Meet Your Outstanding Young Farmers

Jacob and Jennifer Hoewisch of Fremont are the 2024 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmers. They got the award during the 70th Annual Awards Weekend Jan. 26-27.

The Outstanding Young Farmer Program began in 1954 as a National Program for the U.S. Jaycees. Wisconsin’s first winner was named in 1952 and has had 22 national winners during the program’s history.

As long as Jacob Hoewisch can remember, he has wanted to be a farmer. When he was in fourth grade, his dad and uncle combined their dairy herds and built a freestall barn and milking parlor creating Hoewisch Homestead Dairy LLC at Fremont.

The same year his parents decided it was best to homeschool Jacob allowing him to be around to learn and observe what was happening on the farm while also concentrating on his studies. That opened the door for Jacob to begin working toward his goal of joining the family business and eventually taking over. The family has a succession plan in place, and Jacob’s official job is salaried manager of the business.

Since taking over the management of the farm he has added cover crops and transitioned to no-till. As a result, everything on the farm is now green all year.

On the dairy side of things, he experimented with breeding the cows with A1 genetics to beef. In 2018 he started genomically testing the herd using tissue samples and using that information to decide which animals to breed to beef. This led not only to the milking herd to be A2/A2 status but also started the opportunity to direct market beef.

Jacob and Jennifer are active in the Waupaca County Farm Bureau. They are also WFBF state committee members and Jacob served as County YFA chair from 2011 to 2021. Both are also youth group leaders at their church. He is also a part of the Township of Caledonia farmer-led watershed group, and he serves on the Fox Valley Technical College Advisory Committee.

Additional Winners

Matt and Heather Reu were named the Speak Up for Ag Winner, plus they were also named the Wisconsin OYF Runner-Up. The Reu’s farm is near Fort Atkinson, where they have a 5000+ acre grain and beef operation.

Other Finalists

Abby Driscoll of Newton
Mitch and McKenzie Kappelman of Manitowoc
Scott and Katy Kohn of Medford
Ryan and Lacey Wendt of Pound

In addition to the important networking events and the awards portion of the program, OYF finalists participated in ag forums learning hands-on training on Farm Safety and Farm Mapping, which was led by Pittsville Fire Department Chief Jerry Minor.

They also toured the Food + Farm Exploration Center in Plover. After the tour of the facility, they had an opportunity to meet with Riesterer and Schnell, our Premium Sponsor. The tour concluded in the Cooking Lab at the Food + Farm Exploration Center. Our session was led by a representative of the Wisconsin Beef Council, where they prepared an appetizer and meal for their lunch.

The 2024 event was held at Hotel Mead in Wisconsin Rapids. The hosts for this year’s event were Travis and Melissa Marti from Vesper. Next year, the Hoewisch’s will host the Wisconsin OYF Awards Weekend in January 2025, central Wisconsin location TBD.

Wisconsin has finalists for the 2024 National OYF Awards in Ferndale, WA on Feb. 15-18. WI OYF 2023 Runners-Up Brody and Carolyn Stapel of Cedar Grove are finalists for the 2024 National OYF Award.