The Trio Farm
The Tom and Deb Trio family of rural Easton has been named the 2019 Faribault County Farm Family of the Year by the University of Minnesota.
Tom’s parents, Joe and Joanne, purchased the farm where Tom was raised in 1964.
There was never any doubt about Tom’s love for farming.
“Basically, from the time I could walk I was chasing Dad down the driveway wanting a tractor ride,” Tom says.
The love and desire to farm continued to grow as he entered school in Minnesota Lake.
“I was known for staring out the window during school my fourth grade year,” Trio comments. “Cathy Schirmer was my teacher and because I was a good enough student, my mom was able to arrange for me to get out of school at times to come home and be on the farm.”
Deb’s parents, Maurice and Agnes, who lived in rural Madelia, were also farmers. Deb was not too surprised when she ended up marrying a farmer.
“I always kind of thought I might marry a farmer when I was growing up,” Deb adds.
Growing up on a farm is not the only thing the couple have in common. They both come from large families.
Deb has eight brothers and sisters. She is the youngest female and the second youngest of all her siblings. Tom has five older sisters and one younger brother.
Tom and Deb both graduated from high school in 1983, Tom from Minnesota Lake and Deb from Madelia.
“I went to college at the University of Minnesota-Waseca (UMW),” Tom says, “I was there until 1985.”
It did not take long after leaving UMW for Tom to begin getting more involved in agriculture.
“My brother Gary and I bought a farm building site in 1986 and also began farming some land together,” he explains.
Tom credits his mother, Joanne, who passed away in 1980, for his work ethic. His father Joe, who passed in 2018, is credited with giving Tom his spirit.
Tom’s father Joe married Darlene Warmka of Easton in 1981 and Tom gained a step-brother and two step-sisters.
His step-brother, Mark, married Deb’s sister Kate in 1986. It was because of Mark and Kate’s relationship Tom and Deb met. One year later, in 1987, Tom and Deb tied the knot.
“Our first home was just north of Mark and Kate’s place southwest of Easton,” Tom explains. “Then, in 1992, we moved to our current home, just east of the home farm.”
Tom and Deb have three grown children.
“Our oldest son, Peter, lives in San Francisco with his partner Paul. Peter recently launched his own design firm called The Thirdscape Initiative. Our daughter, Abbey, married Jordan Beyer, from Bricelyn, and is a third-grade teacher at United South Central,” Tom comments. “Luke graduated from the University of Wisconin-River Falls and is farming with me.”
Luke, who has a degree in ag engineering technology, recently started his own business.
“It is called Luxe Agriculture,” Luke states. “I manufacture free-standing cattle gates.”
The Trio farm is a diversified farm.
“We raise corn and soybeans and have a small cow heard,” Tom remarks. “The animals are able to roam a 40-acre woodlot on the farm.”
The phrase “family farm” truly describes how the Trios operate.
“I do a little bit of everything,” Deb says. “I do chores, I drive tractor and I also do some bookkeeping.”
And it is appreciated by her husband.
“She (Deb) is so good at knowing where we need help, and she jumps right in,” Tom comments.
Then there is Tom’s brother Gary.
“Gary actually quit farming in 1990 and got a job in Mankato,” Tom explains. “But come spring and fall, especially fall, he is my right-hand man. He actually uses some of his vacation time to help us out.”
Working on the farm isn’t the only thing which keeps this family busy.
“When we were first married I worked at the hospital in Wells for a year. Then I was a school nurse at USC,” Deb says. “Now I work full time as a Registered Nurse at the Federal Woman’s Prison in Waseca and I am also working at becoming a Master Gardener.”
Ironically, the prison used to be the campus of where Tom attended college, UMW.
“I spend some time in the winter months doing carpentry work for family and friends and I do some volunteer coaching for boys basketball at USC.” Tom comments.
In addition to helping his dad on the farm, Luke also volunteers with the Easton Fire Department.
“In the fall we also do some custom-combining for other people,” Tom says.
Many things have changed in agriculture since Tom’s father first purchased the farm in 1964 but some things remain the same.
“Mother Nature can make things challenging,” Tom shares. “This year was a good example of how the weather can make farming interesting.”
And just as Tom worked with his father and gradually took on more responsibility, that will be the plan with Luke.
“Luke will start having a greater role on the farm and the plan would be that eventually it will transfer to him,” Tom says.
While they work hard to make the farm a success, the Trio family also makes sure to find time to relax.
“We like to go to our cabin up north and the farm also serves as a summer retreat for cousins from the Twin Cities, Chicago and as far away as the East Coast.
And so the tradition of hard work and hard play continues to be passed on from one Trio generation to the next.