Mitch Magnusson grew up on the farm and has worked his own land in Roseau since the 1980s. Before that, Mitch and his brothers helped their father farm, who helped his father farm, who helped Mitch’s great grandfather farm after he came to the U.S. from Iceland in the 1800s. Now, Mitch’s sons carry on the family tradition and work the land themselves. Now, Roseau County wants to take 320 out of the 1,100 acres of Mitch’s land, where he has worked for over 30 years. Roseau County claims their plan will alleviate flooding, but Mitch knows his land better than anyone and knows this is not true; the plan would create stagnate water, leaving his land unfarmable while cutting off access to his family’s cabin on the property. Mitch loves farming and does not want to give his land up for a project he knows will do nothing to help Roseau.
Together with two partners, Matthew Magnusson farms 10,000 acres; 700 acres would be impacted by this project, including multiple family cabins and buildings. Matthew farms wheat, soybean, sunflowers, canola, perennial rye, reed canary, and other native grasses. He does not understand how a project with such paltry, minimal benefits for a few property owners—whose land floods very rarely under current conditions—can be justified considering the devastation it would cause him and his neighbors, with more frequent flooding. Matthew is also concerned by how he observes DNR mis-managing their ample public land—he doesn’t think they should be acquiring even more in Minnesota.
The Kveen family has been farming in Roseau for over 130 years. Norman Kveen grew up on farmland, learning how to farm with his uncles, growing everything from wheat to sunflowers. Now with his own land, Norman has spent his entire life making his farm profitable to support his family. If Roseau goes through with this project, they would be taking over half of Norman’s land—which he has owned for over 60 years—leaving him unable to continue growing his crops and without a stable income. He raised his children on the farm, taught them how to farm, and continues to teach the lessons of farming to his grandchildren. Norman enjoys nothing more than making memories with his family here, and he does not want to give up or sell his land. To Norman, his farm is priceless.
Terry Kveen and his family have farmed their land since their great-grandparents came to Minnesota in a wagon well over one hundred years ago. His grandparents bought the land that Terry now owns. He has fond memories growing up here, like his grandmother baking a cake in their wood oven, or planting Kentucky blue grass seeds with his uncle. Generations of the Kveen family grew up on Terry’s farm. Now, his grandsons oversee the operations. Although Terry and his wife moved to Wisconsin for health reasons, they still love their farmland and visit every summer to see their grandsons and make sure the crops are doing well. This project would leave Terry with only 80 acres of his 1,300 acres of land. Terry wants to be able to keep his family’s farmland so that future generations of Kveens can continue to cultivate it and make memories.
Hunter manages the Byfuglien family property which his great-grandfather bought in 1900. The Byfugliens and O’Learys use the land for farming and hunting, and they would never willingly sell the land. Hunter, like his neighbors, maintains that the land is well-kept and serves a wonderful purpose for many families to earn their livelihoods and plant family roots. For Hunter and his family, this is more than land; it’s his heritage. He hopes to one day pass on the land to his children and teach them how to farm and hunt it, too.
The Byfuglien’s land has been in the family since 1900 when Bob’s father first purchased it. They own about 60 acres and would never sell their land for this project. Bob and Vangie want the land to remain completely as it is--productive, generational farmland--not a duck pond. Like Bob’s father, they want to be able to pass it on to their children, so future generations can continue to farm on it, hunt on it, and enjoy it for generations to come.
The Rice family settled in Roseau in 1889. Four generations later, Brian Rice continues his family’s legacy by farming 1,200 acres of land and growing wheat, soybeans, and other crops. Brian cannot imagine a life without his farm. He grew up here, learned the family business, and now owns and cares for the farm. Having his farmland taken away from him would mean losing four generations of hard work and memories. Brian knows his land best; Roseau’s flood plans will not stop Brian’s land from flooding, something he is able to manage, and will only deprive him of the land he has worked so hard to own.
Vernon Rugland’s 400-acre homestead was established in 1885, and includes his family home. He was born on the property, and his grandmother was a midwife who delivered most of the babies in the area back then because there was no local doctor. He knows that the Roseau Lake Rehabilitation Project will not have a positive benefit, and in fact, will contribute to more flooding.