Soil Sisters: A Love for Farming and Ford

Two Wisconsin women bond over tomatoes, tractors and trucks

By Lisa Kivirist

Bethanee Wright and Lauren Rudersdorf met over five years ago and quickly realized they were kindred spirits who shared dreams of starting farms. The “soil sisters” have since been each other’s best cheerleaders; they both got married to their farming soulmates in the fall of 2014 and were each other’s bridesmaids.

And do these women farmers love their Ford trucks, dedicated workhorses that have evolved to family-member status. “I call my 2016 F-150 Trucky Truck. I don't know how I would have started my farm without it,” says Bethanee, owner of Winterfell Acres in southern Wisconsin. “I use it for everything from hauling compost and potting soil to harvesting in the field and delivering boxes of produce directly to my customers and wholesale orders.”

Lauren runs Raleigh’s Hillside Farm, just down the road, with her husband Kyle. She shares Bethanee’s sentiment: “My truck is Black Beauty, a 2003 Ford Ranger that is like my second hand.”

 

Today you can find them texting crop questions and venting away farm stress. The duo is also part of the women-farmer team behind the annual event Soil Sisters: A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life, now the largest female-farmer-led tour event in the country.

Photo by Melanie Renee Photography

Lauren chuckles when remembering that her first “farm argument” was about Black Beauty. Her husband had his eye on a neighbor’s for-sale Ford Ranger. “I said ‘no way.’ I told him we were not ready to make an investment that large, nor did we need a farm truck for our small vegetable operation.”

Now she’s the first to admit how wrong she was: “Things the year previous that we hauled inefficiently by hand became simple. Our bodies were able to work harder because they weren’t burnt out from all the schlepping. Honestly, I don’t know where our farm would be without our Ford.”

Not just for work: This past week, Bethanee and her beau drove their forest green F-150 to see a Broadway play in downtown Madison, Wisconsin. Photo by Melanie Renee Photography

Come visit Lauren and Bethanee’s farm operations on August 4–6 at Soil Sisters: A Celebration of Wisconsin Farms and Rural Life, where they share their farming story through tours, hands-on workshops and delicious farm-to-table culinary events.

Lisa Kivirist is the author of Soil Sisters: A Toolkit for Women Farmers and runs Inn Serendipity Farm and B&B in southern Wisconsin with her family.

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