Ralph Petersen was always interested in farming and tractors for as long as his children can remember. His four children Andrew, Mark, Linda and Kurt were born on a small 5-acre farm in North St. Louis County.
Their Grandpa, Charles Uetrecht ran the hardware store in Baden, Missouri and came to know a gentleman by the name of Mr. DeGeal when he came through to sell milk. The two gentlemen became friends and together purchased a farm in Rockbridge, Illinois. That friendship lasted for the remainder of both their lifetimes. Ralph Petersen first went to the DeGeal farm with his future wife, Marie Uetrecht (daughter to Charles), this was the first of many trips to the farm from before Marie and Ralph’s marriage and these trips continued on through the growth of their family.
When Mr. DeGeal passed away, his son, Edward DeGeal, together with Ralph purchased his farm. The Fitzsimmons farm ran by Stu and Irene sat immediately east of the DeGeal farm and immediately Ralph and Stu became friends. Stu raised trotting horses and some beef cattle which certainly helped Ralph get interested in cattle. Ralph and Marie purchased the Fitzsimmons farm when Stu and Irene decided to retire. In May of 1970 Ralph purchased his first herd of cattle, a group of seven polled Herefords from a friend in Indiana. In seven short years he was able to build his herd while producing corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. In 1972 Ralph and Marie moved to the farm, over time Rocklin Farms grew to approximately 1800 acres. During this time the herd grew to almost 300 head of mostly Angus and Hereford and produced some of the top priced cattle in the Midwest. This was evidenced by the letter he received from the Illinois Polled Hereford Association and the head of the Illinois Stockyard where their cattle sold for the highest price in the system.
Ralph decided to name his farm Rocklin Farms after the town where it was located “Rock” for Rockbridge and “lin” his daughter Linda. Marie hand drew the first logo to include a Canada goose as they were and still are a fixture of the farm and its lakes. Ralph passed away in 1998, but his dream and his passion to farm and raise high quality cattle on their central Illinois farm continues on through his children and his grandchildren.