There were a number of awards presented to Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation members at the organization's 95th annual meeting held Dec. 7 at Wisconsin Dells.
Following are the convention highlights:
Ag Achievement Award
Ozaukee County dairy farmer Mark Mayer was selected as the winner of the WFBF Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement Award.
Mayer who lives in Fredonia has a dairy farm and farms 550 acres. He first rented facilities to farm until purchasing his current farm in 2006. He attended Lakeshore Technical College for dairy herd management.
Mayer is the vice president of the Ozaukee County YFA committee, serves on the Ozaukee County Farm Bureau board of directors and is also active in the county policy development committee. He also serves on his local fire department.
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.
Mayer will compete in the national Achievement Award contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 96th Annual Meeting next month in San Diego. He also qualifies to attend a trip to Washington, D.C., in 2015. He will be a guest of the WFBF at the WFBF YFA Conference, and of Growmark, Inc. at its annual meeting in Chicago this August. Fabco Equipment Inc., provided 40 hours use of a Fabco skid loader, and Rural Mutual Insurance provided a free financial plan to the Achievement Award Winner.
Excellence in Ag
Dustin Williams of South Wayne was selected the winner of the WFBF 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 agricultural career. The winner is selected based on their knowledge of agriculture, leadership in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.
Williams is an agricultural education instructor at Blackhawk Technical College in Monroe. He is the vice president of the Green County Farm Bureau and is active in their county Ag in the Classroom program.
He was recently elected to the Green County Fair Board and helps with the county's tractor safety program.
Williams will compete in the national Excellence in Agriculture contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 96th Annual Conference next month in San Diego. He will also be guest of the WFBF at next year's WFBF Young Farmer Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. He also received a $250 FS Fast Stop gift card from Growmark, Inc. and will be a guest at its annual meeting in Chicago in August. He also qualifies for the YFA Washington D.C. trip in 2015.
Ethan Giebel of Juneau County was selected winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion Meet.
The Discussion Meet 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.
Giebel is a senior at University of Wisconsin-Platteville where he is pursuing a degree in agricultural education. He enjoys working on his parents' farm in Juneau County where they raise dairy steers, corn and alfalfa.
He also works as a freelance writer for the Wisconsin Agriculturist and Filament Marketing. On campus, he is a member of the UW-Platteville collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate FFA and Alpha Zeta. He is also is a member of the Juneau County Farm Bureau and a lifetime Mauston FFA Alumni member.
Giebel will compete in the national Discussion Meet Contest at the American Farm Bureau Federation's 96th Annual Meeting in San Diego. He qualifies for the YFA trip to Washington, D.C. in 2015. Midwest Stihl awarded a chainsaw and Rural Mutual Insurance provided a free financial plan. Giebel will be a guest of the WFBF at next year's WFBF Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference,and a special guest at the annual meeting of Growmark, Inc. in Chicago in August.
Other state finalists in the Discussion Meet were: Adam Wehling of Buffalo County, Jamie Propson of Manitowoc County, Peter Kimball of Pierce County.
Collegiate Discussion Meet
Nate Zimdars was selected the winner of the WFBF Collegiate Discussion Meet contest.
Zimdars is a junior at UW-Madison where he is earning a degree in history and education. He grew up on a sheep and poultry hobby farm near Ripon.
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.
Zimdars will represent Wisconsin in a national collegiate Discussion Meet contest at the American Farm Bureau FUSION Conference in Nashville in February.
Other finalists included Emily Selner of UW-Madison, Rachel Leege and Kallie Jo Kastenson from UW-Platteville, and Kaylin Spaeth and Aaron Zimmerman from UW-River Falls.
Distinguished Service Award
Dane County's Jack Meffert received the highest award the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation bestows upon its members.
Meffert was presented the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau award. Meffert, a dairy and crop farmer from rural Waunakee has provided exceptional leadership and support to Farm Bureau's efforts.
Meffert was elected to the Dane County Farm Bureau Board of Directors in 1980. He served as its membership chairman from 1987 to 2013.
Jack and his wife, Marilyn, have three children, two grandchildren and three step-grandchildren. He farms in partnership with his son, Jeff.