Manitowoc County farmer wins state Outstanding Young Farmer of the Year

Wisconsin State Farmer

WATERTOWN - An eastern Wisconsin dairy producer has been named the winner of the 2018 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award. Andy Fisher of Reedsville earned the title in Watertown on Jan. 27 after competing against three other finalists.

Fisher is a partner of Riverside Dairy, LLC, a 410-cow dairy operation in Manitowoc County, where he grows 750 acres of corn and alfalfa. His two young sons, ages 11 and 13, also have daily responsibilities on the farm.

Finalists for Outstanding Young Farmer tour Rosy Lane Holsteins in Watertown on Jan. 27. Lloyd Holterman (center in red hat) talks to the group about herd management.

"In times like these where milk prices could be better, we strive for quality and not just quantity in terms of milk production," Fisher told Wisconsin Ag Connection. "We're always taking measures to get our milk fat and protein components up and somatic cell counts down. I also sell a fair number of dairy cows to other farmers to generate additional revenue."

Workers at Rosy Lane Holsteins clean udders for milking in the double - 12 parallel milking parlor at Rosy Lane Holsteins, Watertown. Lights shining on the cows' udders helps workers see if the teats are clean.

Andy serves on the council of his local church, where he is also an elder. He is a member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the Valders FFA Alumni, NorthStar Cooperative and a charter member of the Mid-Lake Rustic Antique Tractor Club.

And to make the honor even more special, Fisher recently discovered that his grandparents, Lawrence and Orabelle Fischer, were the very first winners of the OYF award in 1952. Orral is now 99-years old and was present to see her grandson accept the award.

"She will turn 100 in March and is still a big advocate for agriculture," he noted. "She's always asking about what's new on the farm and wants to know how things are going."

Fisher was also presented with the OYF's Speak Up for Agriculture award over the weekend.

Justin and Darci Daniels from Hixton were named first runners-up for the OYF competition. They are Jackson County dairy producers who milk 53 cows and farm over 100 acres of cropland.

Weston Daniels, 2, son of Outstanding Young Farmers finalists Justin and Darci Daniels of Jackson County, tosses feed to cows in the freestall barn at Rosy Lane Holsteins, Watertown, during a tour on Jan. 27.

Other finalists in the competition included Justin and Kotti Hintz, Ogdensburg; and Mike Prochnow, Menomonie.

Meanwhile, last year's state winners, Sam and Jennifer Zimmermann of Ringle, were recently named top 10 finalists for the National OYF competition, which is slated for Feb. 14-18 in Sacramento, California.

Wisconsin has had 18 national winners in its six-decade history of the program.

The Wisconsin OYF program was developed in 1954 to recognize the younger generation of successful agriculturists in the state. Winners are selected based on progress in their agricultural career, soil and water conservation and contributions to community, state and nation.

The OYF finalists toured Rosy Lane Holsteins, in Watertown, on Jan. 27.