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Jim Ruen

Jim Ruen

Jim Ruen lives and works in southeastern Minnesota, an area of hills, bluffs and valleys, near the farm where he grew up and spent most of his first quarter century. It was a typical diversified farm for its time with a dairy herd, hogs, beef and crops, leaving behind a rich stew of memories: the excitement of harvest, the challenge of stacking 120 bales on a flatbed wagon and the feeling of steamy barn air hitting your face when you came in from subzero night air.

When Jim left the farm at 17, it was to join the U.S. Army, serving in Germany and Vietnam. Although he trained as a mechanic, he ended up working in data processing. That training, combined with early farm life and later years of writing about farm equipment and agricultural technology, have given him a broad base of knowledge for current duties as Hobby Farms’ Tools of the Trade columnist.

Upon leaving the army, Jim returned to the farm for several years. After a foray in politics, he left for the University of Minnesota and a degree in technical communications. That led to more than 20 years of writing, publishing and public-relations work, mostly in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., with stints in Rochester, N.Y.; Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, Iowa; and now Lanesboro, Minn. Career highlights have included directing nationwide communications efforts for various clients and interviewing and writing about people, issues and new technologies.

In recent years, Jim's writing career has focused on individuals who solve challenges they face, through by initiative, creativity and craft, often working with scrap, recycled and reused materials. This experience has strengthened his belief and confidence in the human mind and spirit, leading him to tell others repeatedly, "When this talent for creativity and ingenuity is unleashed, there is no limit to what people can achieve."

When not writing, Jim can be found digging in the family gardens, building retaining walls, trying out new products and attempting new projects. One of the largest such projects in recent years is an 8-acre planting of oaks, black walnuts and other tree species on his nearby farm. That experience was covered in one of Jim's first stories in Hobby Farms magazine. It and other farm and home projects are recurring themes in Jim's stories and Hobby Farms’ blog.


Permaculture: Getting Started
You can begin integrating permaculture methods into your garden, yard or farm with simple, subtle changes.

7 Daily Tractor Maintenance Tasks
Before revving up your tractor’s engine for the workday, use this daily maintenance checklist ensure this important piece of small-farm equipment is running smoothly.

Don’t Get Caught in the Cold! Get an Emergency Generator
Choose a generator for your farm now, before a power outage proves how much you need one.

All-terrain Farming
ATVs offer benefits to farmers; ongoing farm tasks are no match for an ATVs versatility

Tools of the Trade: Hoop Houses
High or low tunnels, greenhouses or garages—hoop houses are handy structures on hobby farms.

Portable Sawmills
Avoid trips to the lumberyard. Cut your own wood and mill it, too, with a portable sawmill.

Rough-cut Mowers
Clean up brush and weeds with the rough-cut mower that’s right for your farm and equipment.

Picking Sprayer Pumps and Nozzle Tips
Use these tips to help you find pumps and nozzle tips for your small-farm sprayer.

Sprayer Selection
Choose from a host of equipment for your small-farm sprayer applications.

Infographic: Equipment Selections for Spring Farm Maintenance
Choose the right piece (or pieces) of farm equipment to complete your spring farm-maintenance chores with help from this guide.



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