Ag Experience Insider: Meet the Rollingers

Our first Ag Insider of 2024 is the Rollinger family ranch. The Rollingers own a hobby ranch near Baltic South Dakota which is home to a wide variety of farm animals. Learn more about the happenings of their operation through the eyes of mother, ranch wife, and teacher, Tara Rollinger. 

Proud to be a Ranch Kid

“You’re such a town kid,” Benson said to Ivy as she lay on the couch.

“I am not. I just have a headache from being in the car,” as she popped up, ready to get to work.

That insult was effective. She got off the couch and went to do chores with her siblings. The Rollinger Ranch is pretty adorable this time of year. There are calves in the field, chicks in the corn crib, lambs needing to be bottle-fed, a pig named Willow, and lots of chores to do.

School is wrapping up, softball and baseball seasons are starting, but chores never slow down. The kids always have work to do. This time of the year definitely changes things out here, but one thing that stays the same is that the animals always need us. Even after a long day at school and a full night of softball, the kids head out to feed and tend to their animals.

Lifestyle of the Rollinger Family

We are a hobby ranch family. This isn’t our livelihood as I’m a teacher and my husband, Ross is in the South Dakota Air National Guard. But this hobby ranch of ours is a huge part of our lives. Kya is 12 and is finishing up 6th grade, Ivy is 9 and nearing the end of 3rd grade, and Benson is almost 8 and completing 1st grade. They all enjoy the animals and the hard work that goes with it most of the time.

It’s not lost on us that our lifestyle is unique. And because of that, we decided to have Ivy’s class out for a mini field trip recently. Although we don’t run a huge operation, we understand people’s affection for farm life and the need for kids to have a better understanding of what goes on day-to-day because that burger doesn’t end up on your plate without a lot of work first. And it’s important to us to help people better understand that process.

People often comment on how fun and cute my social media is (and it is). But what isn’t always seen in the pictures and videos is that the work isn’t always precious. It’s inconvenient and restricting at times. The kids argue and fight about who needs to do what, almost daily. And it’s hard to fit in all in. But the value in learning hard work, where our food comes from, budgeting time, loss of animals, putting something before yourself; there’s endless life lessons in that. But it’s rarely easy.

But our kids take pride in knowing they are “ranch kids.” They know they work hard. They know they are unique. And they should be proud of that.

                                                             – Tara Rollinger