5 Questions to Donna Verda of Rader Family Farms | Local company

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Position: Business Development Manager for Rader Family Farms in Rural Normal

1. What is Rader Family Farms?

Rader Family Farms is a fourth-generation working farm that established an “agritainment” business in 2009. Since then, the Raders have welcomed the community to the farm every season, providing guests with a unique opportunity to connect and learn about farming while experiencing country life and farm life.

The Rader family continues to grow 2,800 acres of corn and soybeans through Rader Bros. Rader Bros. is run by brothers Arin and Adam Rader.

Our mission statement best answers “what is Rader Family Farms?” “We reap more than crops, we reap memories. The Rader family strives to serve our community with a festive, yet educational and enjoyable fall experience, while giving all praise and glory to God for His beautiful creation and its bountiful harvest.

The Raders plan to carry on the tradition of farming and agritourism for years to come and look forward to continuing to grow the farm through the next generation of eight grandchildren.

2. How did it start and develop over time?

Lynn Rader was brought up on this farm when it was a Guernsey dairy. His parents, Glenn and Margaret Rader, moved to the farm when they married in 1945.

The family grew up milking cows and showing them in 4-H. In 1971 the cows were sold after the death of Glenn Rader. Lynn Rader took over the farm when she was 24 years old. Lynn turned it into a grain farm and always had sweet corn, which he sold at a corner stand on the farm on the honor system. Since then, Lynn and Linda have been cereal producers, their two sons are now joining them. Lynn and Linda have three married children and eight grandchildren.

For over 30 years, Lynn has been growing and selling sweet corn in the summer and later adding pumpkins and other produce in the fall.

In 2017, Lynn retired from the sweet corn business, but continues to plant over 30 acres of pumpkins, squash and specialty fall produce each year to meet the demands of the agribusiness industry. -entertainment.

As farmers, the Raders realize that people love and appreciate the opportunity to experience farm and country life. The agri-entertainment business started in 2009 and offers customers a unique opportunity to connect and learn about agriculture. The working farm now has a 10-acre corn maze, 50 unique activities for all ages, a cafe, bakery, retail stores and six dining venues to serve our guests each year.

The Rader family welcomes you to their farm!

5 Questions to Doug Damery, Director of Normal Parks and Recreation

3. What makes it special?

The philosophy behind Rader Family Farms is to connect the community to the farm through the influence of faith, family and fun while developing a relationship and emotional connection with our customers. It’s the connections we make with others and the different ways we collaborate with the people we’ve connected with that have helped us grow our business each year and share our passion with others.

We are blessed to live off the land, just as our ancestors did. Although many things continue to change over the past four generations, the philosophy remains the same and is based on hard work, making wise decisions and sharing the values ​​of a strong heritage based on agriculture and faith.

4. What events and activities do you have during the year, and when is the best time to visit?

During our fall season, which runs from September to October, the Raders continue to add activities to keep their guests busy and teach them a bit about farm life. The family found unique ways to reimagine common farming elements and activities throughout the farm.

There are over 50 different activities on the farm, including two culvert pipes that have been converted into a double-barrel slide and two large grain bins now affectionately called “Corny Bins” where children can play in a sea of corn kernels 2 feet. .

Tractor tires are used to make a climbing tower, tree logs have been transformed into a horse with a saddle, and an old oil drum has been transformed into a wagon ride for the kids.

Old fashioned water pumps are the force behind duck pump races and an old pig feeder has been converted into a pub table. There’s also an old van truck that’s been painted with chalkboard paint so visitors can use sidewalk chalk to leave their mark on Rader Family Farms.

New this season is a low ropes course, reconstructed Little Village children’s buildings, a new Konk-a-Crow game, a newly designed Trike track and a new tractor pulling game.

There’s also a huge jumping pad and an apple shooter that shoots apples at up to 300 mph, to name but a few of our attractions.

In addition to encouraging kids to use their imaginations, the Raders also want to bring educational elements to the farm, and as a result, they’ve started planting trees all over Illinois, using a map that guides guests through a self-guided tour.

Another educational element of the farm is a crop circle that allows visitors to see the crops up close. Sewing Seeds in Second is an exceptional program, supported by funding from commercial sponsors, that brings local second graders to the farm to experience a learning tour of how a pizza grows at home. closed.

Field trips also take place at the farm from Wednesday to Friday in September and October. Rader Family Farms also offers group and corporate events, as well as birthday party packages. To learn more about our farm activities and events, visit us at RaderFamilyFarms.com

5. What are the plans for the future of the farms?

Each year, the Raders have reinvested in the farm and expanded their offerings to further enhance the experience for their customers, focusing on the tagline “Harvesting Memories Just at the Edge of Normal”.

The family are working on a five-year plan to build another large barn which would allow the operation to expand from September to October to include gatherings and events for the other seasons, including additional summer events, markets and Christmas .

Annual summer events now include Baby Animal Days, a Sunflower Days festival featuring over 15 varieties of sunflowers, and The Farmstead Fair pop-up vendor market featuring local artisans and a unique outdoor shopping experience. The Rader family continues to develop the farm for thousands of guests to make it their destination of choice each year.

Contact Roger Miller at (309) 820-3233. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_rmiller

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