Waterloo farmer honored at State Fair

Gloria Hafemeister
The Skalitzy family of Waterloo was honored at the Wisconsin State Fair recently for their dedication to the pork industry and showing swine. Family members include Gary and his wife Diann, their daughter Jody and her husband Kyle Joas and their son Reid.

WEST ALLIS - Twenty years after his dad was honored Gary Skalitzky of Waterloo was chosen by the Wisconsin Pork Association as the 2019 inductee into the Wisconsin State Fair Hall of Fame. He was honored in the Swine Barn at Wisconsin State Fair Park in West Allis on Aug. 4.

The award recognizes outstanding individuals who have demonstrated a long-time commitment to the Wisconsin State Fair in the open or junior shows and to developing a quality breeding program.

Gary and his wife Diann, own Chester Home Farms where they raise Chester White hogs, Angus beef cattle and run a cash crop operation in Jefferson County.

Since 2008, Skalitzky has also served as the open breed show swine superintendent at the state fair, where he acts as the liaison between the fair board, open show swine exhibitors and the state's swine industry. And he has served as a director of the WPA for many years.

Gary was born and raised on a dairy and pork farm in Waterloo, where he grew up raising and showing hogs since age seven. He was a  member of the South Side Eagles 4-H and the Waterloo FFA, where he showed Chester White Hogs at local, county, and state shows in Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and many breed shows all over the country.

He is very proud of the fact that breeding stock from their farm has been sold to farms throughout the United States and in many foreign countries.

Gary’s father Earl and Uncle Zeno were some of the founders of the Wisconsin Pork Association and Chester White Swine Registry. Earl was honored over 20 years ago by being inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Gary attended the University of Wisconsin Agricultural Short Course and returned to the family farm where his family held an annual breed sale at the farm each month offering quality Chester White hogs for the buyers. This was a family affair with his dad, uncle, brothers Jim and Randy and families making each sale a success.

In 1973, Gary married Diann Schultz, and she taught school for 38 years and coached.

The couple had two children, Scott and Jodi. Both were active showing pigs through 4-H, FFA and at many other shows. 

During these years, Gary was president of the Jefferson Pork Producers, the Waterloo Schools building committee, coached youth and 4-H basketball, chairman of the MAP (Meat Animal  Project) built the fair sale barn and superintendent at the Jefferson County Fair.

Besides his work on the farm he judged many county, state and breed shows along with being an active member of the WPA; representing  their interests at their Arizona and Washington, D.C. conferences. In the pork association he has been on the board, many committees, grill man, promotions and the scholarship along with the annual conferences.

Jody showed pigs and went to school at River Falls and completed her degree in Upper Iowa University in business. Jodi married Kyle Joas in 2001. They have a son Reid.

Gary says, “Scott went on to Madison College, he completed his career as plant manager for Waste Management and helped on our farm. We lost him to cancer  in 2008.”

He adds, “That’s when we decided to give positive help to the next generation through continuing education for 4-H and FFA, which both Scott and Jodi have received.”

The Skalitzys raised money for the scholarships by each year hosting a Plow Day and in these 10 years the family has given out 55 scholarships and helped 4-H and FFA members that needed a helping hand. The plow day is held the last Saturday in October on the place (part of the farm) where Scott lived.

In 2008, due to a tornado taking the farrowing building, some cross breds were raised but Gary took the position at State Fair to be superintendent so he could continue to see all his fellow breeders. He held this position for many years with Jodi clerking and Diann doing paperwork.

Gary says he feels very humbled to accept this award.

“This is an honor to be recognized with the previous hall of fame inductees for this award,” he states.