John Ruedinger

“You work your way through the hard times.” That is the advice from John Ruedinger of Ruedinger Farms, Inc. in Van Dyne, Wisconsin. “Agriculture can be pretty good to people, if you do it right,” he said. “You can’t do it alone though, it takes a team. Family, key employees, general employees, people who help with feed, agronomy, finances, veterinary needs, you pull all of them together and work on the same page.” 
Ruedinger Farms is in the Town of Friendship located in northern Fond du Lac County. John and his wife, Karen, are owners in the dairy and are excited that their daughter and son-in-law, Jamie and Dave Zappa have joined them. John got to work with his dad on the farm, so having his daughter join the operation is further fulfilling that family legacy. 
Looking to gain some life experience after high school, John left home for the agribusiness short course program. He came back home to the farm and got married in the 1970’s. He worked with his dad from 1977-96, doing cash crops, dairy and beef. In 1996, after a fire destroyed their barn, they had to decide what they should do. There was nothing left. Their barn had been replaced by an insurance check. Deciding that this was still what they wanted to do, a freestall barn for 200 cows was built. The slow transition of John and Karen taking over from his dad started at that time and the rest is history. 
“Farming allows you to work with nature and animals,” John said. “I guess I find working with the animals, crops and land to be fulfilling. It is all I’ve ever done.” He has also expanded his financial and business skills through involvement in many agriculture organizations. When asked what he enjoys most about his job, John said, “right now at this stage in life, general management and book work. I like taking care of the financial side of things.” This “stage in life” for John also involves enjoying time with the grandkids and going to their sporting events. Bicycle riding is another activity he enjoys. 
Going to board meetings consumes 45 – 60 days a year from John’s schedule, but he appreciates the opportunities it has given him. John is Chairman on the Board of Cooperative Resource International (CRI). He has been to Brazil, Germany, France, Netherlands, and Cech Republic giving presentations for them and would like to make it to South Africa sometime. He is a Board Member for the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and said that it has really helped him understand the dairy industry and professionals within it. “These years help shaped who I am and where we wanted to head with the business,” stated John. “You can be involved in so much more in the agriculture industry than any other industry. There is a complex value in agriculture.” He is also on the Midwest Forage Association Board and a Representative for the National Forage Association traveling to Washington DC to meet with legislators about funding for crops.
Thank you to John and the Ruedinger Farms family for their dedication to agriculture and the many opportunities it offers. Your initiative and leadership shown through your involvement in the ag community is phenomenal. Best wishes for continued success for you, your family and your farm!
Farmer #52. To show our appreciation to our producer members, Country Visions Cooperative will be giving a snapshot look of our customers and their operations in this feature each Friday