Summer 2017

Hard work, hogs, and half-nelsons

Brett (left) and Chris Pfarr grew up wrestling each other in a converted machine shed on their family’s farm.

It’s hard to keep track of Brett and Chris Pfarr’s accomplishments at the University of Minnesota: There are the wrestling honors (both are letter winners and Brett is a two-time All-American), the academic honors (both are Academic All-Big 10), and the scholarships (12 for Brett; five for Chris).

Agriculture and food business management majors who graduated in May, the Pfarrs chalk up much of their success in sports and school to lessons they learned growing up on a hog-finishing farm in Le Seuer, Minnesota. “It’s a hard-work lifestyle,” says Brett, who is older by 11 months. When they weren’t studying or training, they were helping with the hogs and the family’s 800 acres of corn and soybeans. 

They also credit their upbringing with influencing their career interests. “The desire to feed the world started with my parents,” Brett says. “They were good stewards of the land. My dad always talks about how we have a world population to feed and we have to do that responsibly.”

Brett, who wants to work in the food industry, has been running wrestling camps on the West Coast since graduating. Chris plans to go to graduate school and study land and atmospheric science. Brett says having scholarships took the financial pressure off the brothers, who have two other siblings. “It allowed us to immerse ourselves as students and athletes and flourish,” he says.

Hear more from the Pfarr brothers about their lives and inspirations:

Courtesy Minnesota Gophers