The Journey Is The Reward
I’ve lost track of the years I’ve written this column and have had the great pleasure of having it printed in this publication. I started freelance writing as a college kid and have penned my journey along the way. If you’ve been reading this column long enough you’ve likely followed along as I married Tyler; purchased a farm, then equipment and cattle; had three children; then fostered many more; and the list goes on.
I’ve written about the ups and downs of being involved in production agriculture, experiencing the incredible risks, challenges, and sacrifice required to be in the cattle business, but also the rich joys and rewards that make this life worth doing.
Because at the end of the day, the journey really is the reward, and in this week’s column, I thought it might be nice to check in and give you an update of who I am and where life has taken me lately. So here it goes…
I'm Amanda Radke, and alongside my husband, Tyler, we keep busy raising cattle and wrangling our four rowdy cowkids - Scarlett (9), Thorne (7), Alexander (6), and Croix (5) on our ranch Radke Land & Cattle — a purebred Angus and Limousin operation — in southeastern South Dakota.
We've been foster parents since 2019, and have welcomed a dozen kids to the ranch over the years. We were blessed to adopt our son Alex in 2021, and we are currently preparing to renew our license for another year. I always tell people when they ask about foster care, there's always room for one more kid at the dinner table!
Tyler works in agricultural real estate and land management, and between that and running our cowherd, there's never a dull moment around here!
I'm the author of eight children's books that teach kids about where their food comes from. Book number nine is in the works as we speak, and I can’t wait to share more with you all soon!
I also speak at agricultural conferences across the country, which is still wild to me as I got started speaking when I was just an eight-year old kid in 4-H. I just wrapped up speech #34 last night for 2023, so it's been a crazy year on the road so far! Thank you to the agricultural community for welcoming me in so warmly at every stop along the way!
I've recently entered into the podcast world. My new show, "Heart of Rural America" launched just a few weeks ago on Spotify and Apple.
In a new change of pace, you might catch me at an Angus sale down the road! I've teamed up with the great folks at CK6 Consulting Services Inc. Having the chance to work directly with seedstock producers to help them with price discovery in a competitive market is an awesome challenge I'm excited to take on!
Oh, and my western retail boutique kind of started as an accidental project during the pandemic when I lost a year's worth of work speaking. It's been a blessing and a fun challenge to grow this business. You can check it out at www.amandaradke.com.
We definitely wear a lot of hats in our day-to-day lives, but for our family, our faith is the most important above all else. Raising kids on the ranch is the perfect setting for us to instill our values and to teach them about our faith while we work together to be stewards of the land and livestock. We believe in loving our neighbor and committing our work to the Lord. You'll find many of these themes in my posts, my speeches, and the products I sell on my website.
Silly and random facts about me -- I run on endless pots of coffee, beef every day, and not much sleep. My husband and I met while evaluating beef carcasses on the SDSU Meats Judging Team. Before we got married, I lived in many places, Argentina, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, and Denver. But there's no place on Earth quite like the peace and beauty I find at home on the ranch!
We aren't ones to take fancy vacations, but our favorite retreat is hopping on the side-by-side with the kids and riding through the pastures to check our calves at the end of a long day's work. There's nothing I love more than good cattle, rolling pasture hills, and a beautiful sunset on the prairie shared with my people!
That's enough about me! I would love to hear more about YOU! Where are you from? What part of agriculture are you involved in? And what do you love best about this way of life we are blessed to live in? Email me at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to get to know you more!