Amy Ruegsegger
Darlington, Wisconsin
Lafayette County
100 cows

Family: Alan Errthum, daughter Kylee Badtke, son Brett Couthard and his girlfriend Alicia Baker.

Tell us about your farm. I own 62.5 acres and rent 170 acres of crop ground from my parents. I grew up on this farm and bought the buildings and pastures from my parents 10 years ago. I had to do a lot of upgrading and building as most of the older buildings were obsolete.

What is the busiest time of day for you? The mornings with milking and getting my daughter to school and then finishing chores.

When you get a spare moment, what do you do? What is that? Seriously, though, before COVID-19, we enjoyed going to tractor pulls, county fairs, wineries; all the little hometown things. World Dairy Expo is always a favorite week too. I missed that last year.

Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. It is more funny than memorable, but before I bought this place, I was renting another farm. I had gone up into the silo and changed two doors at once, and then I couldn’t get back out. I only did that once and learned my lesson.

What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? The ties to the industry that you make: family ties, the history of the industry, working with the animals and being outside.

How do you stay connected with others in the industry? A lot of online groups, which are really neat because you can talk to people around the country and the world. Before COVID-19, it used to be going to co-op meetings, county fairs and meeting up with local people.

Who is someone in the industry who has inspired you? I’ve never met her but had followed her story via Facebook, but I would say a young girl from Pennsylvania named Reese Burdette. She was badly burned in a house fire. After we had our house fire about 4.5 years ago when our house was stuck by lighting, I was so grateful and blessed everyone got out of the house OK and no one was harmed.

If you could give a tour of your farm to a prominent woman in today’s society, who would it be? I would like to share it with someone who could use their influence to help make our industry better. Someone who could be a positive influence. Someone who could understand that besides being a way of life, it is a business. Perhaps someone like Ivanka Trump, with her business background and she was involved in the Farmers to Families food box program.

What is the best vacation you have ever taken? The FFA Leadership Conference trip to Washington, D.C., my senior year of high school would be one. Also a reciprocal exchange I participated in to England. I stayed with a family there for three weeks, and then their son came back and stayed with my family for three weeks. Both were good learning experiences.

What are some words you like to live by? Work hard and surround yourself with good people: a good banker, nutritionist, veterinarian, crop consultants, etc. You rely on them to give you the best advice and to help steer you in the right direction.