I began farming to carry on my father’s legacy. I also wanted to raise my children in the same environment that I was raised in, one of hard work and strong ethics. I continue to farm for those same reasons and more.
I enjoy farming because every day is different. Every morning I develop a plan for my day, but as we all know, things don’t always go according to that plan. There is no typical day as a farmer, and I enjoy the challenges and experiences that it brings. Owning a family farm, I’m able to go through those challenges and experiences with my wife and children. Farming also gives me the opportunity to be a good steward of the land as it is only mine to work for a short time before it is passed down to the next generation. I enjoy caring for my animals, even if it means putting their needs before my own at times. While it’s a fast-paced and unpredictable lifestyle, I’m learning to slow down, experience the good as it comes and be grateful for this life I’ve been blessed with.
Besides farming, how do you spend your time?
I love to travel with my family. The beauty within this country and the diversity of our landscapes and cultures is amazing. Before my oldest son left for college, our family took a road trip to explore some of those landscapes and cultures. Every day was an adventure with something new to discover. We visited the Gateway Arch in Missouri, the Oklahoma Cowboy and Western Museum, Texas Cadillac Ranch, Winslow, Arizona, the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Strip, Utah’s Mormon Church, Mount Rushmore and the Corn Palace. We traveled for seven days, covered more than 4,000 miles and created a lifetime of memories.
I also enjoy traveling around Wisconsin. Our state’s wineries, restaurants, breweries, outdoor recreation areas and annual events are part of what makes me proud to be from Wisconsin.
What is one thing that has happened in your life that has defined who you are today?
The volunteerism that my mother made me do as a young boy has certainly defined who I am today. At the time I hated it, but now I cannot imagine not serving others. Serving my community is a major part of who I am and what I hoped to be remembered for someday.
What is the most important thing Farm Bureau has done for you or your farm?
Several policy changes, such as use value assessment, have been very important to my farm, but the most important thing Farm Bureau has done for me is much more personal. The opportunities for growth and leadership that Farm Bureau has given me are unparalleled.
Since day one, the professionalism of Farm Bureau has motivated me to push myself and grow within the organization. Competing in the Young Farmer and Agriculturist events has been a major part of my personal growth. I was fortunate enough to win the YFA Achievement Award in 2005. I was also part of the first WFBF Leadership Institute class.
Additionally, I have been asked to testify many times through the years and have taken something away from each of those experiences. I have learned that accepting new opportunities allows for personal growth. In my current position, I hope to take advantage of every opportunity to learn and grow. I want to continue to give back to the organization that has done so much for me.
What is your favorite Farm Bureau memory or story?
My first experience in Washington, D.C., is my favorite memory. Our goal was (and still is) to do what is right for agriculture, regardless of political preferences. The respect that our group received from lawmakers, government agencies and embassy officials inspired me to become even more involved. The opportunity to learn more about our great country and to experience the history within our nation’s capital was deeply moving. Washington, D.C., will always be a special place to me and I experience the nostalgia of that first trip every time I go back there.