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2013 Wisconsin OYF Contest highlights

Jan. 31, 2013 | 0 comments


It was a sure bet that the judges for Wisconsin’s 2013 Outstanding Young Farmer competition would come up with big winners.

Judges Abby Huibregtse, University of Wisconsin Extension Oconto County; Allen Kohn, Krakow dairy farmer and past OYF state winner; and Roger Pescinski of BMO Harris Bank in Shawano faced a dozen of the state’s brightest and best farming couples during the 60th annual OYF Awards Weekend.

"It was a great group and a definite challenge," Huibregtse said after the event, held Jan. 18-20 at the Menominee Casino Resort and ably hosted by Shawano County.

"We had a full slate of really dynamic people," echoed Daphne Holterman, 1994 national OYF winner and awards weekend committee member. "It gives me renewed faith in the future of agriculture to see what they’ve accomplished so early in their career."

The farms represented were a wide-ranging, interesting mix of size, location and approach, but all shared at least one attribute. "No matter the size, they were all excited about agriculture," Holterman said. "I’m glad I wasn’t a judge."

On Saturday night, David and Stacy Jauquet of Luxemburg were honored with the 2013 OYF title, following suit with the "Speaking Up for Agriculture" award. The Kewaunee County farm couple operate a 600-cow dairy operation in partnership with David’s brother, Jeff. (see separate story)

Barlass named


First runners-up were Brian and Nicole Barlass, who manage a Jersey dairy farm on the Rock Prairie less than two miles from Janesville. "We were surprised and really honored to be chosen," Brian said afterwards. "This is a really impressive group of farm operators."

The dairy traces back to 1842 on the Barlass side, and has welcomed another generation with Jack, the couple’s 11-month-old son. Brian, 36, joined his parents, Bill and Marion, on the farm in 1999 after graduation from Cornell University with a degree in animal science.

At that time, the farm had 100 milking cows with a rolling herd average of 12,000 pounds and 300 tillable acres.

Today, there are 380 Jerseys being milked on Barlass Dairy LLC with a RHA just under 20,000 pounds, 5.3 percent fat test and 3.8 percent protein. The tillable land has risen to nearly 1,400 acres.

The farm’s double 10 herringbone parlor installed during the winter of 1999 was replaced five years ago with a swing 16 rapid exit parallel parlor with meters and RFID tags for identification.

The farm features a three-row freestall barn, sand bedding throughout, a 3.25 million gallon manure pit, blacktop feeding pad, a commodity shed and feed bins.

A Coverall barn has been constructed for dry cows, as well as hoop buildings for the calves and hay storage.

The farm is a family affair. Brian handles herd management and the farm’s six full-time and two part-time employees, while his father Bill is in charge of crops and his mother Marion takes care of bookwork.

Bill and Marion take care of calves, as does Brian’s younger sister, Kristin, and her husband, Brian, who live on a farm just round the corner. Kristin is director of field services for American Jersey Cattle Association, and handles the farm’s genetics.

Nichole works off the farm as director of programs and operations for CESA #2 in Whitewater.

The Barlasses are active members of Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, Wisconsin Farm Bureau, state and national Jersey associations, Rock Prairie Presbyterian Church, 4-H and FFA.

They were sponsored by East Central/Select Sires, Ag Consulting Team, Complete Feed Service and Watertown Area OYF.


Other Runners-up

The Second Runners-up in the 2013 contest were Matt and Tabitha Hartwig, Athens. They own a dairy herd and utilize managed intensive grazing. They have two children, Benjamin and Lauryn.

They were sponsored by Citizens State Bank of Loyal, Service Motor Company, Northside Elevator, Agropur and Stetsonville Oil Company.

Kurt and Diana Strassburg, Bowler, were named third runners-up. They milk Holsteins on their family farm and have two sons, Brock and Brady. They were also runners-up for "Speak Up for Agriculture".

They were sponsored by Shawano County OYF.

John and Deb Ihm, Lancaster, were named fourth runners-up. They operate an organic dairy and egg laying operation. They have five children: Jeremiah, Michael, Trinity, Vanessa and Selina.

They were sponsored by Lancaster Jaycees and Platteville Jaycees.

With the Jauquets named winners of the "Speak Up For Agriculture" award, judges called forth two couples for second place honors. Kurt and Diana Strassburg tied with Matt and Tracy Brandel, Lake Mills, as runners-up in the competition.

Brandels were sponsored by Badgerland Financial, Vita Plus, Tri County Dairy and Watertown Area OYF.


Other state finalists

The other state finalists were:

• Hickory and Erin Daniels, Juda-Brodhead, sponsored by Frontier-Servco FS;

• Marty and Lisa Pertzborn, Reedsburg, sponsored by Reedsburg Jaycees;

• Corey and Brook Stenjem, Cambridge, sponsored by East Central/Select Sires, Cambridge FFA Alumni and Watertown Area OYF;

• Nicholas and Danae Stieglitz, Greenwood, sponsored by Clark County;

• Mark and Rachel Turgasen, Richland Center, sponsored by Richland County OYF; and

• Erich and Mia Wollin, Johnson Creek, sponsored by Badgerland Financial, Vita Plus, Waupun Equipment and Watertown Area OYF.

The Jauquets and Barlasses will be nominated to represent Wisconsin at the national OYF Awards Congress in Rapid City, SD next February.

The Wisconsin OYF program began in 1954 to recognize the younger generation of successful agriculturists. Winners are chosen for progress in their ag career, soil and water conservation, and contributions to their community, state and the nation.

During this year’s awards weekend, candidates enjoyed touring local businesses, including Green Valley Dairy, Kuczer Farm, Nutrition Service Company, Wisconsin Film and Bag, and Doc’s Harley Davidson.

Serving on the awards weekend committee were Jeff and Tammy Styczynski; Cindy, Harold and Chris Matton, Connie and Wayne Nischke, Adam and Becky Kuczer, Ken and Ann Reckelberg, and Lloyd and Daphne Holterman.

Diamond Sponsors of the event were Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, who awarded all 12 candidates a membership and registration to the annual business conference, and BMO Harris Bank. Platinum Sponsors were Jay & Kristi Richardson of Son-Bow Farms and Lloyd and Daphne Holterman of Rosy-Lane Holsteins.

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