Today’s agribusinesses are not only working tirelessly to feed the world, but it’s not uncommon to see farmers in your area volunteering in the community, such as taking on a leadership role or working at the county fair. The Outstanding Young Farmer Program believes it’s essential to recognize farmers for their work both on and off the farm.
Cindy Matton is a head committee member with the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Program. The application period is open now.
The program is looking for people between the ages of 21 and 39. Applicants must have two-thirds of their income come from farming, and they must be involved in the community. Matton says a clear winner portrays passion.
“Our farmers are very humble and do not feel they should be recognized for this type of work, and that’s why we’re here,” she says. “We’re trying to help self promote them and give them some recognition and some time for people to realize all of the abilities and things that they do for their own communities.”
All operations are welcome into the program: dairies, beef operations, chicken farmers, apple orchards and potato farmers are just a few of the past winners. Matton adds that she’d like to see honey operations or cranberry growers in the applicant pool.
The Outstanding Young Farmer Program began in 1954 as a National Priority program for the U.S. Jaycees. Wisconsin’s first winner was named in 1952 and 67 state programs have been held since. Wisconsin has had 19 winners on the national level over the years.
The National Outstanding Young Farmer Program in February will be held in Appleton. If folks are interested in attending or sponsoring the program — reach out to Wisconsin OYF.