September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

Dealing with life's changes

Lund family leaves dairy industry after flood

By Jennifer Burggraff- | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

ROSEAU, Minn. - Life is unpredictable, and so is weather.

Gary and Phyllis Lund and their two sons, Jarod and Todd, found this out the hard way when their dairy farm near Roseau, Minn., flooded in June of 2002. Although the flood changed their lives, the Lunds have learned to accept the unexpected and have moved on with their lives.

In mid-June of 2002, nearly 11 inches of rain poured down in northern Minnesota over a three-day period, causing the Roseau River to crest at 23.2 feet and flood much of the surrounding area. The Gary and Phyllis Lund farm was in the path of the flood. As water reached their yard, the Lund family worked for 48 hours straight to save the house, dairy barn and several sheds from the threat. They cut into their driveway, pouring loads of gravel onto tarps surrounding the buildings and piling bales of straw on top to keep the water at bay. Once they had their own property stabilized, the Lunds went to help their neighbors and friends in between milking their herd and doing chores.

None of the Lunds' herd of nearly 100-head of cattle was lost to the flood. The dairy barn and house were also saved from the worst of the damage. However, water could not be stopped from entering several of the outbuildings, including hay and machine sheds.

"The buildings themselves did not get hurt, but the contents (hay and machinery) did," Gary Lund said.

Within days of the water retreating back into the banks of the Roseau River, the Lunds began weighing their options. Although the barn itself was saved from the brunt of the flood, much of the equipment was old and in need of repair. Also, the Lunds' hay fields were damaged in the flood and a large amount of hay they had stored from the previous year was destroyed from the water.

With all of these factors added to the rapidly declining dairy industry in northern Minnesota - which led to fewer suppliers, ag dealerships and local ag businesses - the Lunds made the decision to permanently get out of the dairy industry.

"The cows left the yard within a week after the flood," Lund said.

The Lunds spent the majority of that summer cleaning up and repairing damages left by the flood. They completely cleaned out the dairy and calf barns with the intent to rent the space for storage, but soon found the dairy barn held in too much moisture.

The dairy equipment was sold. Jarod (30) and Todd (25) went their separate ways, with Jarod moving to Fargo, N.D., and Todd moving into another house on the Lund farm and getting a job in product development at Marvin Windows in Roseau. Both Gary and Phyllis also began working for Marvin Windows and continued to farm their cropland until three years ago when Gary suffered a broken leg in a snowmobile accident. The Lunds again made the best of their situation. They cut back on farming - renting out 330 acres of their land to another farmer while putting 60 acres into a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and continuing to run 150 acres of crops.

Through all of their experiences, the Lunds have learned to take life as it comes.

"In life, some things you have control of and some things you don't," Lund said. "The things you do have control of you deal with; those you don't have control of you have to learn to accept."

Although they enjoyed their time dairying, the Lunds do not plan to get back into the industry.

"We enjoyed what we were doing but not what we were getting paid," Lund said. "Once you get out you start enjoying your freedom. We are at the age where the most we would do is continue farming the land that we were farming. We are looking at slowing down, not speeding up."

With slowing down, the Lunds now enjoy spending their spare time fishing, visiting their children and traveling to Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone National Park "without having to worry about what is going on at home," Lund said.

[[In-content Ad]]


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

No calendar events have been scheduled for today.