Monday, October 1, 2012

Midwest Farm Girl - Katlyn Rumbold

Welcome Katlyn Rumbold - farm girl, cattle & poultry producer, young professional and ag advocate. 

I often find myself repeating the phrase “my life could so easily be a country song!” So many of these songs capture exactly what it means to grow up in the country. I grew up on a diversified livestock farm in central Illinois in a tiny town called Wyanet. If it wasn’t for the faith, blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and friends I have encountered along the way I would not be the person I am today, advocating for agriculture. My absolute favorite part of growing up on the farm is the sense of pride you get when sitting down with the family to a dinner of homegrown, fresh produce and meat. There is just something about knowing all food on the table came straight from the backyard or the barn. And of course the wide-open spaces associated with country living are pretty cool too.

Katlyn with a show heifer
We raise poultry and beef cattle. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into a small, profitable business. It all started with an idea to raise enough chicken for my family of five to consume within one year. As we got going, people in the community approached us and wanted to purchase our chicken for their own consumption. Eventually, health food stores began carrying our product, and today we sell wholesale. Known as Famous T’s Chicken, we now raise 900 birds a summer compared to peak production when we raised 2000 birds. The chicks are delivered by mail, and then we teach them how to drink by dipping their beaks in water. After eight weeks, we load them on the trailer and head four hours south to the butchering plant. Waking up way before the sun comes up on butchering day is a downfall, but once they are at the plant, we get to enjoy the day eating, shopping, and napping in the park. I must say, chicken chores are my least favorite task on our farm, but they do make a tasty meal especially when cooked on the grill.

How the chicks arrive in the mail

Dipping the chicks beaks in water teaches them how to drink

A few years later we added beef cattle to the mix. This is where my passion truly lies. It is a lot of work, but very rewarding. Known as Green Acre Cattle Co, my family likes to joke that our summer vacations are all the cattle shows we attend where most people would find themselves vacationing on the beach instead. It truly is. We get so excited to see the hard work pay off in the show ring, and the people you meet in the barn quickly become life long friends. Even though my brother and I are too old to show in the junior shows, we still work with the show heifers and attend every show with our little sister. It has turned into a family affair as we all have our assigned jobs. Between the washing, grooming, training, and feeding, there is enough to do to keep all five of us busy. For me personally, I cannot think of a single activity that brings an entire family together like that of owning and operating a cattle business.

Katlyn's brother fitting a calf on show day

Katlyn's sister at the Illinois state fair

Everything I have learned on the farm has helped me get to where I am at today as a young professional. I was able to utilize my upbringing and spend a summer working as a farm radio broadcaster as well as spending some time in Colorado teaching horseback riding lessons. Currently, my job has taken me off the farm, although I am still connected as I write content for agricultural websites. I have learned that not everything goes according to plan, but sometimes it is when you think everything is falling apart that something awesome happens. It will be exciting to see how what I do today, both on and off the farm, will impact the rest of my life.

Thanks Katlyn for the great feature! You can follow along with Katlyn on her blog, facebook page, twitter account and on pinterest

If you or someone you know should be our next "Face of Agriculture", please contact us! We need your story today!