Lunemann appointed to MN climate change council

As one of two farmers on the council, Pat Lunemann is looking forward to collaborating on climate change topics.

Pat Lunemann.JPG
With technology similar to a Fitbit from the company SCR, Twin Eagle Dairy co-owner and general manager Pat Lunemann and his employees can monitor each cow with data on the computer and their smartphones. Rebecca Mitchell/Rural Living

CLARISSA --Twin Eagle Dairy co-owner and general manager Pat Lunemann recently received an appointment to Gov. Tim Walz's Advisory Council on Climate Change. Lunemann is one of 15 members appointed to the council who will serve from Sept. 28, 2020 until April 2, 2023.

As a member of the council, Lunemann believes his life experiences including as a dairy farmer in Greater Minnesota, serving as chair of AgriGrowth for three years and chair for Minnesota Milk Producers for nine years have prepared him with skills and connections.

“I’m ready for a new challenge, a different challenge and think that my life experiences will help me to be a good council member,” Lunemann said.

One of the climate change concerns Lunemann has is the trees, which in the Clarissa area have gone downhill from a loss of elm trees to ash trees with diseases. The elm trees used to make up about 25-30% of the trees in the area, according to Lunemann.

“It’s just like one thing after another,” Lunemann said about the loss of trees, swamps and meadows due to diseases and insects.


The changes are happening regardless of climate change as a complex issue like the role of globalization in some of the changes, as Lunemann said. He sees the effects of climate change in the forests, crops and weather extremes.

“I have seen climate change in my 40 plus years of farming,” Lunemann said. “One can argue what’s causing that but certainly we need to get serious about figuring out the problem and how to fix it. I think that’s how I want to approach it, is how as a citizen and as a farmer and as a representative of agriculture can we collectively figure out how to solve the problem.”

The weather extremes are “becoming more common” including with rainfall events shifting from a half inch to two inches to now four-five inches, according to Lunemann. Over the summer, Little Falls had a rainfall event of 10-12 inches.

“Those used to be called 500 year events, well now they’re becoming maybe every five year events instead,” Lunemann said.

As a farmer, one of the impacts of climate change Lunemann experiences is the constant change.

“How do we adapt and improvise, and then of course we need to look at what can we do better for the environment and of course in the bigger picture that’s climate change as well,” Lunemann said.

His farm has added practices to better steward the air, water and land over the years. He sees other positive changes happening too, like LED light bulbs leading to more renewable energy sources as well as conservation of power by electric companies. With the positive projects already going on, Lunemann said “we need to push the bar,” and with each person doing something “we’ll make some progress.”

About the Governor’s Advisory Council on Climate Change

After being formed in Dec. 2019, the 15 appointed members are the first members on the council. The council will work to reduce greenhouse emissions and increase climate resiliency, according to a news release . The council also advises the Climate Change Subcabinet, which is responsible for overseeing companies’ progress with the Next Generation Energy Act with goals for 2015, 2025 and 2050 that Minnesota is behind on, according to a 2019 news release . The council will meet up to four times per year and examine communities across the state including solutions for disparities and helping communities and workers transition with policies, according to Executive Order 19-37 .


Lunemann is looking forward to the collaborative nature of working on climate change issues together, something he experienced with fellows of different viewpoints solving problems as a University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute Policy Fellow in 1997.

“People telling us (rural communities) what to do, no we need to work together to figure out what to do and let’s use science as a guide to figure out where we should be in the future,” Lunemann said about the urban/rural struggle.

For more information on climate change in Minnesota, visit .

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in feature reporting as well as enhancing online articles. Readers can reach Rebecca at 507-285-7681 or
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