September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Huppert, a news reporter for KARE 11 television based in Golden Valley, Minn., and host of the series "Land of 10,000 Stories", grew up on a dairy farm near River Falls, Wis.
Huppert moved to the farm in fourth grade, when his parents decided to make a career change. Both his parents grew up on their family's dairy farms - his mom an only child and his dad one of 13.
"My mom's odds were a little better to farm," Huppert said about his parents taking over his mom's family's farm.
Huppert and his siblings had typical day-to-day chores - shoveling chicken coops for the 800 chickens they raised and cleaning calf pens for the 40-cow dairy herd.
"It was very labor intensive," Huppert said.
When not doing chores, Huppert was involved in 4-H and FFA, and showed cows every year at the Pierce County Fair.
"The county fair was such a big event. It's what we looked forward to all summer," Huppert said. "Most of my friends were ag kids. We would sleep out in the barns with our animals during the fair."
Along with dairy, Huppert had success in the 4-H tractor driving project, being a two-time Pierce County 4-H tractor driving champion.
"It was my favorite thing to do on the farm," Huppert said.
Some of his memories of learning to drive farm machinery were in driving wagons out to his grandpa while he was combining.
The fair also has special meaning to Huppert because it's where he met his wife, Sheri.
Through 4-H and FFA, Huppert became involved in public speaking and giving demonstrations. These early beginnings in these ag-based organizations were the foundation for his mulit-award-winning career in broadcast media.
Huppert had his first taste for broadcast at the age of 16, working for a local radio station during Sunday Green Bay Packer games. When it came time to choose a college, Huppert attended the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in the journalism program and switched over from radio to television.
"I didn't put much thought into it," Huppert said about choosing a major. "I just went with something that seemed natural."
After graduating in 1984, Huppert worked for stations in Wausau, Wis., Omaha, Neb., and Milwaukee, Wis., before landing at KARE 11 in 1996.
Although Huppert had tried being a news anchor, Huppert preferred to be a reporter.
"I like telling stories. I think we all do at some level ... ," Huppert said. "I like being outside, traveling and meeting new people. It's an adventure. Everyday brings something new."
Sharing other peoples' stories is how Huppert enjoys celebrating his farming heritage.
"I love covering stories in rural Minnesota. I feel at home there and comfortable with those topics," Huppert said.
Especially when he's one of the few people in the KARE 11 office who has a farm background.
"It's knowing the difference between a silo and a grain bin or that alfalfa and hay are the same thing. It's the things we, with farm backgrounds, take for granted ... that's why I like these stories. It's helping others understand," Huppert said.
His involvement on his family's dairy as a young person helped him get to where he is today.
"It prepared me well for this job, which is labor intensive. I still work holidays," Huppert said. "To be successful at either, you really have to put in the hours."
But Huppert said being a dairy farmer or a journalist requires more than hard work.
"You have to love what you do. You have to have passion," Huppert said.
"I see the same passion in my brother," Huppert added.
On his family's dairy farm in Wisconsin, Huppert's brother, Jay, continues the farming tradition, milking 60 cows.
"He's a very dedicated farmer," Huppert said.
These same qualities were ones the brothers learned from their dad.
"He loved his work and I never heard him complain. He never missed a milking," Huppert said about his dad, who he considers a role model.
His dad also taught him fairness, decency, kindness and humility, which he tries to bring to his job now, Huppert said.
"Part of growing up on a farm I treasure most is the amount of time I spent with my parents," Huppert said.
Although he no longer on the farm, Huppert enjoys being able to share farming stories.
"Other people don't have many opportunities to be on TV," he said. "It's an honor to tell their story."
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