Von Ruden Re-elected WFU President

Westby dairy farmer Darin Von Ruden was re-elected president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union during the organizations’ state convention.

The 93rd annual convention in the Wisconsin Dells brought more than 200 farmers and rural advocates together.

Von Ruden has served as the organization’s District 5 director since 2008. He represents Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, and Vernon counties. He also leads the WFU Foundation Board of Directors and serves on the National Farmers Union Board of Directors. Von Ruden and his wife, JoAnn, live in Westby. In the last several years, Von Ruden transitioned the farm to the fourth generation, when son Brett purchased the machinery and 50-cow dairy herd.

Von Ruden has been active with Farmers Union at the local, state and national levels. He is a seven-time recipient of the Silver Star Award, which is National Farmers Union’s highest recognition of membership development.

Von Ruden’s presidential address focused on a theme of collaboration and progress. Spotlighting successes from the past year, he noted several of the collaborative initiatives the organization participated in. These are: WI Women in Conservation, WI Local Food Purchase Assistance Program, Farmer-led Watershed Council, and Fox-Wolf Watershed Climate-Smart Commodities project.

“I’m particularly thrilled about a major milestone for our organization – the groundbreaking of our new headquarters,” he says.

In September, construction began on the Market on River building. The mixed-use building will house Wisconsin Farmers Union’s headquarters in addition to residential and commercial spaces, restaurants, and venue.

“It’s the beginning of a new chapter for WFU, providing us with a centralized hub to better serve our members and further advance our mission,” Von Ruden says. “But let’s not forget our most notable accomplishment—the growth in our membership.”

He says increased engagement underscores the vital role WFU plays in supporting and advocating for family farmers and communities. Von Ruden urges members to continue to push for fairness for farmers.

“Farmers can get complacent when prices are higher, but it’s important that we keep pushing for systemic change so that the lows aren’t so low and we can keep more family farmers on the land,” he says.