Raising a Farmer

Alot of work but always room for laughter

Saying Goodbye to Lady Wilt

Our hearts are so broken.

Farming is hard.

It is even harder when we have to tell our son, Everett, his special heifer Lady Wilt died unexpectedly. She was fine in the morning and by evening chores we found her in a stall passed away. It was difficult to tell Everett because we didn’t have a reason. She wasn’t sick. She wasn’t acting different. She was eating and drinking.

We were all looking forward to Lady Wilt having her first calf the end of summer. Sometimes in farming and in life there are no answers to our pain. All we can do is love on each other and stand by each other.

Lady Wilt was the daughter of Everett’s beloved cow 304IMG_6933


As we said our goodbyes to Lady Wilt we talked about how she would chew through her lead rope.

How tiny she was as a calf.


How much fun we had with her.

How it was pure happiness to share her with everyone.

We talked about how soft her hair was.

To how she would open the side door of the barn on her own.


As Everett said good bye to his beloved animal friend, he placed flowers on her with her Blue Ribbon from the fair. A halter. A family picture with 304 was gently placed around Lady Wilt. Nathan and I know it is important to teach our children it is ok to be sad. It is ok to be mad. It is ok to grieve. IMG_7081

Everett has decided he doesn’t want to show dairy this year at the county fair. Nathan and I completely support him in his decision. Everett needs time to heal his broken heart.IMG_7077Rudolph Dairy 0049




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Pine Grove Zoo

Thank you to Marnita and Vicki for sharing with us all the wonderful things the Pine Grove Zoo has to offer.
To think the zoo started in 1913 with two great horned owls is pretty amazing. To think how much the zoo has changed in 19 years is incredible.
Their goal is for guests to leave the zoo asking themselves “Do you remember when we went to the Pine Grove Zoo and…..”
So many take always and golden nuggets from Marnita and Vickie.
They are a powerhouse of a team.
“Come and enjoy the zoo.”
“Its all about families and people.”
“You can make a very big impact with a very small amount of effort.”
“We want to make it a personal experience.”
“Our animals are the most loved.”
“We want to express our love on to our visitors.”
What are your “Remember when….” of the Pine Grove
Pine Grove Zoo
Five Wing Art Council 

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Raising a Farmer: AgriCulture Podcast Ep. 1


What do you get when you put a farmer and an artist together?

A Fartisit. Yeah we know it is a bad dad joke but it is funny.

Heidi Jeub is a working artist and Brenda Rudolph is a farmer.

Both call Little Falls, MN their home and want a thriving community.

They are ready to set the example of how different groups can work together to achieve the same goal. They are going to muddle along and figure it out as they go.

In this first episode:

We talk art, religion, resets, rural funding, how we represent ourselves, telling our own stories, showing up with courage and some other stuff.

Cameos by Vivian, Everett, Jackson and Nate and some other sounds.

At the time I couldn’t think of Minnesota Representatives name, his name is Rep. Brad Tabke.


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There are untold stories behind every Easter family picture

This column was originally published in Agweek April 27, 2019

I wish family pictures could tell the stories leading up to the picture. Every Easter, I make a family proclamation as we head to the home of my aunt and uncle, “To remind everyone we will be taking a family picture as soon as we get there. We will take what we need into the house. No one takes their shoes off. We are taking a family picture.”

As soon as we get there, my husband and children are shocked when we enter my aunt and uncle’s house and I remind them, “Don’t take your shoes off! We ARE taking a picture! Go outside.” We head to the back yard and apparently this is play time. A time to see how close we can get to the pond in the backyard. They run around the fire pit back up to the house and are surprised when I say “Let’s take the picture!”


My husband stands stoic and replies “Let’s get this over with! Come on!” All I want is a picture with my family with them all smiling and joyful to take a picture. Yes, I can hear the birds chirping and the woodland animals coming out to drape us in satin ribbons placing a flower crown on my head. The children gentle place their hands out for song birds to land on their precious little fingers.

No instead I am repeating myself over and over again, “Put the stick DOWN!” “Stand still! Stop Moving! Get your fingers out of your face! Come on, smile NICE!” Every single time we take a family picture there is tension, irritation and frustration and more important things to do than take a family picture of us four.

No woodland creators singing to us.

Mostly with all our family pictures there is a story, and not a joyful one. The story of when I am sweetly and calmly telling my children to get over here but my teeth are clenched together. Or the time when Nathan and I are walking up the driveway holding hands, I am calmly reminding him and possibly holding his hand a little to tight, “I warned you we were taking family pictures today.”

My favorite picture of all time doesn’t tell you about 20 minutes before the photographer arrived at the farm I freaked out on my husband and two children.

The Easter picture this year doesn’t tell you while I was curling my hair I had told Vivian several times to get her Easter dress on while she was dancing running around the house with only her white tights and dress shoes on. It doesn’t tell you how Everett exclaimed “Easter is the best! Candy for breakfast!”

The Easter vigil picture doesn’t tell you how Vivian ran around the front yard tripping and falling three times. Each time I caught my breathe and each time she yelled, “I’m OK!” It doesn’t tell you I mumbled under my breathe, “I’m not worried about you but I am worried about your white tights and new dress.”


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Dairy Mom Mother’s Day Giveaway Winners

3rd Annual Raising a Farmer DairyMom Mother’s Day Giveaway Winners!!!
To be able to spread love and joy to some amazing Dairy moms warms my heart.

Thank you to the businesses who have partnered with Raising a Farmer to help lift up Dairy Moms!!
I am so thankful for the businesses who contribute to this great giveaway! 

Thank you Dairy MOMS for all you do for your families, your farms and your communities! I hope this will bring a smile to your face and you will feel appreciated for all you do!

Diane Herzog
DairyMom Necklace Melgram Jewelers
$50 Gift Cert ServiceMaster By Retka
Massage at St. Francis Health and Wellness Center, LLC

Brenda Yorek
$50 Gift Cert at ServiceMaster By Retka
Pedicure donated by Angie Petersen with Keller Williams Realty Professionals
Home Decor Sign from Shoppes of Little Falls

Christine Yorek
1 LG Pizza Little Falls Domino’s Pizza
4 Passes to Pine Grove Zoo
Home Decor Sign from Shoppes of Little Falls

Colleen Waldoch
$50 Gift Cert A.T. The Black & White Restaurant
1 LG Pizza Little Falls Domino’s Pizza

Hanna Hebig
1 LG Pizza Little Falls Domino’s Pizza
Pedicure Donated by Angie Petersen with Keller Williams Realty Professionals

Susan Geise
1 LG Pizza Little Falls Domino’s Pizza
Massage at St. Francis Health and Wellness Center, LLC

Lisa Groetsch
Canvas Tote with one year Membership to Linden Hill
1 LG Little Falls Domino’s Pizza

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3rd Annual DairyMom Mother’s Day Giveaway

Big Announcement!!! Please Share the love for Dairy Moms!

Raising a Farmer has partnered with some amazing businesses in Little Falls, MN for our 3rd Annual DairyMom Mother’s Day Giveaway to celebrate hardworking DairyMoms!

DairyMom must live in Morrison, Todd, Wadena, Crow Wing, Aitkin, Benton and Stearns County. Send a picture along with 20 words saying how awesome your favorite dairymom is.
Send nominations to brenda@raisingafarmer.com or PM Raising A Farmer.
You have till Monday May 6th to send in your nominations.

Voting will begin Wednesday May 8th on Facebook till Mother’s Day Midnight.
On Monday May 13th I will announce the winners!

Prizes to be given away:
Necklace engraved “Dairy Mom” Value at $70 Melgram Jewelers

5-Lg Pizzas Little Falls Domino’s Pizza

2-$50 Gift Cert ServiceMaster By Retka

$50 Gift Cert A.T. The Black & White Restaurant

2-Pedicures Donated byAngie Petersen with Keller Williams Realty Professionals

4 Passes to Pine Grove Zoo

2-Home Decor signs Shoppes of Little Falls

Canvas Tote Linden Hill

2-Massages St. Francis Health and Wellness Center 

Please share and thank these wonderful businesses who have partnered with Raising a Farmer! Without them I wouldn’t be able to spread joy and Share some of my Favorite things and Places with DairyMoms in Central Minnesota!

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The aftermath of winter~ Where is my blow dryer?

The aftermath of winter (Frozen pipes need immediate heat, blow dryers are a good source)

things go missing on a farm

where is my blow dryer?

Let me know in the comments what you have found, that is not where it is supposed to be.

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Riding Hans

Hans has upgraded to horse.

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Farms and families are intertwined

This column was originally published in Agweek April 13, 2019

The first week in April I had the opportunity to speak at four locations for Women in Ag seminars across Minnesota. My topic was stress and how I handle that.

As I was getting ready to go, my cousin asked how my prepping was going, and I replied, “I’m getting stressed about having to talk about stress. It’s ridiculous!” It turned out to be a stress-free, fantastic week.

Throughout the week there was something common among all four seminars. Women would come up to me and share how they want their families back. Women in agriculture want their farms to put their families first. For about the last five years, agriculture as a whole has put the business part ahead of the family part.

Experts tell us in a roundabout way, family needs to be last. I get confused by this because agriculture brags about how they are “family” owned or “family” operated. When family isn’t first on your farm, how can we brag about family?

A couple of years ago, I was talking to an “expert” and trying to explain how on family farms what affects the family affects the farm and what affects the farm affects the family. They are one. They need to be intertwined, because that is why we do it. They are intertwined because one makes us better at the other.

I gave her an example of how we had plans and help lined up for when baby No. 2 came to cover my workload. Well, Vivian decided to come unexpectedly almost six weeks early. Within a couple of hours, we had to figure out chores and who would get Everett off the bus because we were at the hospital. This agriculture “expert” told me, “You didn’t have adequate day care lined up.”

After this, I started paying attention to what the “experts” are saying. The “experts” are telling us family doesn’t belong on the farm. They don’t say it directly, but they are saying it.

After every talk I gave at the seminars, women would come up to me and say how they want their families first. They want family meals again. They want to spend time with their families in the field. They want to be able to talk to their families and not be so short with each other. They want their families to slow down. They want their farm to slow down. They want to be able to celebrate birthdays with each other. They want to slow down and enjoy what is around them. They want to enjoy each other. They want to pause and enjoy sunsets with each other. Because this is why we do this. Women want their families back. The hard work is worth it because we get to be with our families.

I hear a lot in conversations: “We can’t farm like we used to.” I wonder, when we think like this, what do we lose. I know there are many women across Minnesota who have lost their families to the noises of agriculture and they want them back. They want to farm like they used to.


My Favorite lady in Ag, Vivian

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Want to connect with consumers? It’s as simple as showing up

This column was originally published in Agweek March 30, 2019

The kids and I have been spending some Friday afternoons handing out dairy samples at one of our local grocery stores. This goes to the top of my list of favorite ways to connect with consumers. This is a time when I am able to put a real face to a dairy farmer in my community.

This is a time where I am able to hear and see what people are putting in their grocery cart. This is a time for me to connect with people about food. This is a way to show my kids how showing up, even for a little bit makes a difference. This is a time where I can ask the grocery store director and dairy case managers questions about products and the whys of a grocery store.

This past winter, words I heard continue to come to the forefront of my mind, “How do we make agriculture accessible to urban? How do we make them care, and they should care.” The small amount of time I spend at the grocery store brings agriculture to the store just by me saying, “I’m a dairy farmer.”

For the past year, I have been hearing farmers being really frustrated about markets and checkoff dollars. I used to be one of the them. I was listening to the noise of the blanket answers. Answers that are given but don’t really fit how I look at myself or our farm. I was listening to the noise of “we need to be innovative,” “we need to market this way,” “milk needs different packaging,” “we need more technology,” the list is endless of the noise.

The last six months, I stopped listening to the noise. I stopped being frustrated of feeling like “no one was understanding what the actual needs are.” I started doing. I started being more focused on my own community. I stopped listening to the noise and started doing what I know works on my own by just showing up.

People want to feel connected to people more now than they ever have. Social media is a wonderful thing, but it has also separated us from each other and relationship building. To bring agriculture to urban areas, we need to show up. Showing up builds relationships. Showing up gives the connection people want with their food. People want to talk about food. People want to share why they like one food choice over the other. People need the connection with food they can’t find on social media. I talk about food all the time, why wouldn’t anybody else?

When the kids and I show up for sample day, we listen to the consumer. We listen to their food choices and what they like best. We listen. When a customer asks where they can find the product we are handing out, Everett and Vivian show the customer exactly where it is in the store freezer. What better way to connect agriculture and urban. What better way to connect farmers and food. What better way to connect with people. I understand not everyone can show up at a grocery store but there are ways you can show up. For example, if you are asked to bring something to share at church for fellowship, offer to bring whole milk to share. These small things do matter.

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