Joe Bragger was elected president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Co. following the organization’s 100th annual meeting on Dec. 8.
Bragger is a dairy farmer from Independence in Buffalo County. He succeeds Jim Holte, who served as WFBF president since 2012. Bragger was first elected to the WFBF board of directors in 2011 to represent District 4, which includes Buffalo, Trempealeau, La Crosse, Jackson, Monroe and Eau Claire counties.
Bragger farms with his wife, Noel, and his brother Dan, plus a team of employees. Bragger Family Dairy maintains 300 dairy cows; 32,000 pullets; and 1,400 acres of crops. The Braggers have four children: Rosli, John, Tessa and Allison.
Dave Daniels of Union Grove in Kenosha County was elected vice president of WFBF. He succeeds Kevin Krentz of Berlin in Waushara County.
Brian Preder of Weyauwega in Waupaca County was elected to a three-year term on the board representing District 7, which includes Langlade, Marinette, Oconto, Outagamie, Shawano and Waupaca counties.
Ryan Klussendorf of Medford in Taylor County was elected to a three-year term on the board representing District 8, which includes Clark, Lincoln, Marathon, Portage, Price, Taylor and Wood counties. He succeeds Don Radtke of Marathon County, who served on the board since 2003.
Peter Kimball of River Falls in Pierce County was elected to a three-year term on the board representing District 9, which includes Superior Shores, Barron, Chippewa, Dunn, Pierce, Polk, Rusk, Sawyer and St. Croix counties. He succeeds Jim Holte, who retired after serving in this role since 1995.
NEW PRESIDENT: Buffalo County dairy farmer Joe Bragger was elected president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Co.
Nine of the 11 members of the WFBF board of directors are elected in each of Farm Bureau’s nine districts. These nine individuals also make up the board of directors for the Rural Mutual Insurance Co. Rounding out the WFBF’s board are the chairs of the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee and the Promotion and Education Committee, both of which serve a one-year term.
Darby Sampson of Melrose in Jackson County was elected to chair the Promotion and Education Committee. Kelly Oudenhoven of Outagamie County was elected to chair the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee.
WFBF directors who were not up for reelection are: Dave Daniels of Union Grove in Kenosha County; Arch Morton Jr. of Janesville in Rock County; Robert Nigh of Viroqua in Vernon County; Kevin Krentz of Berlin in Waushara County; and Rosie Lisowe of Chilton in Calumet County.
Young Farmer, Excellence winners
Vernon County farmers Travis and Krista Klinkner were selected as the winners of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement Award.
The Klinkners are organic farmers in Viroqua. They have four children: Liam, Brad, Hank and Alice. They milk 60 cows, raise youngstock, and grow forages and corn. The couple stay busy with chores and their growing family, and enjoy everything farming. In their free time, the family takes Ranger rides after chores to scout crops and wildlife, and enjoys visiting with neighbors.
The Klinkners will compete in the national YFA competition at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2020 Annual Convention in Austin, Texas, in January.
This year’s Excellence in Agriculture Award goes to Ben Huber of Green County. The program recognizes members between the ages of 18 and 35 who are actively engaged in agriculture but derive the majority of their income from an off-farm agricultural career.
Huber is the agronomy department manager for Insight FS, where he works with the marketing and purchasing of Insight’s fertilizer, chemical and seed, along with coaching and training the agronomy staff.
Huber grew up on his family’s dairy farm in northern Illinois. He earned a bachelor’s degree in agriculture education from University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
He has been a Farm Bureau member since 2009 and is the Green County Farm Bureau president. In his spare time, Huber volunteers with several local organizations, and enjoys crop scouting and talking about farm management. Huber also will compete at the AFBF Annual Convention in Austin.
Rachel Leege of Green County was selected winner of the 2019 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion Meet. The Discussion Meet contest is a panel discussion in which Farm Bureau members between the ages of 18 and 35 are judged on their ability to express their ideas and opinions and reach a solution on current issues affecting agriculture.
Leege is a science communications manager at the Alliance of Crop, Soil and Environmental Science Societies. Growing up, she spent time on her grandparents’ dairy farms.
She earned a bachelor’s degree in soil and crop science from UW-Platteville, and is a former Collegiate Discussion Meet contestant and served as historian. Other Farm Bureau activities include attending the Fusion Conference and assisting with YFA activities for Green County Farm Bureau.
Leege will represent Wisconsin at the AFBF Annual Convention in January.
Meikah Dado was selected the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet contest.
Dado is a senior at UW-Madison, where she is majoring in dairy science and life sciences communications. She grew up in Amery on her family’s dairy farm. She is a co-host for a radio show, Ag Chat; a member of Badger Dairy Club and Association of Women in Agriculture; a past state FFA officer and National FFA officer candidate; and an employee at Sassy Cow Creamery. She plans to attend graduate school for agricultural leadership, education and communication with an emphasis in international development.
Dado is passionate about agricultural education at all levels, and as a past state FFA officer is looking forward to graduate school to focus on the direct effect of agriculture outside of the classroom.
The Collegiate Discussion Meet is a panel discussion in which collegiate members are judged on their ability to lead a committee discussion on current issues affecting agriculture and to develop consensus on an action plan to effectively address issues. By participating, members build basic discussion skills, develop a keen understanding of important agricultural issues, and explore how groups can pool knowledge to reach consensus and solve problems.
Dado receives a $1,500 scholarship courtesy of Growmark Inc. and will represent Wisconsin in the national Collegiate Discussion Meet at the AFBF Young Farmers and Ranchers Conference in Louisville, Ky., in March.