March 15, 2017
We rolled into the tiny town of Oneida, Illinois, not quite sure what to expect. I was looking for Beth Rylander, the FarmHer behind Feed Mill Fabric and Quilting. What I found was nothing like what I had imagined. Sure there was an old feed mill, but inside was row upon row of beautiful printed fabrics in every color under the sun. Outside was an old grain elevator converted into farm storage and all of it, run by the FarmHer.
After years spent working in horticulture, procuring and preparing flowers through her own floral business, Beth Rylander decided it was time to put more of her energy and efforts into the family farming operation that she had run with her high school sweetheart, turned husband, Dave, part-time until then. The couple comes from generations of farming families and had spent decades farming themselves. Little did she know that stepping into what was a part-time operation would lead to the expansion of the business like she couldn’t have imagined.
Jumping full-time into the farm, Beth had operational duties including running the combines and tractors and operating the row crop farm while her husband worked full-time as an engineer at the nearby John Deere facility. When the chance to purchase the grain elevator in their town came up, Beth jumped at it as a way to expand their on-farm storage capabilities. This enterprising FarmHer took the acquisition one step further and tapped into her creative side, converting the attached feed mill into a quilting shop. Quilting had always been a hobby and now with her full-time farming duties, she was looking for a creative outlet, which she found in fabric.
On the day I visited Rylander Ag, I found Beth all prepped and ready to move the last of the grain out of one building with an auger, into a semi so they could get it into a different storage area, in preparation for harvest. She and her husband worked quickly to make sure the grain was all moved, and the building was cleaned. From there, their hired help, Sheldon, drove the semi around and Beth and Dave worked swiftly inside the elevator to get the grain into it’s new resting place. They gave me a tour of the facility that they are very proud to own. They have repurposed and revitalized different parts of the facility, allowing them to increase their grain storage and thus growing their business.
From there she and Dave took a quick trip out to the field where corn and soybeans were growing. They showed me how they track their crops through the growing season with software on their iPad and also checked the corn for moisture. As they were getting later into the season the couple was trying to determine how close they were to harvest and also making estimates as to the yield of the crop.
Back into town, we went for a look around the quilting shop. It is easy to see that while Beth loves farming, she adores the carefully curated quilt shop. She showed me throughout the building, pointing out parts of the old feed mill and showing me all of the work they have done to get this part of her dream up and running. The couple has done all of this hand in hand, as they started as high school sweethearts many years back.
Throughout my FarmHer journeys, each farm and each woman is different, but one thing is the same and that is the passion these women have. Beth Rylander was no different. She is a hard worker and does what she sets her mind to. She works hard to do that. She spends her days not only growing crops but working at her very own grain storage facility, managing employees, working alongside her husband and even finding the time to devote to her more creative passion, quilting. Beth is a woman of many talents, giving what she has to her business and her community and it was my pleasure to get to take a little peek into her life as a FarmHer.
Watch Beth's video highlights from RFD-TV here.
June 22, 2017
June 21, 2017
June 15, 2017
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