Leaving a legacy in agriculture as the Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement winner

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
Marathon County farmers, Ryan and Lindsey Prahl, were selected as the winners of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement Award at the organization's 99th Annual Meeting on Dec. 2.

WISCONSIN DELLS - There is no greater passion than farming for Ryan Prahl of Marathon county. So winning the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmer and Agriculturist Achievement Award on Dec. 2 with his wife Lindsey was humbling. 

The Farm Bureau’s Achievement Award is a contest that recognizes farmers between the ages of 18 and 35, who have excelled in their farming career, understand current issues affecting agriculture and have shown leadership and involvement in Farm Bureau and other civic organizations.

"I really want to leave a legacy for my children, that they can do something in ag," said Ryan. 

The Prahls are fifth generation dairy farmers in rural Wausau in Marathon County. Together the couple juggles the dairy and an emerging custom business. They have three children Lydia, Warren and Audrey. 

The Prahl farm consists of 150 dairy cows where they focus on the cows and their comfort, explained Lindsey. 

"We raise our calves up to about four to six months of age and then have a heifer grower that we job them out to," said Lindsey. "We bring them back as bred heifers, put them in the facility and raise them and harvest milk from the cows."

The couple is involved with the St. John’s Lutheran Church and school in Easton. In their free time, Ryan and Lindsey enjoy volunteering for agricultural organizations. They are members of the Badger 4-H Club and active members of the Genex and Foremost Cooperatives.

Receiving the award means a lot to Ryan because he knows he has "peers out there that are worth just as much as I am and wouldn't apply for the award," Ryan said. "I want them to know they're just as good as I am."

For the Prahls, the importance of the achievement award comes from the standpoint of the challenges in the dairy industry of finding young producers that want to start out and farm on their own. 

"I still value helping the next generation get there, whether it's family or not," said Ryan. "If you can't do something for your fellow man, you've lost the meaning of life. If I can do something to help another farmer, I'll be there to do it."

The Prahls will compete at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 2019 Annual Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, Rural Mutual Insurance Company provides a free financial plan, FABICK Equipment, Inc., provides 40 hours use of a FABICK skid-steer loader and the winner is invited to the GROWMARK, Inc., annual meeting in August.

The other finalists were Josh and Ashley Claussen from Brown County; Dustin and Ashley Ellis from Buffalo County; and Brian Douglas from Dunn County.