Meet Your 2023 Outstanding Young Farmers

The Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer program is pleased to announce Travis and Melissa Marti of Vesper were selected as the 2023 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmers during the 69th Annual Awards Weekend.

When Travis joined the farm, the family milked 160 cows and had 150 replacement animals. Today, the herd has grown to 535 cows with 450 replacements. Milk production has also increased, with the rolling herd average rising to 30,600 pounds of milk.

Travis credits dedicated employees and ag professionals for helping him through the farm’s growing pains. He is grateful to his grandpa and Dad for sharing their knowledge and support over the years as he and Melissa gradually assumed ownership of the farm. They now own 614 acres and rent an additional 800 acres.

Animals also benefit from new technologies. A BouMatic activity and location system helps track milk weights, heat detection, rumination, eating time and cow health. A robotic calf feeder and robotic feed pusher further increase farm efficiency.

Cows have always been the center of the family’s business and Travis follows his dad’s advice: “Take care of the cows and they will take care of you.”

Additional winners

• Brody and Carolyn Stapel of Cedar Grover were named 1st OYF Runner Up. They milk 260 cows in a double-eight parlor, raise their own young stock and farm about 960 acres and in 2022 purchased 600
head of Angus beef cattle and form there as Hand Creek Cattle.

• Mark and Vanna Leichtfuss of Two Rivers were named 2nd Runner Up. They milk 230 cows along with 200 young stock. They milk both Registered Holsteins and recently added Registered Ayreshires.

• Michael and Courtney Gutschenritter, were awarded the “Speak Up for Ag Award,” sponsored by Agri-View. The Gutschenritters, who specialize in pasture-raised eggs, lamb and wool products, custom grazing and farmer-to-farmer education.

Other finalists

• Bryan and Maria Baranek of Crivitz
• Adam and Melissa Baumann of Marathon
• Brady and Lynsey Broedlow of Helenville
• Tristan and Megan Swartz of Gilman

Judges for the event included:

• Aerica Bjurstrom, Regional Dairy Educator for the UW-Madison Division of Extension for Brown, Door and Kewaunee counties
• Lloyd Holterman, Rosy-Lane Holsteins, WI OYF Winner 1993 and National OYF Winner 1994
• Roger Sinkula, Ag Lender, Nicolet Bank

Next year, the Marti’s will host the Wisconsin OYF Awards Weekend in January 2024, location TBD.

Wisconsin has finalists for the 2023 National OYF Awards to be held in Appleton Feb. 16-19. WI OYF 2022 Winners, Kyle and Rachel Zwieg of Ixonia are finalists for the 2023 National OYF Award.