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University of Minnesota Extension

Mower County Farm Family

MJ Merten Partnership

The home farm was purchased by Peter Merten in the late 1940s. He and his wife, Lucy, fulfilled their dream of owning a piece of land. Their son, Francis Merten, came home after serving in the United States Navy to fulfill his dream of farming. 

Francis and his wife, Shirley, had eight children, four boys and four girls, and raised them on the farm, instilling in them a great work ethic. They all worked together as a team to make the farm a success. In 1995, Francis decided it was time to slow down, and sold the operation to two of his sons, Mike and Joe. They took over the family farming operation and formed MJ Merten Partnership. Together they started a seed business selling Pioneer Hi-Bred products. They also started a trucking business hauling fresh vegetables for a local canning company. These two jobs kept them very busy and fit in well with the farming operation.

Along with raising corn and soybeans, the family continues to sell seed and crop protection products for Pioneer and Corteva Agriscience. They also continue to haul fresh vegetables and provide custom applications for area farmers.

Mike’s son, Tom, and a nephew, Joey Bumgarner, have been employed by the business for many years and have contributed greatly to the operation. They recently became financially invested in the partnership and will eventually take over when Mike and Joe decide to slow down. 

Mike’s wife, Dee, and Joe’s wife, Jill, are very supportive of the farming operation and the family’s other businesses. They are always willing to help whenever needed, especially in the busy planting and harvest seasons.

Family members all enjoy their jobs and working together as a farm family. They are committed to helping grow the operation and helping others succeed. Farming is an ever-changing business. The family says its members will adjust to these changes and continue producing food, fuel, and fiber for an ever-changing and hungry world.

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