The annual Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation annual meeting and YFA Conference brings together Wisconsin farmers, agriculture business professionals and supporters to discuss top issues impacting agriculture. The 103rd event was held Dec. 2-5, 2022 at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.
Waushara County dairy farmer Kevin Krentz was re-elected president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Company at the organization’s 103rd annual meeting on Dec. 4.
Krentz was first elected to the WFBF Board of Directors in 2012 to represent District 5, which includes: Adams, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Juneau, Marquette, Waushara and Winnebago counties.
Krentz started his farming career in 1994 when he purchased his father’s 60 cows. He grew Krentz Family Dairy Inc., to 600 cows and 1,300 acres of crops.
Former WFBF President Jim Holte received the ‘Distinguished Service to Wisconsin Agriculture’ Award for his outstanding contributions to Wisconsin’s agriculture industry. Holte retired as President of Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation and Rural Mutual Insurance Company Boards in 2019. That same year he also retired from the AFBF Board of Directors.
“In all of his roles Jim worked tirelessly to make agriculture a top priority for the state of Wisconsin,” said nominator and WFBF Vice President Dave Daniels.
Holte started his farming career as a dairy farmer before eventually transitioning to a beef and grain farmer.
Geigers honored for contributions
Manitowoc County Farm Bureau members Rosalie and the late Randy Geiger received the highest award Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation bestows upon its members – the ‘Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau’ award.
Although Randy died in 2019, WFBF President Kevin Krentz said “it doesn’t diminish his legacy and input to the dairy industry across the nation and around the globe but also his passion for serving others. His passion was contagious.”
The Geiger’s farming careers began in 1969. In 1981, they moved to a farm near Reedsville that had been owned by Rosalie’s ancestors since 1867. Ran-Rose Dairy was known for a fine herd of registered Holsteins where cows, heifers and embryos are marketed around the world. The family grew 360 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat.
Besides the county and state Farm Bureau and the agricultural community, many organizations benefited from the couple’s knowledge and dedication including Milk Marketing Board or now, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, World Dairy Expo, National Milk Producers Federation, Wisconsin Agri-Business Council, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Holstein Association and the National Dairy Board, just to name a few.
“The time and dedication that Rosalie and Randy gave to the agricultural community and Farm Bureau is a true testament to Rosalie receiving the Farm Bureau’s Distinguished Service to Farm Bureau award and to Randy’s memory and honor,” said Manitowoc County Farm Bureau President Brent Sinkula.
Ag Literacy Leadership Award
Don and Bev Meyer and the Wisconsin Soybean Association were named the inaugural recipients of the Agriculture Literacy Leadership Award by Wisconsin Agriculture in the Classroom. The new award honors and recognizes outstanding business partners and volunteers dedicated to growing agriculture literacy in Wisconsin.
“Volunteers and business partners are the lifeblood of Wisconsin in Ag in the Classroom,” said Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom Coordinator Beth Schaefer. “This award was created to honor the ongoing work of volunteers whose leadership has advanced our collective goal of increasing awareness of the value of agriculture while supporting the K-12 education core curriculum.”
Business and Industry Partner Award Recipient is the Wisconsin Soybean Association, one of the longest-running partners of Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom. Their continued support of innovative programs, including the ‘Soybean Science Kit’, has allowed over sixty counties to present soybean STEM learning resources with students and educators.
The Wisconsin Soybean Association’s support of agriculture literacy efforts extends to Wisconsin Ag in the Classroom’s Essay Contest, an annual program that challenges students to explore how Wisconsin agriculture products are grown and raised while meeting critical writing standards in English Language Arts. Thousands of students have expanded their understanding and awareness of agriculture thanks to the long-time partnership and support of the Wisconsin Soybean Association.
Volunteer Award Recipients were Don and Beverly Meyer, Sauk County Farm Bureau. The couple has been instrumental in starting the Sauk County Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom program by reaching out to teachers in the county with their Taste of Sauk County event. The Meyers have continued to lead agricultural literacy efforts in their community and state by volunteering at World Dairy Expo Youth Tours, reaching over 1,100 urban students each year about dairy.
Discussion meet winners
Michelle Stangler, a student at UW-River Falls, was selected as the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Collegiate Discussion Meet contest at the organization’s 103rd Annual Meeting in Wisconsin Dells on December 4.
Stangler is a junior at UW-River Falls studying agricultural marketing communications and journalism.
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.
Rachel Harmann of Door County Farm Bureau was selected as the winner of the 2022 Wisconsin Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Agriculturist Discussion Meet, 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.
Harmann serves as Door County Farm Bureau’s vice president and local affairs chair. She is participating in AFBF’s Partners in Advocacy Leadership programme; was an Alice in Dairyland finalist; Master of Beef Advocacy graduate; Wisconsin Beef Ambassador and graduate of WFBF’s Leadership Institute Class XIV.
Harmann will represent Wisconsin during the American Farm Bureau Annual Convention in January.
Outstanding Ag Professional
Christa Hoffman was selected as the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Outstanding Agriculture Professional Award. Christa is a business development administrator at URUS and manages grant-funded projects focused on improving cattle management practices on farms in emerging markets.
Working for a global cattle genetics company, her primary focus is establishing new commercial markets while providing access to artificial insemination to make long-term impacts on production and profitability of farms. Christa and her husband Brad raise two young children on the family’s dairy farm in Gresham.
“This contest recognizes Young Farmer and Agriculturist members going above and beyond for agriculture and within their communities,” said Krentz.
Farming for the future
Kelly Oudenhoven was selected as the winner of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Farming for the Future Award. She is the co-owner and herd manager of Larrand Dairy in Outagamie County.
Oudenhoven and her husband Keith are the fourth generation to carry on the legacy of their family farm where they milk 450 Holsteins and farm 950 acres. Recently, Oudenhoven opened a farm store, Larrand Specialty Farm Products, and sells direct to consumers.
“This contest recognizes Young Farmer and Agriculturist members who excel in their farming, leadership ability and involvement in Farm Bureau and other agriculture organizations,” said Krentz.
The Farming for the Future Award is presented to a Farm Bureau member between the ages of 18 and 35 who has derived a majority of his or her income from on-farm production.
Oudenhoven is on the Outagamie County Farm Bureau board of directors and serves as the Ag in the Classroom coordinator and Promotion and Education chair.
Both Hoffmann and Oudenhoven will have the opportunity to attend the 2023 AFBF FUSION Conference in Jacksonville, Florida, is eligible to participate in the 2023 YFA Washington, DC, Fly-In and be a guest of the WFBF at the 2023 YFA Conference.