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Jossund family honored as Clay County farm family of the year

Mark and Brendy Jossund were recently named one of Minnesota's farm families of the year. The couple has enjoyed their years on the farm and raising their children in agriculture.

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Mark Jossund and his son, Carson Jossund, stand in one of their soybean fields on their family farm. Photo taken Aug. 16, 2021, in Hendrum, Minnesota. Emily Beal / Agweek

Mark and Brendy Jossund were recently honored at the 2021 Minnesota Farmfest for being Clay County’s farm family of the year. For Mark, the trip to Farmfest brought back a flood of memories, as he had attended one of the very first Farmfests with his brother in 1976.

The Jossunds are rooted in agriculture, but have taken a different approach to the lifestyle than many agriculturalists. The family resides in Moorhead, Minnesota, where they raised their children in the city, but they also offered them a childhood immersed in agriculture, taking them to the family farm everyday.

“It was the best of both worlds. The kids could ride their bikes to school events, but still get that farm experience. They were out here almost everyday,” Mark said.

A rich history

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The Jossunds farm in both Clay County and southern Norman County in Minnesota. Photo taken Aug. 16, 2021, in Hendrum, Minnesota. Emily Beal / Agweek

Mark is the fourth generation to nurture the soil in western Minnesota. His great grandfather, Ole Gilbertson, began farming in the 1880s. Along with Ole’s initial farmland, Brendy’s great-grandfather’s land is also a part of the Jossunds’ farming operation today. Their acres are in both Clay and southern Norman counties.

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Mark grew up on his family’s farm in Perley, Minnesota, north of Moorhead, and began farming with his father and brother in 1983. His father passed away just a year later. Mark continued to work with his brother, John, for another seven years before they separated their operations.

Mark and Brendy’s three children would make the trek up to the farm any chance they got, giving their parents a helping hand in any way they could.

“Growing up the kids would always come up from town. They would come up after school and help, we’re a true family farm operation,” Mark Jossund said.

Their operation now encompasses several thousand acres of corn, soybean and wheat.

A helping hand

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Carson Jossund has been able to bring back his agronomy knowledge to the farm, which has proven to be a valuable asset. Photo taken August 16, 2021 in Hendrum, Minnesota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

Mark and Brendy’s son, Carson Jossund, recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in agronomy. Following graduation, he decided to come back to the farm and work there full time with his father. He enjoyed helping out on the farm from a young age and knew he wanted to keep his roots in the agriculture industry.

“I have always enjoyed agriculture. So we grew up in Moorhead, but we always had the farm and I always liked coming out as a kid,” Carson Jossund said. “Pretty much any free time I had I'd come out. As soon as school was done, I would jump in my pick up and come and help as much as I could."

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Mark Jossund has enjoyed working with Carson and hopes to retire in the near future. But Carson sees his dad as a part of the future of the operation as well.

“I think it will really help that he will still be around all the time. I think he would retire financially, but that’s the thing — I don’t think farmers actually ever retire. He'll always be out here, which we really want since he’s been farming for so long that he has all the knowledge,” Carson said.

Carson thinks he and his father make a good team — his father with the years of farming knowledge and he with his agronomy degree.

“I learned a lot in school, about all the crop requirements and all that stuff. So I think it has made me an asset to the farm,” Carson said.

Carson’s brother, Bryce Jossund, works as a diesel mechanic in Ada, Minnesota. He also works on the farm during the evenings and weekends. The pair hope to eventually expand the operation so they both could work on the farm full time together.

A good occupation

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The Jossunds' farming operation consists of corn, soybeans and wheat. Photo taken August 16, 2021 in Hendrum, Minnesota. (Emily Beal / Agweek)

Mark and Brendy were touched to be named Clay County’s farm family of the year.

“It was great, it was quite an honor. It was totally unexpected,” Mark said.

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The couple have put their blood, sweat and tears into the soil over the decades, all while having smiles on their faces.

“I thought it was really cool to see them get honored for the hard work and many years that they have done on the farm,” Carson said.

As many agriculturalists know, it is not an easy way of life, but the Jossunds have enjoyed every moment of it, despite the road blocks that have been put in their way over the years.

“One of the biggest problems with farming is health insurance. I have been lucky my wife Brendy works off the farm as a nurse,” Mark said. “That’s probably one of the biggest challenges.”

In addition to working on the farm, Mark is also a member of the Perley Community Co-op and the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council, and sits on the Agricultural Fertilizer Research Education Council.

“It’s a great lifestyle. I mean, it’s hard work and it takes a lot of time, but it’s been a great occupation I’ve enjoyed immensely,” Mark said.

Emily grew up on a small grains and goat farm in southern Ohio. After graduating from The Ohio State University, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota to pursue a career in ag journalism with Agweek. She enjoys reporting on livestock and local agricultural businesses.
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