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University of Minnesota Extension

Martin County Farm Family

Wendell and Helen Rode Family

The Rode family farm was purchased by Wendell’s mother and father, Rudolph and Clarena, in 1958. Wendell grew up helping with the farming operation that included livestock, grain farming, laying hens and a dairy herd. After Wendell and Helen were married in 1972 the couple began their own farming business. They eventually purchased the family farm in 1982 where the couple continued to farm until their retirement in 2018.

The farm remains in the family today. The Rodes’ daughter and son-in-law, Leah and David Mulder, have purchased the acreage portion while the tillable land is rented out. The Rodes have set aside a small parcel for participation in CREP. Throughout the years, the family has offered acres for research and test plots for local seed companies.

The Rodes raised their daughter, Leah, their son, Brian, and niece, Kendra, on the farm and shared in their involvement in Martin County West FFA. In later years. Leah, Brian, Kendra and their families continued to help with fall harvest and other chores.

Wendell has been involved in numerous community and agriculture organizations and served 12 years as district supervisor on the Martin County Soil and Water Conservation District. He also served on the Minnesota Association of Resource Conservation and Development Council. He was a charter member of the Welcome Jaycees and Welcome Lions Club and is a lifetime member of the Fox Lake Conservation Club. Wendell is president of the Welcome Historical Society.

Helen is very active in the community having served on the STEP and Martin County Historical Society Board. Helen also developed and coordinated the Martin County Mentoring Network for area youth. The network was a collaboration between University of Minnesota Extension and Martin County that received a statewide county achievement award.

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