Travis and Melissa Marti named 2023 WI Outstanding Young Farmers

Wisconsin State Farmer
Travis & Melissa Marti of Vesper, Wis., were named the 2023 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmers.

Travis and Melissa Marti of Vesper, Wis., were selected as the 2023 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmersduring the 69th Annual Awards Weekend Jan. 27-28.

When Travis Marti first joined the farming operation, the family milked 160 cows and had 150 replacementanimals. Today those numbers of blossomed to 535 milking cows and 450 replacements. Milk productionhas also increased, with the rolling herd average rising to 30,600 pounds of milk.

Marti credits dedicated employees and ag professionals for helping him through the farm’s growing pains. Much credit is given to his grandpa and Dad for sharing their knowledge and support over the years as he and wife Melissa gradually assumed ownership of the farm. Today the own 614 acres and rent an additional 800 acres.

The family has remained progressive over the years, with the animals benefitting from new technologies, including a BouMatic activity and location system that helps track milk weights, heat detection, rumination, eating time and cow health. A robotic calf feeder and robotic feed pusher further increase farm efficiency.

The milking herd has always been the focus of the family’s business, with Travis adhering to his father's advice: “Take care of the cows and they will take care of you.”

Cedar Grove farmers, Brody and Carolyn Stapel were named first runner-up in the competition. The Stapel's milk 260 cows in a double-eight parlor, raise their own young stock and farm about 960 acres. Last year they purchased 600head of Angus beef cattle and formed Hand Creek Cattle.

Placing second was Mark and Vanna Leichtfuss of Two Rivers, Wis. The couple milk 230 Registered Holstein and Ayreshire cows raise 200 young stock.

Michael and Courtney Gutschenritter, were awarded the “Speak Up for Ag Award”. The couple specialize in pasture-raised eggs, lamb and wool products, custom grazing and farmer-to-farmer education.

2023 Outstanding Young Farmer winners Travis & Melissa Marti, far left, are joined by finalists, from left, Brody & Carolyn Stapel, Mark & Vanna Leichtfuss, Michael & Courtney Gutschenritter.

Other finalists include Bryan and Maria Baranek, Crivitz, Wis.; Adam and Melissa Baumann, Marathon, Wis.; Brady and Lynsey Broedlow, Helenville, Wis.; and Tristan and Megan Swartz, Gilman, Wis.

Judges for the event included Aerica Bjurstrom, Regional Dairy Educator for the UW-Madison Division ofExtension for Brown, Door and Kewaunee County, Lloyd Holterman, Rosy-Lane Holsteins, WI OYF Winner 1993 and National OYF Winner 1994 and Roger Sinkula, ag lender, Nicolet Bank.The Outstanding Young Farmer Program began in 1954 as a National Program for theUS Jaycees. Wisconsin’s first winner was named in 1952 and 69 state programs havebeen held since. Wisconsin has had 21 national winners during the program’s history.Visit to learn more or submit a nomination or an application form.