6th Generation Farmer Remains Humble, Hardworking & Proud

Published on September 16, 2022

A 128-year-old family legacy lives on as Chelsey Erdmann embodies what it means to be a farmer. Located in New Rockford, North Dakota, Chelsey and her family rely on their Bobcat® equipment to work day-in and day-out no matter what challenges arise.

Chelsey Erdmann is a sixth-generation farmer who recognizes the parallels between family and farm, and the reliance of one upon the other. Together, with the help of their Bobcat® equipment, the family raises corn, soybeans, pinto beans, oats and cattle. 

Each day on the farm brings a new obstacle for the family to overcome. Although each day is a challenge, Chelsey admits she enjoys each and every part of it. 

“I thrive in the chaos,” she says. “There is always something going on. The cycle of harvesting, calving, caretaking and farming excites me to come to work every day.”  

A chip off the ole’ block 

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this family. The farm was founded in 1893, and it’s been in the family ever since. Chelsey and her family — including her grandparents, parents, brother, and young children – show up every day to their North Dakota farm to put in a hard day’s work. On the farm, they rely on one another, along with their trusted Bobcat compact track loader, to get everyday farm work done quickly and easily. 

But everything wasn’t always that simple for Chelsey. 

“When I was younger, I remember trying to keep up with the boys,” admits Chelsey. “Around here, everyone pulls their own weight. If someone is going 100 miles per hour, I feel like I have to go 105. One day, my dad pulled me to the side and said, ‘I need you here for your brains, not for your muscles,’ and that has stuck with me ever since.” 

“Our farm is our family, and our family is the farm.” 

To Chelsey and her family, the farm means more than just land. “We don't have hobbies. The farm is what we do. It’s more than a job; it’s a lifestyle. The farm is as much my family as my brother,” she says. “It’s all rolled together. There is no way to separate them. There’s no way to have one without the other.” 

In turn, the chain reaction of agriculture is what spiked her interest in the field. Chelsey often reflects on the bigger picture of the agriculture industry. 

“Do you think someone walking through the grocery store or someone in another country wonders where their pinto beans come from?” she questions. “I wonder if people realize and appreciate that families planted and cared for them all summer long.” 

Each and every day, Chelsey and her family work diligently to provide for not only their family, but for others around the world. 

“Agriculture is really special,” says Chelsey. “The vibe, aura, people, character, and morale in this occupation are so special. I couldn’t imagine working in another industry. This is an industry that’s never going to go away. It’s an industry that’s going to continue to innovate, be on the forefront, and forever be essential.” 

A Bobcat family affair 

Every day the farmers are hard at work. “Without our track loader, our lives would be completely different,” says Chelsey. “We utilize our Bobcat equipment every day. If the loader is gone, someone notices right away.” 

The work doesn’t end at the farm; at home, Chelsey’s husband, Kyle, is always in a loader.  

“My husband and I have a Bobcat T770 compact track loader at our house in Carrington, North Dakota, and we have a Bobcat® T740 compact track loader at the farm, 40 miles away,” explains Chelsey. “We bought the T770 because my husband runs a fencing supply company, so the increased rated operating capacity (ROC) and tipping capacity work really well for his tasks. At the farm, we don't need quite as much muscle, so the T740 works well for us.” 

On the farm, they utilize a variety of equipment including combines, fork lifts, tractors, and more. But it's the versatility and maneuverability of the Bobcat equipment that's really made a difference for the family. 

“Our track loader has literally changed our days,” says Chelsey. “I love being in the cab. I have so much control and can see what I’m doing. I can turn the loader around on a dime, making jobs much quicker and doable in tight spaces.” 

North Dakota-tough attachments 

With a large variety of attachments on hand, the family has a tool for each job on the farm. 

“We use the Brushcat™ rotary cutter all the time,” says Chelsey. “But we also use the grapples daily at our house. It’s super easy to put the attachments on the trailer or to attach it to the machine. I can do it all by myself. They are incredibly portable.” 

The geographical location of Bobcat Company means a lot to the family. The Midwest-based brand instills a sense of trust for these North Dakota farmers.  

“It means a lot to us that Bobcat machines are built here,” says Chelsey. “The machines are built for the North Dakota weather elements. You can never have too many attachments, especially in North Dakota weather. Our family has an attachment for virtually every job on the farm. Depending on what season we are experiencing; we have a use and an attachment for the loader.” 

The variety of attachments has proven to be essential time and time again, especially in North Dakota winters. 

“After a snowstorm in 2019, the roads were awful,” says Chelsey. “Nobody was outside. The snow was unbelievable, and we drove 60 miles for a snow blower. The whole town was shut down, yet our local dealer sold us the last Bobcat snow blower attachment. Without the snow blower, we wouldn’t have been able to plow out our feedlot or bring in our calves to care for them.” 

What does the future hold? 

As a young female farmer, Chelsey looks forward to the challenges the future may bring—including growth. 

“I'm excited to see the farm grow,” she says. “Not necessarily size growth in the land but doing more with what we already have. We are constantly asking ourselves how we can do more with less. Sustainability is important to us. We take what we already have and help it grow into something stronger.”  

But for now, Chelsey continues to express her gratitude by working hard for future generations. 

“It’s neat to be a part of something that I hope in six more generations they will look back and be impressed by what we did here.” 

Photo credit: Brianne Partlow 

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