Rader Family Farms Celebrates 15 Years
Aug 1, 2023
A New Milestone
by Donna Rader, Rader Family Farms
Featured in B-N Sports Magazine
Rader Family Farms has reached a new milestone this year, celebrating its 15th season harvesting memories. The farm is not just about the activities; it is a place where people can experience the peace of the outdoors, spend time with the ones they love and make lasting memories. A visit to Rader Family Farms allows guests a unique opportunity to connect with and learn about agriculture.
The farm began with Margaret and Glenn Rader in 1945 and operated as a dairy farm. Lynn Rader, their son, took over the farm operation at the age of 24 after his father died. Lynn changed it to a crop farm and always had sweet corn, which he sold at a corner stand and at the farm. Lynn had a passion for growing pumpkins and did it for fun. There were a few years of bumper crops, so Lynn Rader sold them through the honor system at a stand in front of the farm. The family then expanded to offer pumpkins, crafts, and a few activities for kids. Radar Family Farms, LLC was established in 2009 and that year a 10-acre corn maze, Pumpkin Blossom Café, Harvest Brew Coffee Shop, retail market and bakery were added. Amy (Rader) Hughes, Adam Rader and Arin Rader are the third generation of Raders on the farmstead. In addition to the agritainment business at Rader Family Farms, the family still farms over 2700 acres of corn and soybeans, which is managed by Arin and Adam Rader. Rounding out the Rader family includes owner Linda Rader, wife to Lynn, Amy’s husband, Matt, Adam and Arin’s wives Shannon and Abby, and Lynn and Linda’s eight grandchildren. They plan to carry on the tradition of farming and agritourism for years to come.
The philosophy behind Rader Family Farms is connecting the community to the farm through the influence of faith, family, and fun, while developing a relationship and emotional connection with their guests. The Raders tell us “It is the connections we form with others and the different ways we collaborate with them that has helped us grow our business each year while sharing our passion with our guests and the community. We are blessed with the opportunity to make our living off the land just as our ancestors did. ”When you are at the farm, you’ll see many generations of Raders working together throughout the farm. Grounded in their faith, they have trained the team to carry on a tradition of friendly family values, kindness, and gratitude. While they have incorporated technology for convenience and efficiency, they have not forgotten the importance of good old-fashioned manners. Even though much has changed over the past four generations, the Rader family’s philosophy and strong foundation remains the same and is based on hard work, wise decision making, and sharing values of a strong heritage based on agriculture and most importantly, faith.
Rader Farms celebrates its 15th anniversary and opens to the public during its summer events in June for the annual Baby Animal Days event where guests can interact with the newest baby animals on the farm and enjoy crafts, activities, food, and fun. The farm is blooming during the second and third weekends in August for the annual Sunflower Days Festival followed by The Farmstead Fair vendor event. The farm opens on Sept. 9 through Oct. 29 Wednesdays through Sundays for another season of enjoying the best that fall in Central Illinois has to offer. The unique hands-on displays and activities at the farm are designed to offer something for all ages. Some are engaging, some educational, and others are simply a blast. As you make your way around the 80-acre farm, you can feel great about the incredible selection of farm food and comfortable seating that allows you to take in the peaceful scenery. It's hard to put your finger on what makes this farm so special. Whatever it is, we know that joy happens here. From homemade pumpkin donuts, pumpkin and apple bars to apple cider slushies, Ultimate Silo shakes, funnel cakes, mouthwatering kettle corn, cheese curds, pulled pork, juicy burgers, pizza, hand-dipped corn dogs and the Slop the Hog signature sandwich; that's just the start of what the farm has to offer to thousands of loyal guests of all ages who have made Rader Family Farms their go to destination.
The Raders continue to add activities to keep their guests busy and teach them a little bit about farm life. There is truly something for everyone. The family has come up with unique ways to reinvent common agriculture related items and activities throughout the farm. t more than 10 acres, the corn maze is one of the largest mazes in Illinois. Its elaborate design is created each year by collaborating with the Utah based, The Maize Company, and planted by Precision Planting, who plants the seeds within inches of the design using GPS satellite technology. There are more than 50 different activities at the farm including two culvert pipes that were converted into a double barrel shoot slide, two corn bins, now affectionately known as the Corny Bins, where kids can play in a 2-foot sea of corn kernels while parents watch through window portholes. Tractor tires were used to make a climbing tower, tree logs were turned into a horse (complete with saddle) so visitors can try their hand at roping a steer and old oil barrels were turned into a critter cart tram ride. Old fashioned water pumps are the force behind the duck pump races and an old hog feeder was turned into a pub table. New to the farm line up of activities is the ropes course, which challenges guests of all ages with 17 different obstacles, the Little Village, where hands on play-based learning and social interaction can be experienced in a house, sponsored by Knapp Builders, a bank, sponsored by The Bank of Pontiac, a diner, sponsored by Chick-fil-A of Normal, Il, a market and post office. There's also a huge jumping pillow, an apple blaster that shoots apples up to 300 mph and 600 feet and a racetrack with pedal carts for all ages – just to name a few attractions. The animal barn invites visitors to get to know a little about farm animals, including donkeys, horses, goats, cows, chickens, a turkey and newest to the family, a Mini Highlander cow. This year, the Rader family will continue development of a 40-foot-high slide which is planned for the 2023 fall season. The slide is sure to be a crowd pleaser and one of the largest of its kind measuring a whopping 250-foot slide run.
Besides encouraging kids to use their imagination, the Raders also wanted to bring in more educational components to the farm; as a result, they started planting trees from around Illinois and a crop circle which allows guests see a variety of “crops close up”. This year, the farm planted 3,000 apple trees which consists of 16 desirable varieties. The orchard is expected to begin producing fruit in 2026. In addition, Sowing Seeds in Second is an exceptional 501c3 program that brings local second-graders out to the farm to experience a learning field trip about how a pizza “grows on the farm”. Rader Family Farms also offers group and corporate events as well as birthday party packages.
Rader Family Farms has many great opportunities to help guests fully experience this amazing, interactive farm. With over 50 activities including slides and rides, animal barns, and an incredible corn maze, there is something for everyone. Whether you pick your own pumpkin, do some shopping, pet a baby animal, or maybe even charge up our giant mountain of straw, however you choose to spend your day, you will be glad that you spent it at Rader Family Farms.
Rader Family Farms is a fun and refreshing place where families and friends can spend quality time together. When you head down the country road and spot the tall pumpkin-adorned silo, you immediately know you are somewhere special. A place where peace can be found, traditions are born, and spirits are renewed. We welcome you to experience the joy of Rader Family Farms and make some memories with us this season!
For more information about Rader Family Farms, visit www.RaderFamilyFarms.com and follow on Facebook and Instagram.