Julie Maurer, co-owner of Soaring Eagle Dairy in Newton, Wis., was the first recipient of the Dean Strauss Leadership Award to recognize her roles as an advocate and leader in the dairy community. Maurer was presented with the award at the Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) Business Conference on March 18 in Wisconsin Dells, Wis.
“Julie is a tremendous example of a passionate rural leader who has spearheaded a number of programs and projects to support the dairy industry and her community,” said Shelly Mayer, PDPW executive director.
Maurer is co-owner of Soaring Eagle Dairy with her parents, brother and two sisters. She joined the family business in 2005 and is currently responsible for nutrient management, human resources and employee management, the milking parlor and the farm’s heifer program at the Heifer Authority in Colorado.
She currently serves as the president of the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center – a venture for which she was instrumental in raising funds for its 2018 launch. She also serves on the board of directors for Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. She has served in numerous other leadership roles in dairy and community organizations, including youth leader in her church through which she has traveled internationally on missionary trips.
The award was established by the PDPW Board of Directors in honor of Dean Strauss, a Wisconsin dairy farmer and dairy industry leader, who passed away in 2019 at the age of 48. Strauss was the owner of Majestic Crossing Dairy and active in a number of dairy organizations and leadership boards, including a past president and past board member of PDPW.
“Dean was an inspirational young leader – a role model for our dairy community and a friend to all,” Mayer said. “He worked tirelessly to promote the dairy industry and was passionate about providing continuing education opportunities for all dairy producers.”
Strauss and Majestic Crossing Dairy were one of three farms in the nation honored for the Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award in May 2019, and he was a member of several boards including the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center, the executive board of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin and the Dairy Policy Committee for Wisconsin Farm Bureau. He was also a member of the boards of the Wisconsin Beef Council, the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), and Dairy Management Inc.
In attendance for the award presentation were Maurer’s parents Jim and Sandie Fitzgerald, daughters Hailey and Kelsey Maurer, sister Kelly Goehring and brother Nick Fitzgerald. Strauss’s wife, brother and parents co-presented the award.