Radtke’s past, present, and future visions are grounded in her family’s roots in organic dairy. She was brought up in Kandiyohi County, Minnesota, a region known for rolling savannas and prairies, mostly developed into agriculture. Radtke’s family is proud of their operation and are advocates for the benefits of organic in their community. While Radtke was enrolled in 4-H, she continued her family’s model of offering knowledge and compassion. She often leased various livestock to other 4-H members who were not able to have animals of their own so they too could experience raising animals. Additionally, Radtke mentored her peers and helped them learn about dairy cows and the benefits of raising animals using an organic approach.
Now, studying animal science production and husbandry at North Dakota State University, Radtke is using her on-the-ground skills while achieving deeper mastery. Thanks to her classwork in production techniques, livestock diseases, and nutrition, she was able to decipher cattle birth defects on her farm. In her upcoming studies, she will take classes on meat quality and science, which will inform her future production in the beef industry. With organic at the core of her vision and academic study, Radtke says, “I approach and apply things I’ve learned in class differently than most students, as I look at the information through an organic lens.”
With the support of CCOF Foundation’s Future Organic Farmers grant, Radtke will continue to advance the organic movement and keep her family farm alive. She is in her final semester, and post-graduation, she plans to return to Minnesota, where she dreams of starting a goat dairy and raising beef cattle on the family farm. The CCOF Foundation congratulates and wishes the best to Madison Radtke with her studies and farming in 2022!
Find out more about the Future Organic Farmers grant fund from the CCOF Foundation website.