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Published November 11, 2011, 09:52 PM

Mayville, ND, Man Doing His Part to Save Family Farms

MAYVILLE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - A Mayville man is being recognized for helping more than 400 family farm owners get out of debt over the past 27 years.

MAYVILLE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - A Mayville man is being recognized for helping more than 400 family farm owners get out of debt over the past 27 years.

Lavon Nelson and his wife Sharon have a farm near Mayville and have had their fair share of ups and downs in the field.

"I went through a very tough time but I found a way to solve my own financial problems," Nelson said.

Nelson worked at the North Dakota Extension Service helping farmers with lending.

And that evolved, prompting Nelson to found a non-profit organization "Partners With Progress," working with lenders and farmers to find debt solutions.

It all started with a few local farmers.

"Four of them came to us for help and I got fellows at men's prayer breakfast to participate with me and raise some funds and save these farms and we saved those four farms," Nelson said.

Over a span of 13 years, the group brought in more than $4 million to save farms in North Dakota.

Nelson is very humble and just happy to help those in need.

"Out of all the work we've done, I've probably worked on over $300 million worth of debt and 92 percent of that's been adequately financed and farmers are now profitable," Nelson said.

That's one of the reasons Nelson is being awarded the the 2011 Lifetime Achievement Legacy of Giving award. Without his help, nearly 120 farms would have been foreclosed upon in North Dakota.

"Farming is a very volatile thing and it takes a lot to figure out some of these problems and how to fix them," Nelson said.

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