As a family, Lynn Farms works to overcome challenges
“My wife always says, ‘A farmer has to be an optimist or you wouldn’t be a farmer,’” said Jeff Lynn, owner of Lynn Farms.
Jeff Lynn is a third-generation farmer from Lismore, MN. He grew up feeding cattle alongside his dad, until he decided to expand into something more in 1979, following his SDSU graduation. Starting with just 16 sows, Jeff is now the first generation to raise hogs. As the years went on, Jeff continued to expand, adding a farrowing operation and first confinement barn in 1991, a gestation barn in 1993, a 2400 head wean-to-finish barn in both 1997 and 2006, and most recently a feed mill in 2010.
“Farmers can enjoy the benefits of self-employment and control business choices,” Jeff said. “You get to sit down at the end of the day and know you got through the day and challenges alongside your family. It is more than a job, it is a way of life.”
Jeff and his wife, Denise, have four children: Amanda, a GI Physician at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN; Natalie, a current stay-at-home wife and mom of two children; Sam, a High School Math Teacher in Adrian, MN; and Nick, the youngest who will soon be the fourth generation to take over the family farm. Jeff and Denise also have 4 grandchildren, and one on-the-way.
“When our kids were younger, they were involved in hands-on jobs,” Jeff said. “They helped wean pigs, process new litters and other tasks that needed to be done. They learned about hard work, discipline, patience, and that the important jobs aren’t always the glamorous ones. They learned where their food comes from and that before you get what you want, the chores need to be done. My kids learned the ethical principles we use to take care of animals, all while taking care of the environment and providing the world with safe and nutritious food.”
Jeff’s youngest son, Nick 27, graduated from SDSU in 2016 and started working with Jeff on the farm. He takes care of two hog confinement barns, does most of the feed grinding, and hauls all the hogs to market. He also takes care of all the hog records that are involved through Pipestone Management.
Sharing responsibilities on the farm, Jeff, Denise and Nick raise 15,000 pigs per year in three wean-to-finish barns.
The Lynn family continues to expand, recently adding a Computa Batch System to their feed mill, making it a completely automated feed processing system. With the system, they can enter the rations needed for the day and come back in a few hours with the feed read to load into the overhead. They also became in involved in the PART program through Pipestone Veterinary Services. This tool aids in tracking antibiotic use and resistance patterns. Lynn Farms is also involved in Wholesome Farms. Additionally, the family started with Big Stone Marketing, working to negotiate packer contracts. The farm also hauls their pigs themselves and grinds all their own rations to utilize their home-grown corn.
Even with the ongoing growth at Lynn Farms, many farmers today are seeing things in the industry they never wanted to see. This too is adding a challenge for the Lynn family.
“I have raised pigs for 40 years and can’t remember a time where there wasn’t a challenge,” Lynn said. “Even with the challenge, raising hogs is what I like to do and feeding people is a noble profession. My best advice for others is to surround yourself with good people to help you through a situation.”
Despite the challenges, Jeff looks back at the positive moments working alongside his father, and hopes to share similar days with his son.
“Although he passed away this winter, some of my favorite memories were growing up with my dad and working along side him all my life,” Jeff said when asked his favorite memory on the farm. “He always told me, ‘you don’t get what you wish for, you get what you work for.’ What I have today is because of him and I hope I can give my son the same opportunities.”
Article written by: Abby Hopp, Marketing Coordinator
Jeff and his family encourage you to try their favorite recipe
Pork Chop and Dressing
- 4 pork chops
- Salt & Pepper
- 3 c. bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. butter, melted
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/4 c. water
- 1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup diluted with 1/3 c. water
Brown pork chops. Put in flat baking pan. Combine rest of ingredients and put on top of pork chops. Pour diluted soup over meat and dressing. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour at 350.