The Isanti County Board on June 5 recognized this year’s Isanti County Farm Family of the Year.
Each year the University of Minnesota and Isanti County Extension select a family for this honor. They receive a plaque and an invitation to attend Farm Fest, which is Aug. 6-8 this year at the Gilfillian Estate in Redwood Falls, Minn.
For 2013, Chad and Cameo Zehnder and family have been selected by Isanti County Extension to represent Isanti County as Farm Family of the Year.
Living in the countryside near Stanchfield, the Zehnders are involved in the process of raising Red Angus and Charolais pure bred cattle — animals that are sold all over the United States and Canada. Most of their 85-acre farm is used for pasture and growing hay to feed the cattle. They rent additional pasture land, as well.
Cameo helps with the cattle and also grows vegetables for the family. She and Chad have daughters Sydney, 15, an active 4-H member, and 3-year-old Natalia.
Chad is a Ph.D graduate of the University of Minnesota and works as a nutritionist for Purina Animal Nutrition. He travels extensively around the upper Midwest for his job. Cameo is employed as an attorney in Roseville, Minn.
This busy farm family is not only involved in 4-H, but they are members of the National Cattleman’s Beef Association, Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association, American International Charolais Association and the American Red Angus Association.
Chad just completed a term on the executive board of the Minnesota State Cattleman’s Association, and he is presently serving on the executive committee of the Minnesota Beef Expo. The Zehnders are Farm Bureau members and active at St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church in Braham.
Preventing child abuse
County commissioners also recognized the Isanti County Family Support Team on its award for making a difference in reducing the number of cases of child abuse, neglect, domestic violence and sexual assault.
Connie Skillingstad of Prevent Child Abuse Minnesota presented the organization’s Blue Ribbon Award to several members of the team, which provides public education on these issues, along with mandatory reporting of child abuse and neglect.
Each county is mandated by statute to establish a multidisciplinary child protection team, otherwise known as a family support team. It is comprised of professionals from various organizations/agencies in the county, said Ann Stackpool-Gunderson, child protection supervisor for Isanti County Family Services.
In Isanti County, members include the county attorney’s office; victim services; family service professionals; schools; The Refuge Network, which provides shelter and support for victims of domestic violence; law enforcement; public health; probation; Early Childhood Education; Head Start; People Incorporated, a social service agency; and Skillingstad.
Stackpool-Gunderson said the team serves three purposes: consultation, community education and child mortality review. The consultation allows the team to discuss services provided to families to ensure the services are appropriate and meet the needs of the child and family. If gaps are identified, the team suggests services/approaches that might be helpful to children and families.
In addition, the family support team provides education to professionals and the community about child maltreatment and domestic violence — from what it is to how to recognize and prevent it. The team also serves as a child mortality review when there is a child death or near death, and the situation meets certain criteria for the mortality review to be conducted, Stackpool-Gunderson added.
For more information, such as identifying signs of child abuse, neglect and domestic violence, along with foster parenting, call Isanti County Family Services at 763-689-8161.