Farm Bureau Announces Four Excellence in Ag Finalists

Four individuals have been selected as Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Excellence in Ag finalists and will compete in November for the top honor.

The Excellence in Ag award recognizes members of Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Program who excel in their leadership abilities and involvement in agriculture, Farm Bureau and other civic and service organizations.

“We have four outstanding agricultural advocates in this year’s state competition,” said Joe Bragger, WFBF President. “This contest highlights these individuals and how they have positively impacted Wisconsin agriculture and Farm Bureau and inspire others to do the same.”

The four finalists are:

  • Stephanie Abts of Manitowoc County. Stephanie is a dairy nutritionist at Rio Creek Feed Mill, Inc.
  • Natasha Paris of Green Lake County. Natasha is the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Ripon.
  • Julie Wadzinski of Barron County. Julie is a farm operations instructor at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College.
  • Kellie Zahn of Shawano County. Kellie is an agriculture agent at the Stockbridge-Munsee Community.

Excellence in Ag award applicants are agriculturists who have not derived a majority of their income from a farm (that they own) for the past three years. Examples of occupations of past finalists include agricultural education instructor, fertilizer salesperson, veterinarian, farm employee, journalist and marketer.

Each finalist must make a presentation and answer questions for a panel of judges. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s contest will be held virtually. This year’s state winner will compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2021 Annual Convention.  

The Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation co-sponsors this contest with GROWMARK Inc. and Rural Mutual Insurance Company. Farm Bureau’s YFA program is open to members between the ages of 18 and 35. Information and applications for all YFA contests can be downloaded from

Last year’s Excellence in Ag award recipient was Ben Huber from Green County.