Lloyd Nygard was born on June 29, 1915, to Andrew and Anna Nygard of Edinburg, North Dakota. He was the tenth of eleven children. He graduated from high school at the Walsh County Agricultural and Training School in Park River. While in high school, he was active in the Future Farmers of America (FFA), Glee Club, livestock and crops judging teams, school annual, and the school newspaper.
He attended the North Dakota Agricultural College (now North Dakota State University) in Fargo, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1939. He continued to be active in FFA, as well as the livestock judging team, YMCA, and Alpha Zeta, an honorary agricultural fraternity.
He married Martha Flaten of Park River on November 4, 1942, at Pleasant Valley Lutheran Church. The couple, who had known each other since high school, had two sons, Mark and Neal, and one daughter, Joanne.
After turning down a scholarship to attend Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Nygard accepted a position at Velva High School as a teacher of vocational agriculture in 1940. In addition to his teaching, he served as chapter adviser for the FFA, and organized separate Young and Adult Farmer courses. By the time he left Velva ten years later, Nygard supervised the only complete vocational agriculture department in the state.
In 1951, the family moved to Minot, where Nygard was hired to manage the ranching operations of Maurice Harrington, then mayor of Minot. He was responsible for over 7,000 acres of crops, and up to 1,000 head of cattle. He built a purebred Hereford herd that won awards at shows throughout the region. Nygard and Harrington worked together to establish the performance testing program that became the model for over 1,000 herds in the state.
In 1962, Nygard purchased a farm in the Souris River Valley upstream from Burlington. When Harrington closed down his purebred operation in 1971, Nygard went into farming on his own. He built his own Hereford herd, and also started a certified seed program. He was named Commercial Beef Producer of the Year by the North Dakota Beef Improvement Association in 1974. During the 1980s, the American Hereford Association recognized the quality of his herd by twice placing his cattle on their elite list of most valuable producer cows.
Beginning in the early 1960s, Nygard became active in efforts to oppose the flood control plans of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The plan articulated by the Corps included construction of the Burlington Dam and inundation of much of the Souris River Valley. Nygard was instrumental in the creation of Citizens United to Save the Valleys, an organization of over 4,000 members throughout the Souris River Valley. This group supported a more comprehensive plan, including channel improvements in Minot, dams on Souris tributaries in Canada, and smaller dams on coulees in the Des Lacs River Watershed. The group was successful, as by 1991 the original Corps' plan had been discarded.
Nygard was a member of the Ward County Farmers Union, as well as the Ward County Farm Bureau. He served as President of the United Public School District (Des Lacs and Burlington), as well as the Ward County School Board Association. He was also active in the local 4-H Club. He served on the church council of First Lutheran Church in Minot, and sang in the church choir.
Lloyd Nygard died on December 21, 2001, and is buried at Sunset Memorial Gardens in Minot.
The Lloyd Nygard Papers have been divided into six series as follows:
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Organizations
Series 3: Miscellaneous Flood Control Materials
Series 4: Published Government Documents
Series 5: Newspaper Clippings
Series 6: Oversize Materials
One photograph of Lloyd Nygard was separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets.