Lisa Rebenitsch sometimes calls herself the hired hand at Gumbo Flats Ranch. That’s because they don’t have one, she chuckles. The 31-year-old mother of four is involved in everything at the second-generation ranch near Fort Rice.
“She grew up on a farm south of Mandan where her love for farming and ranching all began,” said Becky Graner, who nominated Rebenitsch for Country Woman of the Year. “She checks, and when necessary, intervenes during calving, wrestles calves at brandings, checks on livestock during the summer, rides horse while trailing cattle, weans calves, feeds the bottle calves, does the calf adoptions, completes bookwork and accounting and helps make decisions about marketing and selling the crops and livestock.”
When Rebenitsch is farming and ranching, she often has a child or two with her. She and her husband Matthew have four children: Tristan, 8, Elizabeth, 7, Maverick, 5, and Sawyer, 2.
“I was in the combine for two days and I made a little bed for my 2-year-old. He napped and played with his toys,” she said.
When Rebenitsch doesn’t go by the title of "hired hand," wife or mother, she could be called the Fort Rice social chairperson. She helps organize branding, butchering and canning parties and really creates a sense of community.
“She raises a huge garden and has taught the neighborhood how to can. She calls them 'canning parties.' She also teaches others the fine art of preparing, preserving (smoking) and packaging meat,” said Graner.
“We try to be self-sufficient; we have our own beef, we butcher our own chickens and pigs and I have a really big garden and try canning all of my own stuff.”
The Rebenitsch family raises approximately 400 Gelbvieh cattle, and put up all their own feed. They also have horses, chickens, geese, ducks, guineas, bunnies and a cattle dog.
Rebenitsch says she is proud of the family and business she and her husband have created with help from her mother-in-law.
“My parents had cows and put up hay, that’s what I always wanted; to stay at home, have kids and live on a ranch,” she said.