Farming and ranching is a family affair for the Ridls
DICKINSON - On the farm purchased by Arthur J. Ridl from his father, Joe, in the mid-1950s, farming and ranching has truly become a family affair.
On the farm purchased by Arthur J. Ridl from his father, Joe, in the mid-1950s, farming and ranching has truly become a family affair.
Arthur's sons, Arthur S., Keith and Kurt have each followed in their father's footsteps and continued to farm and ranch there.
"It gives me pride to know that this land that I'm farming now, supported my dad and his family, and even further back, it supported his dad and his family," Kurt said. "I'm proud to know that this soil that supported all these families is still being farmed and we have enough to supply other people with food in the world."
The three boys grew up on the farm while it was a dairy farm.
They have three sisters, Doreen, Germaine and Josann.
When the dairy became too time consuming, their father transitioned to a beef cattle and feedlot operation in 1979.
The time-consuming lifestyle of growing up on a dairy farm is something that Arthur S. remembers from his childhood.
"I was out in the milk barn at an early age, and they pretty much couldn't keep me out of there," he said. "I started young and it was something I always enjoyed."
Shortly after the transition to a beef cattle operation, Arthur S. entered into a partnership with his father in 1980.
It was something that everyone in the family simply expected to happen, he said.
"Oh yeah, it was expected of me and I got right into it," Arthur S. said. "I've basically been farming since I got out of high school."
Kurt and Keith soon followed Arthur S. into a life on the farm, and continue with that partnership today.
All three of the brothers agree that sometimes working with family can be stressful, but in the end, the positives outweigh the negatives.
"I think farming with family members has its advantages," Arthur S. said. "A lot of times you can get away with less equipment then if you were farming on your own."
"For the most part, it works real well," Kurt said. "We basically each have our own jobs that we do and that's worked well. Generally speaking, we reach a conclusion that is best for the farm and the partnership."
Some of the decisions that the brothers have had to come to a consensus on are in regards to the technology that the family utilizes on their farm.
According to Arthur S., keeping up to date with technology is imperative to any farm and ranch operation.
"I think keeping up with technology is very important because it changes so often and so quickly that if you don't keep up with it you kind of get run over," Arthur S. said.
The Ridls have switched over from conventional tillage to a completely no-till operation and utilize GPS steering in their equipment to help cut down on waste.
"There are a lot of nice bells and whistles out there," Kurt said. "We can use them to try to minimize our input costs."
Eliminating extra spray and seed being used is one way of cutting costs and increasing profit margins.
According to Keith, having the support of family in your farming endeavors doesn't hurt either.
"It feels really good to work on a family farm that was started by my grandparents, and I guess I would like to keep it going if my son wants to take it over," Keith said. "But, if you don't have someone backing you in the family I don't know if you could get started on the farm. My grandparents helped my dad and my dad helped us...it just goes hand in hand generation from generation."
All three of the Ridls have thought about their children taking over the farm, but nothing is set in stone.
"When I was in grade school, high school, I always wanted to work on the farm and I always enjoyed it," Keith said. "It's in my blood, I really enjoy it. It probably would mean a lot to keep the family farm going."
"I think we all feel good about carrying on the family tradition," Arthur S. said "And I think we all hope that our sons will someday get involved and carry it on beyond what we are doing."