Thirty-five individuals have been selected as Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 35 Under 35 Award finalists. The award is presented by WFBF’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist program in partnership with Insight FS.
The 35 Under 35 program recognizes the creativity and innovation of young farmers and agriculturists who are preserving agriculture through leadership in environmental, social and economic activities. This is the inaugural year of the program developed by the YFA Committee.
In the first year of the program, 60 innovative and deserving YFA members submitted video applications. Applications were evaluated for their involvement in one of five categories – Sustainable Future, Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Service, Sustainable Storytelling and Sustainable Self.
“It has been extremely exciting to see this new program come to life,” said WFBF YFA Committee Chair Bob Nash “We were blown away by how many deserving YFA members were nominated and submitted applications. Congratulations to all the finalists.”
The Sustainable Future category recognizes individuals who are setting up the next generation for success both on and off the farm. The finalists in the Sustainable Future category are Megan Daluge, Rock County; Livia Doyle, Iowa County; Sydney Endres, Columbia County; Amelia Hayden, Jackson County; Karoline Twardokus, Dodge County; Sammy Van Deurzen, Brown County; Leah Weninger, Washington County; and Abigail Winkel, Manitowoc County.
The Sustainable Service category recognizes individuals who help farmers improve and meet their goals. The finalists in the Sustainable Service category are Josh Gerbitz, Dodge County; Mitch Giebel, Juneau County; Trevor Jacobson, Iowa County; Katie Maier, Grant County; and Kyle Much, Waupaca County.
The Sustainable Environment category recognizes individuals who are good stewards of the land and their resources. The finalists in the Sustainable Environment category are Jason Behrend, Wood County; Joe and Kristin Birschbach, Fond du Lac County; Heather Erdman, Eau Claire County; Josh and Kristen Joseph, Richland County; Zachariah Kenneke, Manitowoc County; Adam Kolb, Manitowoc County; Ryan Ripp, Dane County; and TJ Roth, Grant County.
The Sustainable Storytelling category recognizes individuals who use their platform to share agriculture’s sustainability successes. The finalists in the Sustainable Storytelling category are Hannah Barthels, Racine County; Rachel Harmann, Door County; Stephanie Hoff, Dane County; Christa Hoffman, Shawano County; Kaitlyn Riley, Crawford County; Katie Schmitt, Dane County; and Andrew Zwald, St. Croix County.
The Sustainable Self category recognizes individuals that go above and beyond for their community and employees. The finalists in the Sustainable Self category are Eldon Henthorne, Vernon County; Holly LaPlant, Door County; Kelly Oudenhoven, Outagamie County; Cameron Pokorny, Fond du Lac County; Julie Wadzinski, Barron County; Tammy Wiedenbeck, Grant County; and Nate Zimdars, Fond du Lac County.
“On behalf of Insight FS, congratulations to all the deserving finalists,” said Insight FS General Manager Ben Huber. “At Insight FS, we are committed to protecting the environment, enriching the community and helping businesses thrive. These individuals exemplify these values and we are proud to partner with Wisconsin Farm Bureau to recognize them.”
Each finalist will receive an embroidered jacket sponsored by Insight FS. The top individual in each category will be announced during the WFBF Annual Meeting and YFA Conference in December. The finalists are also invited to attend an exclusive networking reception during the conference.