as many other advanced practices. They have a small herd of cattle that they like to call the “Fertilizer Production Team.” The Swensons also have a streamlined process that gets their products to the consumer far quicker than most peony producers. 
The Swensons also participate in many different community events and gardening workshops. Becky and Keith enjoy helping the agriculture and gardening communities by sharing their experience and knowledge. They see the happiness their flowers bring to people and love sharing the beauty of their flowers and the farm with the community. Their kids, Britta and Luke Swenson, were also very active 4-H members before heading off to college. 
Keith and Becky, along with their children Britta and Luke, have created a thriving operation in the heart of Wright County.



Photo credit: Laura Photography MN