Faces of Farming: Granite View Farms

KELOLAND.com Original

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO)–During National Agriculture Month, KELOLAND News wants to recognize people who work in the industry.


Granite View Farms is owned and operated by Mike and Nancy Johnson, along with their son, Dana and daughter-in- law Alysha, in Milbank, South Dakota. The Johnsons have been farming for all 40 years of their marriage and have three children.

Dana with son, Luke, heading out to do chores. Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms

Mike started farming and custom feeding cattle with his dad in a partnership operation before taking over his dad’s share in 1990. Their operation consists of 3,500 acres and has a feedlot with compacity for 4,000 head of cattle. They also have 130 commercial cows that they calve out.

Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms

The Johnsons raise mostly corn and alfalfa to utilize in their cattle feeding operation. They also raise a small amount of small grain to be able to supply straw for bedding.

Dana has his own farm and custom feeds some dairy cattle. Dana joined his parents operation in 2010, after completing the Diesel Technology program at Lake Area Technical College.

Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms

The Johnsons also employ four full-time workers and have additional part-time employees during the harvest season.

Nancy said when COVID hit, they joked that their business does not just shut down.

“Every day we had to feed the cattle. Crops needed to get planted and harvested. We experienced some anxiety about what would happen if our crew or ourselves came down with COVID,” Nancy said. “The window for planting and harvesting is dictated by Mother Nature every year.  Our dedicated crew still came to work every day and no one got sick.  We took what precautions we could.  This past year proved to America the value of the ag supply chain and the resiliency that producers possess.”

Their favorite part about being producers is being outdoors, having a strong faith in what they do, learning and doing new things constantly, Nancy said.

Nancy said farming is extremely demanding and requires an abundance of perseverance, but unfortunately, most times they feel unappreciated.

Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms

“We have a plaque on the wall in our office that states the definition of farming as, ‘The art of losing money while working 400 hours a month to feed people who think you are trying to kill them.’  Yet, American farmers produce the most abundant, nutritious and safest food supply in the world,” Nancy said. “We are proud to be farmers and enjoy what we do.  

The Johnsons are constantly pursuing better ways to do tasks and keeping up with the new technology.

“Sad to say there will never be a machine for helping a cow that needs it during calving or changing a flat tire on your truck when you’re halfway home with a load of corn,” Nancy said.

Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms

There are many multi-generational farms, and they are unique when a family can work together to create a successful operation, Nancy said.

“We have the passion and desire to keep the farm going for another generation,” Nancy said. “That means stepping up your game and keeping up with politics and environmental regulations along with keeping yourselves from getting burned out.”

Although not all of their children are involved at Granite View Farms, they are all active in the industry.

The Vos Family. Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms.

Their daughter, Angie Vos and husband Jon have a livestock haling business in Lake Benton. The couple has a one-year-old son.

Cattle limo at Jon and Angie’s wedding. Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms.

Their other daughter, Liz, and her husband, Dave Schroth, own a feedlot in Nebraska, where they primarily feed bison. They also have their own bison herd.

Schroth children with bison. Photos courtesy of Granite View Farms.

“We wish they were closer, but feel proud that all our children are active in agriculture,” Nancy said.


KELOLAND News wants to recognize the people who are part of the agricultural industry whether they’re a farmer, rancher or involved in another way.

To share your photos, videos and stories, email Ariana Schumacher at aschumacher@keloland.com. The deadline to submit is March 19. We look forward to hearing and sharing your stories.

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