Jill Traut
Jill Traut

Jill Traut

Cold Spring, MN

Academic advisor and family farmer

I grew up on my parents 140-cow Holstein farm. They still operate the farm today; milking cows, raising youngstock, raising and selling beef, and harvesting around 800 acres of corn, alfalfa, soybeans and oats. I have moved off the farm and currently work in higher education as my full-time job. Though not directly involved in the day-to-day operation, I still help with chores and farm decisions.

Yes. My dad and his brother are the primary operators of our farm. My grandpa and grandma originally started the dairy farm and still live on the farm site; they help when needed. My mom is also active on the farm and works off the farm part-time. My brother is also involved in many of the daily farming activities and decisions. He also teaches full-time as an ag teacher at Eden Valley-Watkins High School. My sister helps with chores when she is home from college. We also rely on a vast amount of other relatives to help with chores throughout the year. From baling hay, milking cows, picking rocks, or driving tractors everyone is always willing to pitch in.

Cooking, Photography, Fitness, Carpentry Projects

As a young adult, now more than ever, I see the vital importance of speaking out and being a voice for what farmers do every day. Sharing our story is the best way to share about how food is raised, where it comes from, and its importance in our lives. Just 2% of the U.S. population grows all of our food. I feel a deep calling, as part of that 2%, to do as much as possible to be a voice for agriculture.

My parents, along with my uncle, are the primary owners of the farm. My brother, who works as an ag teacher, also helps on the farm, and is looking into ownership further down the road. My grandparents still live on the farm and are still a part of all the chaos!

I am so proud of how our family has managed to continue the farming lifestyle. We rely on immediate and extended family for most of the work throughout the year. I am also extremely proud of how much each of my family members dedicates themselves to agriculture-related organizations. We all volunteer for multiple organizations that promote the future of agriculture such as FFA, 4-H, County Fair Board, Dairy Clubs and more. I hope that our passion for continued improvement and dedication is contagious to others in our industry.

We are CommonGround

Meet the volunteers

Alyssa O’Sullivan
Meet Alyssa O’Sullivan

Alyssa O’Sullivan Cologne, MN

Becca Herberg
Meet Becca Herberg

Becca Herberg St. Peter, MN

Nashia Benck
Meet Nashia Benck

Nashia Benck Somerset, WI

Emily Ponwith
Meet Emily Ponwith

Emily Ponwith Cleveland, MN

Ellyn Oelfke
Woman Farmer Ellyn stands in front of a green field Meet Ellyn Oelfke

Ellyn Oelfke Glencoe, MN

Carolyn Olson
Meet Carolyn Olson

Carolyn Olson Cottonwood, MN

Rachel Gray
Meet Rachel Gray

Rachel Gray Blackduck, MN

Megan Sukalski
Meet Megan Sukalski

Megan Sukalski Fairmont, MN

Kristie Swenson
Meet Kristie Swenson

Kristie Swenson Alpha, MN

Wanda Patsche
Meet Wanda Patsche

Wanda Patsche Welcome, MN

Sarah Kern
Meet Sarah Kern

Sarah Kern Eden Valley, MN

Sara Hewitt
Meet Sara Hewitt

Sara Hewitt Faribault, MN

Sara Roubinek
Meet Sara Roubinek

Sara Roubinek Pine City, MN

Rachael Korman
Meet Rachael Korman

Rachael Korman Alden, MN

Natasha Mortenson
Meet Natasha Mortenson

Natasha Mortenson Danvers, MN

Melissa Pietig
Meet Melissa Pietig

Melissa Pietig Sleepy Eye, MN

Marytina Lawrence
Meet Marytina Lawrence

Marytina Lawrence Princeton, MN

Lori Patnode
Meet Lori Patnode

Lori Patnode Corcoran, MN

Lois Rydeen
Meet Lois Rydeen

Lois Rydeen Clearbrook, MN

Lauren Biegler
Meet Lauren Biegler

Lauren Biegler Lake Wilson, MN

Krista Willis
Meet Krista Willis

Krista Willis Willmar, MN

Katie Brenny
Meet Katie Brenny

Katie Brenny Mazeppa, MN

Jocelyn Schlichting
Meet Jocelyn Schlichting

Jocelyn Schlichting Rice, MN

Jill Traut
Meet Jill Traut

Jill Traut Cold Spring, MN

Jenifer Goblish
Meet Jenifer Goblish

Jenifer Goblish Vesta, MN

Gail Donkers
Meet Gail Donkers

Gail Donkers Faribault, MN

Emily Beougher
Meet Emily Beougher

Emily Beougher Zumbrota, MN

Debra Johnson
Meet Debra Johnson

Debra Johnson Evansville, MN

Carol Davis
Meet Carol Davis

Carol Davis Albert Lea, MN

Bekah Gustafson
Meet Bekah Gustafson

Bekah Gustafson Osceola, WI

Barb Liebenstein
Meet Barb Liebenstein

Barb Liebenstein Dundas, MN

Ashley Schmeling
Meet Ashley Schmeling

Ashley Schmeling Blooming Prairie, MN

Arlene Jones-Swenson
Meet Arlene Jones-Swenson

Arlene Jones-Swenson Scandia, MN

Angela Guentzel
Meet Angela Guentzel

Angela Guentzel Kasota, MN

Amy Amberg
Meet Amy Amberg

Amy Amberg Bird Island, MN

Get the latest on Minnesota farming, food and our events.