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Kittson County family wins National Potato Council Award

Lance and Katrina Hapka, center, with Lance's mother, Jean Hapka (left), and father, Leon Hapka (right) and their children.

A Kittson County family with a potato farm has won national recognition for their dedication to preserving land.

The Hapka Family of Halma, Minn., received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Potato Council during the national meeting Jan. 12-13 in Orlando, Fla. The award represents a “commitment to stewardship of its land and protection of our shared environment,” according to a newsletter from the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association in East Grand Forks.

“The award-winner is a leader in adopting innovations that reduce the risks associated with pesticide application, support wildlife habitat and promote improved water quality and water conservation,” the newsletter said. “Their leadership by example encourages other producers to focus their attention on these important environmental values.”

Lance Hapka runs the 800-acre potato farm with his father, Leon, and sister, Jennifer Borowicz. They also deliver potatoes to J.R. Simplot in Grand Forks.

The Potato Growers Association nominated the Hapkas for the award.

Halma is about 40 miles northwest of Thief River Falls on U.S. Highway 59.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

(701) 780-1248