T. Floyd Durland lives on the same farm on which he was born in northern Moody County near Brookings, South Dakota, a few years after his parents moved up from Nebraska in 1892. He married Ann Kelly in 1918 and the couple raised four sons.
Mr. Durland is not one to keep tabs on favors he has done for others and he would much rather talk about the future than the past. But he has left a permanent mark on the Brookings community and on the people with whom he has associated over the years.
“Floyd is one of those guys you depend on to get things going in a community,” says Charlie Jensen, chief of the Brookings Fire Department. And to this man “community” means both town and country.
He has been involved in the development of the Brookings Farmers Cooperative Elevator, the Moody County Extension Board, the Lake Campbell Sportsmen’s Club. St. Thomas More Catholic Church activities, the Riverview Township Board, the Elks Club, and the local school board. His wife recalls that at one time he was an officer in five different organizations at the same time.
Until nine years ago he farmed 480 acres of Moody County farmland and raised sheep, beef, and hogs.
He experienced the mechanical revolution on the farm with grease on his hands—he is a mechanic and a good one, starting back in 1914. Even though horses were still used more than cars, Durland attended the Sweeney Auto School in Kansas City. Later the Durland farmyard became a “parking lot” for autos of every vintage though neighbors will tell you the Durland farmstead was noted for the excellent condition of machinery, buildings and fences. He has always tried to keep abreast of things mechanical but he admits that he never thought faming would become as mechanized as it has today.
Three of his four sons remain in farm-related professions: John, however, became a civil engineer and lives in Chicago, Illinois; Tom farmed for 14 years but is now a territorial manager for Ford Motor Company; Richard is a County Extension agent in Marshall County, and Robert is an agricultural engineer for the Cooperative Extension Service at South Dakota State University.