Marieke Penterman of Thorp was selected Wisconsin's Outstanding Young Farmer Jan. 24 at an awards program in Weston. Penterman, the first solo woman to receive the award, also won the Speak Up for Agriculture Award.
Penterman and her husband Rolf own Holland's Family Cheese, a dairy farm and farmstead cheese factory, where the couple milks 400 cows in a 12 herringbone milking parlor. They also own and operate a new creamery and retail store, where milk is piped directly to the creamery and is made into cheese within five hours after the cows are milked. Their hard work in the creamery has brought success in the form of many awards that include first woman Grand Master Cheese Maker at the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair and in 2013 they won the title of Best Cheese in the U.S. at the cheese championships.
The first runners-up are Craig and Nicole Schmidt of Juneau. They milk 155 cows and farm 670 acres.
The second runner-up is Amy Raboine of Reedsburg. She milks 70 Jersey cows on a 380-acre farm that is certified organic.
Penterman and Craig and Nicole Schmidt will represent Wisconsin at the National Outstanding Young Farmers Awards Congress in Ohio in 2016.
Other participants in the state OYF event are Andrew and Beth Belter of Athens; Tom and Amanda Cornette of Luxemburg; and Jeremy and Erin Miess of Muscoda.