While Chris Soules, a 33-year-old Iowa farmer, might still be looking for love as he takes on this season’s challenge of finding a wife on television’s “The Bachelor”, many Wisconsin Farm Bureau members have already found their match.
We have heard for years that Farm Bureau events are just as effective as dating services like farmersonly.com.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we share with you the stories of couples who have found love through Farm Bureau.
“I served on the state YFA Committee from 2010-2012. As part of this role, I planned a yearly Brewers trip. Nick saw my picture in the Rural Route for about two years before we ever met. When he got the invite to the Brewers game he jumped at the chance to meet me (Ha!). Although the first year, we never even spoke (he’s shy). The second year we chatted briefly. That summer he kept showing up at all the events and I thought to myself, “this farmer is really committed to Farm Bureau!” He mustered up the courage to ask me out after I visited his farm one day and about a year and a half after our first date, we got married. I would have never met him if it were not for Farm Bureau.” – Maria Woldt
Brianna Ditzenberger and Ryan Ripp were introduced at the 2011 World Dairy Expo. The company Brianna and Ryan’s sister were working for had a suite at the Expo and Ryan popped in between internship interviews to say hello to his sister. While they didn’t say more than “Hi, it’s nice to meet you.” to each other, there were butterflies. Two months later they met again at the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference. It was there that Ryan found the courage to say hello again. After the conference, sparks flew and Ryan finally asked Brianna out. Farm Bureau helped to plant the seed of love for these two farm kids who will get married this September in a barn.
Brad and Christa met at a YFA meeting and again at a YFA bowling outing in 2011. Even after the initial meetings and two introductory conversations, Christa couldn’t remember Brad’s name when they found themselves at the wedding of mutual friends that summer. The following week they were reintroduced at the Shawano County Fair where sparks flew. The couple wed in August 2014 and lives on Brad’s family farm in Gresham.
After meeting briefly at UW-River Falls, Ryan and Lindsey met again at a YFA bowling party.
“I was being introduced as the new district coordinator for District 8. Ryan called and asked me for a date a few weeks later, but I was on a date with my then-boyfriend. A few tries later though, I was single and the rest is history…” – Lindsey Prahl
Scott was milking his herd of Holsteins one morning, when Ryan Prahl asked him about becoming a Farm Bureau member. Scott, who was 39 at the time said, “I will join only but only if you find me a wife. I’ll even become a lifelong member!” Ryan accepted the challenge and suggested to his then-fiancé and District 8 Coordinator, Lindsey, that they introduce Scott to her friend, Ashlee Weiland. Lindsey was skeptical at first but invited each of them to meet at the Athens Fair. They clicked, and Ryan received their Farm Bureau membership as a married couple a year later. Now they have two children and manage Scott’s family farm together.
Richard and June met at a Farm Bureau Rural Youth event just before Richard went into the service. June was interested in him but was convinced by a friend not to write him until after he was discharged. Once that happened in April, 1958 they dated and were married the following year in July. Former dairy farmers, Richard and June grow crops and beef cattle near Platteville. They have two children, Allen and Jolene.
District 5’s first-ever Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist Ball was held in March, 2011. Tim organized the event for young farmers and agriculturists to network and foster relationships. It worked! It was there he met his future wife. The twosome married last year and are expecting their first child this year.
“Steve and I met at the 1983 FFA Farm Forum which is sponsored by WFBF. At that time my dad was the Monroe County Farm Bureau President and the board agreed to send a representative from each of the four high schools in the county. Steve represented Cashton High School and I represented Sparta High School. My Dad was good friends with the Cashton ag teacher so he called him about carpooling to Tomah where we could meet up with the other two students and the Tomah ag teacher, who was driving the four of us to the FFA Farm Forum. It ended up that Steve drove himself and I to Tomah and as they say: the rest is history! We dated and were married in 1987. In 2006, we had the opportunity to go back to Farm Forum as chaperones for our son, Derek and his classmate, Ben. You can bet that we warned them as to what the outcome of attending could lead to!”
Joseph and Jean met through Farm Bureau’s Rural Youth program. They were married on October 25, 1958, and will celebrate 57 years this year.
John and Marilyn will celebrate their 50th anniversary this June. They met 53 years ago at the WFBF Annual Meeting in Green Lake. Both were serving on what was then-called the Young Farmers Committee. Love was certainly in the air for that committee. Jim and Blanche Blahnik from Kewaunee County also met while serving on the same committee and married.