Finding adventure on the farm
Roden Barnyard Adventures opens its barn doors

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

August 20, 2014

Jacey Roden, 10, looks through the fact cards to be hung up at Rob-n-Cin Farms on Saturday afternoon in West Bend. The new Roden Barnyard Adventures will focus on the education process on where food comes from.
Photo by John Ehlke


WEST BEND - After graduating from college Jacki Roden returned to her family farm in West Bend to open Roden Barnyard Adventures with a mission to educate people about the source of their food.

Roden, 22, is the owner of Barnyard Adventures LLC at Rob-N-Cin Farms. Bob, Cindy and Rick Roden own the farm, which has 500 milking cows and about 2,000 acres of crops.

“My main mission or goal for the business is to educate the general public about agriculture,” Jacki Roden said.
 
“People think it (food) just comes from the grocery store,” Bob Roden said.

She said she studied agriculture, marketing and communications at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and realized when she attended conferences that there’s a disconnect between the public and the farm.

“A lot of people probably wouldn’t know over there in the parlor we’re milking cows right now,” Roden said pointing to the milk parlor. “That’s where the milk comes from. We send that somewhere else and it’s the milk you drink.”

Not only does Roden want to educate people, but she wants to make a difference and one way to do that is by educating children.

The Rob-n-Cin Farms on Saturday afternoon in West Bend. 
Photo by John Ehlke

Roden Barnyard Adventures, 5545 County Road Y, opened in May, but a grand opening celebration was held Saturday and Sunday to usher in the fall.

People who visit can take a tour and they also host half and full-day summer camps.

Children have a calf to take care of for the week during camp. Jacki Roden said it teaches responsibility and respect for animals. Children also milk a cow, go on a tour of the farm and are taught agriculture through activities like a scavenger hunt and obstacle course.

Participants also get to make snacks and butter.

A calf pokes her head through a gate at Rob-n-Cin Farms on Saturday afternoon in West Bend.
Photo by John Ehlke

In the fall, the business will offer pumpkins, a corn maze, and beef and produce will be sold on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Jacki Roden said children who attended camps loved the interaction with animals and open space to run around.

“Most of the kids lived within a city where they don’t have the space to run and they enjoyed the open space,” Jacki Roden said.

Not only is it her passion to educate people about where food comes from, but it’s a passion she shares with her family.

Her father, Bob Roden, said people are far removed from agriculture production and he’s 100 percent behind his daughter’s decision to open Roden Barnyard Adventures.

He said it wasn’t always that way because families had a relative who worked on a farm or had a farm.

“People think it (food) just comes from the grocery store,” Bob Roden said.

Jacki Roden said she knew while she was in college her family’s farm could support a business like Barnyard Adventures.

Jacki Roden, 22, smiles as she hangs factual signs up at Rob-n-Cin Farms on
Saturday afternoon in West Bend.  

Photo by John Ehlke

“I jokingly told my brother one day we’re going to be that farm with thousands of people coming out and he loved the idea,” she said.

In college, Jacki Roden prepared a business plan and went to Arizona, Indiana and Pennsylvania to tour farms. She also had an internship in New Jersey.

“If you want to be an entrepreneur, you don’t need any schooling,” she said. “To be an entrepreneur you need a passion for what you do and people who believe in you.”

To prepare for the business, the family constructed a building on the farm Jacki calls the Barnyard Clubhouse.

They broke ground in August 2013 and finished the building in the winter.

She encourages visitors because there’s always something new.

“We experience a miracle every day,” Jacki Roden said. “There’s always calves being born.”

“I want people to be able to respect the farmers and appreciate the work that they do every time they take a bite of food.”

Roden Barnyard Adventures is open April through October. For information call 689-7521 or visit www.rodenbarnyard.com.