Reiman-Duden honored as Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year
Award welcomed as a bright spot for family
Kristin Reiman-Duden celebrates with her family – (from left) Cordell and Thomas Duden holding Marilyn – after being named the 2022 Woman Farmer of the Year at Farmfest Aug. 4 in Morgan, Minnesota. Reiman-Duden dairy farms near Princeton, Minnesota. Photo Courtesy of Philip Gerlach of Minnesota Farmfest
PRINCETON, Minn. – Kristin Reiman-Duden stood among five distinguished women in Minnesota’s agriculture scene, and her family watched from the audience waiting for the selection of the 2022 Farmfest Woman Farmer of the Year. The family experienced many lows in their lives this year, and an honor recognizing Reiman-Duden’s efforts was the bright spot they were seeking.
“I was up there with four other women who I admire, and all I thought was there was no way I could compete against them,” Reiman-Duden said. “I was just lucky to be a finalist with them. All these ladies are phenomenal, and they all do a tremendous job.”
Reiman-Duden was bestowed the honor during Farmfest Aug. 4 in Morgan; she was notified of her nomination for the recognition earlier in the year.
Every year, Farmfest honors one woman who exemplifies Minnesota women in agriculture. The award recognizes an individual who gives their time to raising livestock and growing crops, and the commitment farming demands.
The farmer, wife and mother to three milks 40 cows and runs 320 acres of land on her family’s dairy farm near Princeton, where she grew up. Reiman-Duden dairy farms alongside her parents – Richard and Margaret Reiman – husband Thomas Duden and children – stepdaughter Maddie, 9; son Cordell, 4 and daughter Marilyn, 2.
She also works part-time at an area flower shop, is a part-time FFA advisor for the local chapter and substitute teaches when her time allows.
Duden nominated his wife for her commitment to the family’s dairy farm as well as her involvement and leadership in the community.
She paid little attention to the nomination process, only having to sign a letter accepting the nomination which was discretely provided to her. But, it was the notification of being a finalist that really surprised Reiman-Duden.
“Thomas wanted me to sign something and I caught a glimpse of the title on the sheet of the paper, but I honestly didn’t expect anything from it and really forgot about it,” she said. “Then, we got the call and I felt like I was a Princess Kay finalist 20 years ago. It meant a lot then and it means a lot now.”
The committee reviewed Reiman-Duden’s nomination and felt that as a farmer and community member she embodied the state’s agriculture sector.
In addition to farming and her time volunteering with youth in FFA, Reiman-Duden also works with children in the local 4-H organization, leasing heifers for them to show at the county fair. She has mentored children of all ages and now is able to facilitate the farm’s leasing program with older children serving as mentors for the younger ones.
“The nomination and someone seeing what I do and that I’m proud of what I do is everything,” Reiman-Duden said. “It resonates with me that this is my purpose, and it makes me feel better that what I do, or we do as women, is not done without appreciation.”
When Reiman-Duden’s named was announced as the winner of the award, she held back tears of gratitude.
“It was all very emotional,” Reiman-Duden said. “It’s felt like as much as what’s been thrown at us, it was good to have a moment that is just awesome. I took a deep breath; this is a time to rejoice and be happy.”
In May, the family was hit with two devastating events.
As spring weather made its way through Minnesota, the farm was caught in a storm that knocked down trees and caused damage to many buildings and Reiman-Duden’s home. Then, less than a few weeks later, Marilyn was in a farm accident where she ingested pipeline disinfectant. The toddler spent time at Children’s Minnesota in Minneapolis and recently had her feeding tube removed as part of her healing journey.
“May was a long and very tiring and troublesome month with all that we were facing,” Reiman-Duden said. “Now this is a nice energizer to say we can still do this. We can still get through hard things. It makes you want to continue on and look forward to the future.”
To celebrate Reiman-Duden’s accomplishments, the family received tickets to Farmfest for the announcement. They did chores together in the morning so they could all attend the recognition ceremony.
“My dad really likes to go and it’s been a few years since he’s been to Farmfest,” Reiman-Duden said. “It was a great time to also reconnect with people we know.”
As a mother to two daughters, Reiman-Duden hopes her award as Woman Farmer of the Year sets an example for what any female is capable of.
“We’re in an industry that has always seemed male-dominated, and I hope this resonates that women do a great job of farming, not just because of an award but as part of daily life,” Reiman-Duden said. “There are many hats that women wear, and they have always been the backbone of the family and the farm.”