Eastern Montana, ranchland, prairie, ranch, ranching, rural, Montana, farming, grassland, open space

Ryan and Haven Linder embody the plus side of raising your kids back on the Farm.

Ryan’s graduating class was twelve, Haven’s was four. And there’s a lot of joy in that.

There is so much talk of how we need to convince kids to come back to the farm. But there is a lot less talk as to why some may want to.

Ryan and Haven Linder

Ryan and Haven Linder, now married with their two kids, spent tens years away from the farm. They didn’t lose their rural roots and were ranching and rodeoing along their way. They moved around to Bozeman, Lewistown and Havre, but when it came time for their kids to start school they knew they wanted them to be in a Class C school, Montana’s smallest classification for high school .

They also needed wide open spaces.

“You can’t see anything,” Haven said about Bozeman.

Durum wheat grown on the farm.

So, they moved back to Flaxville, now farming 1,000 acres most of which borders the farm of Ryan’s Dad, Gary. Although the winters can be bitter cold, and last summer was horribly dry, their farm in the far northeast corner of Montana is an ideal place to raise a young family.

One of the reasons at the top of the list is high school sports. At a Class C school anyone who wants to play can play.

“We played everything,” Haven said about her experience in high school. Ryan added that it’s just the opportunity — you can do band, choir and three sports in a year.

And the community supports. During the winter, even when it feels too cold to leave your house, everyone will still make it to the high school basketball games.

While talking about community support it came up that Ryan has plowed the highway multiple times just to get to school.

“We’re one of the poorest counties, so you just kind of do what it takes,” Ryan said.

It was clear how important education was to the Linder family. And it’s clear they are not the only ones to care this much. (Although some kids may not mind a snow day!)

The Linder’s farm.

For these high schoolers, sports aren’t only important because of the athletics. They also teach work ethic, the patience to see lasting progress and the ability to build trusting bonds with others. Also, whether it’s sports or the community as a whole, their kids learned respect.

When their son graduated there were only 14 kids in his class. But 40 came up to the Linders’ house for graduation. Like kids do, they planned to pitch a bunch of tents in the backyard but had not by 3 in the morning when it started to rain. All 40 of the high school kids piled into the Linders’ basement, so of course they were expecting a mess in the morning. But when Haven went down to fix up, there wasn’t a pillow out of place.

Plus, when Ryan checked the fridge all the beers were accounted for as well.

-Andie Creel

Photos by August Schield. 

Special thanks to Chris Christiaens and Paul Kanning for looping us through the grapevine to Ryan and Haven Linder. Also, thanks to Ryan and Haven for showing us around their beautiful property and giving us cookies and ol’ mills. We apologize for the lack of photos of Ryan’s perfectly planted trees, though want it on record that they were beautiful.

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