Wisconsin Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) Awards Weekend was hosted by the Luxemburg Casco Jaycees Jan. 16-17 in Eau Claire. Bob Bosold, farm broadcaster, emceed the awards weekend. The results:
Winners: Dennis and Donna Bergsbaken, Bonduel, own and operate a 54-cow family dairy farm. They raise all crops for feed. Bergsbakens have four children: Brianna, 13, Ashley, 12, Eric, 11 and Kaden, 5. Sponsored by Shawano County OYF.
1st Runners-up: Matt and Heather Schmitz, Richland Center, operate a 1320 acre dairy farm with 600 Holsteins. They have two children: Devon, 8, and Katie, 6. Sponsored by the Richland Area Jaycees/Richland County OYF organization.
2nd Runners-up: Kat Becker and Tony Schultz operate a 120-acre Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm near Athens where they also rotationally graze 80 cows. They have a son, Riley, 10 months old. Sponsored by Wausau Area Chamber of Commerce. This couple also received the "Speak up for Agriculture" award for their outreach and education efforts on behalf of production agriculture.
3rd Runners-up: Gary and Kimberly Nolden have a 240-acre beef and hog farm near Prairie du Sac. They have five children: Tia, 15, Melissa, 13, Brendan, 11, Grace, 10, Jamie Ann, 4. Sponsored by the Reedsburg Jaycees.
Judges were Patricia Endres, Lodi, state OYF winner in 2000, Mahlon Peterson, Eau Claire County UW Extension Agriculture Agent, and Katie Sternweis, M&I Bank.
A "Speak up for Agriculture" training session was led by Patricia Endres and Marjorie Stieve of Vita Plus. Candidates toured Western Wisconsin Energy Ethanol plant, 5-Star dairy and Leinenkugels Brewery.
Wis. OYF 2008 Platinum sponsors: AgStar, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, CHS, and Vita Plus Corporation.
Gold sponsors: WAXX Radio-Bob Bosold, Kuhn Knight, Eau Claire and Chippewa county UWEX Ag Agents, Holtermans & Rosy-Lane Holsteins LLC
Silver sponsors: Equity Co-op Livestock Sales, Cooperative Resources International, Wis. Milk Marketing Board, Forest Construction, ConAgra/Swiss Miss and AMPI.
In addition, 30 other sponsors contributed.
This is Wisconsin's 56th OYF Awards Weekend.
Ron and Nicole Wussow of Cecil, 2008 OYF winners, will represent Wisconsin at the national OYF 53nd Awards Congress, in February in Eugene, Oregon.