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Published September 28, 2011, 12:00 AM

Faces of Our Community: Farm called him home

West Fargo man fifth generation of farmers in region
WEST FARGO - Brent Rust’s family has been farming in this region for five generations. He lives in West Fargo with Lacey, his wife of six years, and he farms just less than 5,000 acres in central Cass County with his father, Dennis, and his brother, Brian.

WEST FARGO - Brent Rust’s family has been farming in this region for five generations. He lives in West Fargo with Lacey, his wife of six years, and he farms just less than 5,000 acres in central Cass County with his father, Dennis, and his brother, Brian.

While he considered doing something else for a living, the farm called him home.

In this “Faces of Our Community” piece, Rust discusses the farm life, how the business has changed and what he enjoys about farming.

To view a slideshow and hear audio from the interview with Rust, visit http://tinyurl.com/InforumFaces.

On staying in the family business:

“I guess out of high school, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. And I went to NDSU, kind of thought business right away. And then I went into the National Guard ... I was in the Air National Guard in Fargo here, so I kind of got to see the country that way a little bit and maybe take orders from other people, and I thought, ‘Well, I kind of like being my own boss.’ ”

On how he feels about the work he does:

“I do feel good about that. You’re providing food for people and energy now, too … Carrying on this way of life, too. It’s kind of neat to do something that generations have done and to learn from your family on how to do it, which is kind of neat.”

On the changing face of agriculture:

“In a lot of areas of the country, it’s gotten a lot more specialized. You know, it used to be, in my grandparents’ day, you had a few cows and you had some pigs and you farmed a little bit, and there’s still some of that going on in places, but there haven’t been livestock here since the late ’70s. We’ve focused on crop production ... And everything has gotten bigger. It’s just on a different scale than it was even 20 years ago.”

On staying in the business for life:

“I’d like to think that, but that’s not always the case. You know, you go through some rough times, and sometimes you have to get out. So that’s why I guess I’m glad I went to college. I have that four-year degree as a backup in case this doesn’t work. But, yeah, I hope it is a career until I retire.”

On what his enjoys about farming:

“Just watching the crop grow, you know, taking care of it ... I don’t have a commute to work that’s full of traffic or anything like that, not that Fargo’s that bad, but I’ve driven through Minneapolis at rush-hour traffic and I couldn’t do that, I don’t think ... And you know all your neighbors.”

On whether farming is a difficult life:

“Well, I guess it depends on your definition of ‘difficult.’ I mean, as far as the manual labor end of things, it isn’t like it was 30, 40 years ago. Mechanization has changed a lot of that. You’re still on the back end of a shovel sometimes, but there’s a lot less of that than there used to be. But it’s long hours. ... This spring it was such a short window to get in the field, we worked sometimes 30, 40 hours straight, you know, and no sleep. It’s a lot more comfortable than it was … We’ve got good headlights and a nice cab, you know, comfortable to ride in, but it’s still a lot of hours sometimes packed into a short window.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734

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