There were a number of awards presented to Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation members at the organization's 94th annual meeting held Dec. 8 at Wisconsin Dells.
Following are the highlights:
Young Farmer Award
Monroe County dairy farmers were selected as the winner of WFBF's Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement Award. Corey and Miranda Leis of Cashton milk 300 cows and farm 1,300 acres. Owned jointly with Corey's father, the farm was originally his grandfather's. They also operate a small custom harvesting business.
The couple has three children, is active in Farm Bureau and previously served on the state Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee. Miranda works off the farm at Organic Valley Cooperative and serves on the state Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection Board. Corey is a director for the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association.
Farm Bureau's Achievement Award is a contest that awards farmers between the ages of 18 and 35, who have excelled in their farming career, understand current issues affecting agriculture, and have shown leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.
Corey and Miranda will compete in the national Achievement Award contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 95th annual meeting in January in San Antonio.
They also qualify to attend a trip to Washington, D.C. They will attend the WFBF Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference, and GROWMARK's annual meeting in Chicago in August. FABCO Equipment Inc. provided 40 hours use of a FABCO skidsteer loader, and Rural Mutual Insurance provided a free financial plan to the Achievement Award winner.
Excellence in Ag Award
Nicole Reese of Rock County was selected the winner of the WFBF's Young Farmer and Agriculturist Excellence in Agriculture contest.
The Excellence in Agriculture Award goes to a Farm Bureau member between the ages of 18 and 35 who is actively engaged in agriculture, but derives the majority of their income from an off-farm ag career. The winner is selected based on their knowledge of agriculture, leadership in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.
Reese, who lives in Janesville, works as an agricultural instructor at Milton High School. She was recently named as the new executive director of the Evansville-based, Southern Wisconsin Agricultural Group.
Reese was raised on her family's 120-cow dairy farm and still regularly works there. As an agri-science teacher she gives students experience and hands-on learning relatable to real world agricultural occupations. She also is the FFA advisor for nearly 300 members. She serves on both the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators Board and the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board. Reese is a past state FFA vice president and Alice in Dairyland.
Reese will compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest at the AFBF's annual conference in San Antonio. She will attend the WFBF Young Farmer Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. She received a $250 FS Fast Stop gift card from GROWMARK, Inc. and will be a guest at its annual meeting in Chicago in August. She also qualifies for YFA trip to Washington D.C.
Discussion Meet Contest
Chris Pollack of Ripon was selected winner of the 2013 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion Meet contest.
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.
Pollack will compete in the national Discussion Meet contest in San Antonio. He grew up on a dairy farm near Ripon and attended University of Wisconsin-Madison's Farm and Industry Short Course and then returned to farm with his parents at Pollack-Vu Dairy LLC. They milk 150 cows and farm 700 acres. He also does custom baling and markets straw to local farmers.
He is involved with the Fond du Lac County Farm Bureau's YFA program, Ripon FFA Alumni and coaches the Fond du Lac County dairy judging team.
Pollack qualifies for the YFA trip to Washington D.C. Midwest Stihl awarded a chainsaw and Rural Mutual Insurance provided a free financial plan. He will attend the Young Farmer & Agriculturist Conference, and the GROWMARK annual meeting in Chicago in August.
Other state finalists in the Discussion Meet were: Brad Gefvert of Columbia County, Tiffany Schneider of Calumet County, and Adam Wehling of Buffalo County.
Trempealeau County's Yvonne Shepherd received the highest award WFBF bestows upon its members. Shepherd was presented the 'Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau Award' for providing exceptional leadership and support to Farm Bureau's efforts.
Shepherd's involvement with Farm Bureau began in 1969. She served as Trempealeau County Farm Bureau's secretary for 15 years. She was elected to the county Farm Bureau's board of directors in 1992 and served as the chair of the county's Women's Committee for nearly 20 years. In that role she organized a variety of leadership events.
Source: Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation