Jeanne, Tate and Mark Johnson at the Minnesota Beef Expo. Mark is hands-on in helping his sons learn about the agricultural industry.
Jeanne, Tate and Mark Johnson at the Minnesota Beef Expo. Mark is hands-on in helping his sons learn about the agricultural industry.


By Wendy Sweeter


As we celebrate Father’s Day this Sunday, one family explains what their dad means to them.

Mark Johnson of Centerville, South Dakota, became a father 16 years ago with the birth of he and his wife, Jeanne’s, oldest son, Trevor. Two years later they had another son, Tate, now 14.

Trevor and Tate say Mark is a good dad because he is always on their team and they can count on him. Jeanne says he is a good dad because of the sacrifices he makes.

“I would say his unconditional love and willingness to sacrifice for his boys make him a great dad,” Jeanne says.

The Johnsons are raising their boys on their purebred Hereford and Angus operation, Sleepy Hollow Farm. Jeanne says raising their boys on the farm is great because it is not only a legacy, but it is also a hands-on learning experience.

“Mark likes to call it working on the ‘short game’ and the ‘long game’ all at the same time. It’s taking on the daily responsibilities and seeing things to completion all the while trying to have a vision for something in the future,” Jeanne says. “A dad can build that kind of character in his sons every day on the farm.”

Jeanne and the boys say Mark is a good role model by being a living example to them by working alongside of them. He takes a lot of pride in letting them be a part of the decision-making around the home and the farm.

“He also tries to impress on them how much a positive outlook and sense of humor makes life worth living in good times and in bad,” she says.

He also follows the golden rule by trying to treat others the way you want to be treated. Mark also shows the importance of seeing other people’s point of view.

Besides working together on the farm, they also enjoy showing livestock together. Jeanne notes that Mark takes each boy when get done with middle school and before starting high school on a trip to the Boundary Waters.

“One special thing Mark did for each boy was when they got done with middle school and were preparing to start high school, Mark took them both on separate fishing/canoeing/camping trips in the Boundary Waters - no phones, no cows, no other people - just the two of them and a change of scenery,” Jeanne says.