It was a fairytale evening as over 300 people attended “Once Upon an Auction” on Sept, 20 at RiverEdge Golf Course in Marshfield to support farmer health and safety.

Since its inception in 1982, the annual Auction of Champions event, hosted by Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation, has raised more than $4 million for agricultural health and safety research at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute’s National Farm Medicine Center. Funds raised at Auction of Champions support important programs at Farm Medicine, including the Wisconsin Rollover Protective Structure rebate program, a gas monitor rebate program, skin cancer screenings, youth agricultural safety and more, according to a press release.
This year’s event raised more than $260,000 for Farm Medicine, including a record $55,200 for the Fund-a-Need auction supporting a Mental Health First Aid program for local farmers.

Mental Health First Aid through Farm Medicine will offer training for farm communities to recognize, react to and prevent mental health emergencies. This program will provide education on risk factors and warning signs for a range of mental health issues, as well as a five-step action plan to help people in crisis connect with appropriate professional help.

The enthusiastic auction crowd grew silent as Brad Guse, Auction of Champions committee chair, and Josie Rudolphi, associate research scientist at Farm Medicine, shared the impact the Mental Health First Aid program will have in Central and Northern Wisconsin communities and beyond during the Fund-a-Need presentation.

“We believe the power in this program is bringing the community together,” Rudolphi said. “Farmers are in crisis, and training the community in mental health first aid will see that our farmers and our friends get the support they need.”

“I am always amazed by the generosity that this community shows for the Auction of Champions and the National Farm Medicine Center,” said Guse. “The creation of a mental health first aid program is critical with the current stress on farmers. Our supporters saw that and came through in a big way for the Fund-a-Need!”

Along with the record-breaking Fund-a-Need auction, this year’s live and silent auctions were also popular with attendees. Trips to Costa Rica, Ireland and New York City, as well as jewelry and meat raffles, Packers tickets, furniture and more were popular items for both the number of bids and bid prices. The “Champions Against Hunger” live auction, a meat package donated to the highest bidder’s charity of choice, raised $6,000 alone for Farm Medicine.

Event sponsors, including presenting sponsor Miron Construction, also contributed to the event’s success.

“Auction of Champions continues to highlight champions in the community, champions in giving and champions to the agricultural industry,” said Tiffany Halan, director of Foundation operations, Marshfield Clinic Health System Foundation. “Thanks to all of our attendees, sponsors, committee members and volunteers for their generosity and giving spirit.”

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