In the rolling hills of Grant County lies Banner Ridge Farms. TJ Roth, along with his wife, Katie, their two daughters, and farm partner, Josh, run the 500-cow dairy farm. This is no small task, but TJ’s expertise and dedication ensure the farm’s success.
TJ started working on the farm in 2007, but his passion for agriculture started long before that. When TJ was little, his grandparents would babysit him during the day. Since they lived on a farm, he would help with various chores and farm work.
“I would help my grandpa with chores all the time, and eventually it turned from a hobby into a career,” said TJ.
That drive for agriculture continued for all of TJ’s childhood. When it was time for college, TJ decided to attend the University of Wisconsin – Platteville to major in dairy science. He quickly found a job on the campus dairy farm to pursue his interests. After graduation, TJ knew exactly where he wanted to be, and that was back on the farm in Grant County. In 2015, he gained ownership of Banner Ridge Farms and has helped it thrive through sustainable management decisions.
TJ’s involvement in Farm Bureau started when he met his wife. Her family was very involved in the organization growing up, so she encouraged TJ and his family to join. Since then, TJ has been highly active in the Grant County Farm Bureau. Some of his favorite events include the WFBF Annual Meeting, Grant County Night on the Farm and YFA events.
TJ shares that the WFBF Annual Meeting was a very memorable experience for him last year. He was selected as the winner of the 35 Under 35 award in the sustainable environment category. This accomplishment was well rewarded through TJ’s sustainable efforts on the farm.
TJ runs 1650 acres of cropland on Banner Ridge Farms. For the past three years, he has worked closely with his nutrient management planner to develop sustainable changes. Now, only 300 acres of corn get commercial fertilizer, multi species cover crops are planted, a low disturbance toolbar is used to spread manure, and efforts are taken to reduce herbicide application.
Every year, TJ tries something new to improve sustainability on the farm. “If it doesn’t work, I try something new the next year,” he remarked.
When TJ was nominated for 35 Under 35, he was in the heat of chopping corn, but his wife wanted to make sure he didn’t miss this honorable opportunity.
When asked why he’s Farm Bureau proud, TJ said, “Farm Bureau stands up for us and makes our voice bigger. It stands up for what is truly right. Farm Bureau is there to support us.”
TJ’s dedication and hard work ethic are what keep his farm, community and the Farm Bureau organization pushing forward. His innovative ideas and passion for agriculture will surely leave a long-lasting impact on Wisconsin Farm Bureau.
Watch TJ’s application video to learn more about his efforts in Sustainable Service.