Dodge County couple wins WI Outstanding Young Farmer award
Sixth generation dairy farmers Kyle and Rachel Zwieg of Ixonia were named the winners of the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award during the 68th Annual WI Outstanding Young Farmer Awards Weekend held Jan. 21-22 in Neenah.
The Zwiegs were selected from a field of five farm couple finalists that were interviewed and evaluated by a panel of judges over the course of the event.
The Dodge County couple runs a 70-cow dairy operation that most recently belonged to Kyle's father. The farm has been in the family for 166 years. In order to remain viable into the future while maintaining top efficiency and cow comfort without expanding animal numbers, Kyle says they installed robotic milking equipment in late 2020.
Kyle attributes his success to his family and the many mentors who have helped him along they way in helping to shape his ag career, encourage his thirst for knowledge and hone his farming and business skills.
“I didn’t do this alone, and I am grateful to my family and many mentors along the way, who continue to help me,” Kyle Zwieg said.
The Zwiegs also impressed judges with their commitment to conservation by implementing a no-till cropping system on all of the farm's tillable acres back in 2010. The family has also tapped innovative practices such as aerial seeding of cover crops into standing corn and soybeans. The Zwiegs also participate in their local, farmer-led watershed group in Dodge County.
The couple have three children, Theodore, Landon and Logan.
Today’s farmer is an entrepreneur in a complex agribusiness,” said Cindy Matton, Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer organization in a news release. “Farmers must understand all aspects of farming and business, as well as be involved in their community. It’s not only fitting for farmers to be honored for their achievements—it’s essential. Congratulations to all our finalists. You are making a difference.”
Mike and Gina Redetzke of Colby were named runners-up. The couple custom raises heifers for area dairy farms and runs a small grass-fed beef herd.
Barneveld dairy farmers Dylan and Bryanna Handel were awarded the "Speak Up for Ag Award".
Other finalists include: Keith and Stephanie Abts, New Franken; Matt and Sara Hintz, Amherst; Ryan and Megan Prellwitz, Ripon.
The Zwiegs will be nominated to attend the February 2023 national OYF Awards Congress, which will be held in Appleton, WI.
The 2020 OYF state winners, Phil and Laura Finger, Oconto, nd Joe and Ashley Dudkiewicz of Crivitz, 2021 OYR runners up, were selected as national finalists for the 2021 National OYF, which will be held in Hilton Head Island, SC in early February 2022. The National OYF event will be recognizing the finalists from both 2021 and 2022 due to the cancellation of last year’s event.
Judges for this year's event were Donald Adams, Scott Reuss and Angie Ulness.