In a heartwarming ceremony at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s 104th Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on December 3, Representative Gary Tauchen was bestowed with the prestigious Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture award. This recognition celebrates his lifelong dedication to Wisconsin’s agricultural industry.
This Shawano County Farm Bureau member’s journey in agriculture began with a solid foundation. After graduating from Bonduel High School, Tauchen set off to UW-River Falls where he earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science. In 1976, Tauchen along with his father, Herb, and brother, Alan, started Tauchen’s Harmony Valley Farm, which he still co-owns and operates with his parents and his two surviving brothers. Today, the farm has around 1,200 milking cows and raises crops on nearly 2,500 acres. This family dairy farm became a testament to Tauchen’s commitment to the agricultural landscape.
Beyond his farm, Tauchen has been the right-hand man for Wisconsin agricultural organizations. He served as vice president of Shawano County Farm Bureau, director of National Dairy Herd Improvement Association and chairman of AgSource Cooperative Services. To further his involvement, Tauchen played a pivotal role as a founding board member of both Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium. Tauchen’s influence extended beyond state borders, as he also served as a speaker for the National Institute for Animal Agriculture and the World Dairy Expo.
Elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2006, Tauchen represented the 6th Assembly District until 2023. During his tenure, he chaired and served on numerous committees directly impacting agriculture and rural communities, advocating for farmers throughout the state.
When asked about the most memorable moments of his career, Tauchen expressed much gratitude for Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
“Farm Bureau has been one of the most influential organizations for me,” Tauchen stated. “The organization has been a place for me to make an impact and truly get involved. I believe that Wisconsin Farm Bureau is a very important organization for our state.”
Tauchen’s lifelong contributions have not gone unnoticed as he has received several prestigious awards, including the Friend of 4-H, Legislative Excellence award from the Dairy Business Association and the Master Farmer award from the Wisconsin Agriculturist magazine.
When asked about the 2023 Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture award, Tauchen is grateful to receive such an honor. “It is such a humbling experience to be recognized for your lifetime service to agriculture,” Tauchen said. “Recognition is something that is so important not only for the person you give it to but also to inspire others so they have something to shoot for. That’s the most important part, to see that anything is possible.”
Representative Gary Tauchen’s journey from the family farm to the Wisconsin State Assembly is a testament to his unwavering dedication to the agricultural community. The Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture award is a suitable acknowledgment of his lifelong contributions, and as he continues to make a positive impact in his community, Tauchen’s legacy in Wisconsin agriculture remains an inspiration to all.
Katrina Hoesly is a college senior studying agricultural marketing communications and agribusiness. Katrina is from Denmark, Wis. where she is the sixth generation on her family’s dairy farm. Katrina served as one of WFBF’s Event Ambassadors during the 2023 WFBF Annual Meeting.