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University of Minnesota Extension

Le Sueur County Farm Family

Ruth Svoboda-Hoefs

Ruth’s parents, Reuben and Carol (Erkel) Svoboda, purchased the original 80 acres in 1954 after they got married. In the early years, Carol worked at Green Giant in Le Sueur. They had two children, Wayne and Ruth. The family worked hard on their dairy farm, the cows were milked twice a day and the calves had to be attended to. Ruth’s mom cared for calves, had 100 laying hens and raised 100 butcher chickens each year. Carol had a garden large enough that it seemed like she could feed the whole county—at least that’s what Ruth thought when she was the one that helped harvest it.

Ruth’s father always milked the cows and took care of all the crops. Hay and small grains were very important for the cows and their milk production. As Ruth’s brother, Wayne, grew older he and his dad worked together.

In the early 1970s, Reuben and Carol purchased two farms, the Bill Wondra and George Wondra farms, making a total of 336 acres. After Wayne graduated, he wanted to farm, but as time went on it didn't happen. In 1986, Reuben sold the dairy cows and Wayne found employment off the farm. In 1990, Ruth’s parents sold the farm, only to get it back in less than a year. In 1991, Ruth and her then-husband purchased 80 acres and 170 acres in Lexington Township.

In 1996, Ruth moved back home, by herself, and was on her own. With the help of Ken and Ron Pomije, and their nephew, Josh, she is now farming her home farm and carrying on what her father started—managing the land and maintaining it for the future.

Ruth maintains she could not have done it alone, but she was not afraid to try. She owes her passion for the farm to her parents. They always encouraged her to try.

Currently, Ruth is growing wheat, corn, soybeans, sweet corn for Seneca, and a small grains plot for University of Minnesota research, which she has been doing for over 10 years. She has 11 brood cows and about 35 sheep. She lambs about 24 each year.

Ruth is involved in Ducks Unlimited, the Le Sueur County Area Cattlemen, the Le Sueur County Fair Board, and Montgomery Sportsmen.

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