Five individuals have been selected to receive top honors in Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s 35 Under 35 Award program. 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.
Applications were evaluated for their involvement in one of five categories – Sustainable Future, Sustainable Environment, Sustainable Service, Sustainable Storytelling and Sustainable Self.
35 finalists were recognized at WFBF’s Annual Meeting and YFA Conference in Wisconsin Dells on Dec. 3. Each finalist received an embroidered jacket. The top individual in each category received a $200 cash prize.
“On behalf of the YFA Committee, congratulations to all of the finalists and top individuals,” said WFBF YFA Committee Chair Bob Nash. “The future of agriculture is bright and it has been an honor to recognize these outstanding individuals.”
The Sustainable Future category recognizes individuals who are setting up the next generation for success both on and off the farm. The top individual in the Sustainable Future category was Livia Doyle from Iowa County. Livia is a fourth-grade teacher at Mineral Point Elementary School. She farms with her husband and family in Mineral Point.
Other finalists in the Sustainable Future category included. Megan Daluge, Rock 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, Calumet County.
The Sustainable Service category recognizes individuals who help farmers improve and meet their goals. The top individual in the Sustainable Service category was Josh Gerbitz from Dodge County. Josh is a dairy business manager for Alta Genetics. He lives in Juneau.
Other finalists in the Sustainable Service category included 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 top individual in the Sustainable Environment category was TJ Roth from Grant County. TJ is a dairy farmer from Platteville. He farms with his family at Banner Ridge Farms.
Other finalists in the Sustainable Environment category included 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; and Ryan Ripp, Dane County.
The Sustainable Storytelling category recognizes individuals who use their platform to share agriculture’s sustainability successes. The top individual in the Sustainable Storytelling category was Kaitlyn Riley from Crawford County. Kaitlyn is the director of communications and outreach for the Wisconsin Beef Council. She is from Gays Mills.
Other finalists in the Sustainable Storytelling category included Hannah Barthels, Racine County; Rachel Harmann, Door County; Stephanie Hoff, Dane County; Christa Hoffman, Shawano 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 top individual in the Sustainable Self category was Tammy Wiedenbeck from Grant County. Tammy is the regional business development manager for Hilbert Communications, Bug Tussel Wireless and AT&T Subsidiaries. She also works at her family’s beef and crop farm in Lancaster.
Other finalists in the Sustainable Self category included Eldon Henthorne, Vernon County; Holly LaPlant, Door County; Kelly Oudenhoven, Outagamie County; Cameron Pokorny, Fond du Lac County; Julie Wadzinski, Barron County; and Nate Zimdars, Fond du Lac County.
“We are proud to partner with Wisconsin Farm Bureau to amplify the leadership of young farmers while promoting activities that protect the future of agriculture now and for generations to come”, said Insight FS General Manager Ben Huber. “Congratulations to these impressive individuals,”
To view videos of the finalists, please visit the 103rd Wisconsin Farm Bureau Annual Meeting and YFA Conference webpage.