For Nance County Farm Bureau members Ryan and Beth Sonderup, it was literally a candle-light kind of romance. Ryan, the only boy with three sisters and he’s a triplet, was the best man in his sister’s wedding; Beth was the candle lighter; sparks flew and as they say, the rest is history.
Ryan grew up west of Fullerton, Neb., and traveled throughout the U.S. as a youth showing Charolais cattle. A couple of men from his area had come over from Germany after the war with only the clothes on their back and worked their way into farming. Those men offered him the opportunity to take over their ground in Aurora if he got through college in four years. After graduating (in four years) from the University of Nebraska Lincoln with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy, he came back and started farming and ranching.
The current operation consists of corn, soybeans, alfalfa for the cattle and 170 pairs of purebred Charolais cattle that he raises with his parents (his dad has been breeding for 40 years). They then sell the cattle for breeding stock.
Ryan says he grew up with the love of the land and says, “You can’t just become a farmer.” Beth grew up in Daykin, Neb., where her father farmed. She went on to Clarkson College and now works as a radiologic technologist. The couple is a member of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee