Thank you to the Eastern Arizona Courier for permission to reprint.
By Henry Rudd Lunt and Colleen M. Lunt
DUNCAN — On Nov. 20, 1916, Mary Lunt and her three boys, Kenneth, Olas and Rudd, arrived by train in Duncan.
Broughton Lunt arrived separately on a freight train so he could bring chickens, a calf and their Jersey cow, Buttercup. Little did they know that Buttercup would be the beginning of what is known as Lunt’s Dairy.
Broughton and Mary bought 40 acres from Edward Lunt for $6,800, to be paid over 10 years. They built a two-room adobe house on the property.
The first few years, the Lunts primarily raised corn, with some oats and hay. But it was also during this time that Broughton helped Leonard Cheetham build a dairy that he later sold to George Lunt, who sold it to Ed Lunt.
Broughton slowly built up his milking herd. The family milked the cows in the corral and carried buckets of milk to Ed Lunt’s Dairy for sale.
After a few years, a 10-cow dairy barn was built near Broughton’s house, and the cows were milked by hand in this barn until about 1945, when the dairy got its first milking machine. By then, the Lunts were using a cart and horse to haul the milk to Ed Lunt, who pasteurized, bottled and sold it. In 1948, the Lunts started hauling the milk in a pickup.
After Broughton died in 1946, Mary Lunt and Sons partnership was formed by Broughton’s four sons: Rudd, Elno, Irl and Elvin.
They built a new barn next to the 10-cow barn near Broughton’s house and, in 1953, they started milking in it. It was a six-stanchion barn, with six milking machines and a 200-gallon tank. They milked 250 cows a day and began selling milk to Lindsey.
In 1958, Mary Lunt and Sons bought Ed Lunt’s dairy and leased it to Green Pastures, who sold milk to Shamrock. Because of price wars in 1961, all the dairies in Arizona joined together to form United Dairymen of Arizona, a milk cooperative and, at that time, the Green Pastures lease ended.
The cows from Ed Lunt’s dairy were moved to Mary Lunt and Sons’ new dairy, and Ed’s barn was closed, never to be milked in again.
In 1978, Elno Lunt left the Mary Lunt and Sons partnership, and a new corporation of Lunt’s Dairy was formed by Rudd, Irl and Elvin Lunt. Later, Nelson Lunt, Richard Lunt, Robert Lunt, Brent Lunt, Keith Hansen, Dale Lunt and Gerald Lunt all became partners in the corporation.
In 1982, Lunt’s Dairy built a new state-of-the-art polygon herringbone dairy barn that milked 20 cows at a time, with two 4,000-gallon tanks, milking 500 cows a day.
In 1992, Ed Lunt’s dairy barn burned. At that time, the 10-cow barn was used for storage, and the six-stanchion barn was used as a woodshop.
In 2002, Brent Lunt left Lunt’s Dairy but continued a career in agriculture. Then in 2004, Richard Lunt was elected as Greenlee County supervisor and left Lunt’s Dairy to pursue a career in politics.
As technology changed, so did Lunt’s Dairy. In November 2010, the dairy barn was remodeled into a 2×15 parallel-rapid exit design. This allowed the dairy to milk more cows a day and do it faster. It is currently milking 750 cows a day.
Over the years, the Lunts bought different pieces of land and raised corn, potatoes, onions, cotton, hay and barley. They also bought several ranches.
Even though the business is called Lunt’s Dairy, they diversified into other areas of agriculture. The farmland now is used to raise feed for the dairy and pasture for the range cattle.
Lunt’s Dairy is now one of the largest businesses in Greenlee County. Although the Lunts have been successful in raising agricultural products, they will tell you their greatest success lies in raising families in this beautiful, agricultural lifestyle.
Pictured are the current crop of Lunts running Lunt’s Dairy: from left, Nelson Lunt, Robert Lunt, Jace Lunt (standing in for Dale Lunt), Gerald Lunt and Keith Hansen