4th generation farmer promotes agriculture

Posted March 14, 2019 at 4:15 pm

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Michael Landuyt, Westbrook/Walnut Grove 1993 graduate, has always been interested in agriculture. As a 9th grader, he participated in the FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience(SAE) project with 35 acres. He also helped out at the neighbor’s 300-head cattle farm when they were gone.

“I guess that’s where I caught the bug,” said Landuyt, referring to being a beef farmer. “I had rented my first 200 acres while attending South Dakota State University(SDSU),” he said.

On weekends he would drive home to help with the farm work. After completing his 2-year General Agriculture associate degree at SDSU, he came back home to his own 725-cattle herd.

Mike is now a 4th generation family farmer who lives on the farm established by his great grandparents Henry (H.C.) and Susie Buterbaugh in 1928. They farmed there until they passed the farm to their son John (J.R.) and his wife Evelyn in 1951. J.R. and Evelyn farmed the land for 34 years until 1985, when they passed the farm to their daughter Kris and her husband George.

“My dad was a city kid,” said Mike. That background didn’t hinder George from farming the land and raising feeder pigs until 2010 when Mike became his dad’s partner and the 4th generation family farming the land.

Mike wanted more training in agriculture, so a year after he became joint owner of the Landuyt Land and Livestock farm between Walnut Grove and Tracy, he participated in Class III of the Minnesota Agricultural and Rural Leadership program. For those unfamiliar with MARL, it is described as a two-year dynamic leadership development program for active and engaged adult agricultural and rural leadership people in Minnesota. The organization trains both active farmers and agribusiness people who work with farmers. A highlight of Mike’s MARL experience was the international trip to China.

He gradually became more experienced with the beef production industry, and he also took on more leadership responsibilities in organizations that promoted agriculture. Mike’s first leadership experience had been when he served as WWG FFA chapter president in high school. Almost 20 years of participation in the Minnesota Cattleman’s Association (MCA) prepared him serve a 2-year term as MCA vice president. At the annual meeting in December, he moved into the position of president for the 1,200 MCA members. Among his responsibilities, he will be making trips to St. Paul to testify to state legislators when needed, as well as working on the national level.

“We’re the political arm for the cattlemen,” said Landuyt, who is also on the national cattlemen’s board. “We’re the ones who work with lawmakers and state agencies. We help spread information and hold different meetings through the year. If an agency makes a big change, we will try to do education on it to inform members about what is going on.”

Agriculture isn’t the only concern Mike has had in the past. Fifteen years as a Walnut Grove Volunteer fireman, serving as chief for a number of years, and as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) ready to respond when the pager sends a call both volunteer organizations benefitted the Walnut Grove community, but retiring from these volunteer responsibilities gave Mike more time to devote to his cattle and crops as well as more time for a agricultural advocacy responsibilities.

Mike and his wife Kari are proud parents of three children: Hayden (18), Hallie (13) and Harper (5). They attend school in Tracy where Kari is a pre-school teacher. Is there a 5th generation family farmer in the future? It’s too early to predict.