The evening of Jan. 27 was a special one for the Fisher family. Andy Fisher of Reedsville had been named a finalist for 2018 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer honors, and his two sons, his mother, his sister and his grandmother were all in Watertown for the announcement of this year’s winner.
Fisher’s grandmother, Orabelle Fisher, received the honor of being Wisconsin’s very first Outstanding Young Farmer in 1952. It was something she shared with her husband, Lawrence, on their Holstein farm in Valders.
“There’s a lot of talent in here,” the nearly 100-year-old past winner said.
The family waited to hear who would be named this year’s winner, and it was finally announced that another Fisher would be joining the Outstanding Young Farmer ranks in Wisconsin.
“I’m humbled to receive this award and to accept it for Manitowoc County,” Fisher said. “It is a great opportunity.”
Fisher grew up on his family’s dairy farm, learning the ropes from his dad and his brother. During his high school years, he continued to work part time on a relative’s farm. And although he did not have the opportunity to take over his family’s farm, it was obvious that farming was in Fisher’s heart.
At the age of 25, Fisher went into dairy farming full time, forming a partnership with his ex-wife and former in-laws called Riverside Dairy LLC. His former in-laws served as great role models, and Fisher credits them for allowing him to provide “sweat equity” as he built his net worth.
Fisher’s sons, Cole, 13, and Austin, 11, also play important roles on the dairy farm. The farm’s employees are great assets, too, Fisher said.
Fisher’s Reedsville farm includes a 400-cow dairy herd and youngstock, as well as 600 acres that he crops to raise feed for his cows. While his primary focus is on the cows, Fisher also takes special interest in crops and machinery.
One especially proud moment for Fisher was when his Riverside Dairy herd reached 103 pounds per cow without rBST and was later recognized by the Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council with a gold rating for reproductive efficiency, fertility and well-implemented management procedures.
Outside of his work on the farm, Fisher is involved with his church and serves as chairman of the board of spiritual affairs, an elder on the church council and an usher. He is also active in the Mid-Lakes Rustic Iron Antique Tractor Club and Thresheree and is a member of North Star Cooperative/Accelerated Genetics as a delegate, Eastern Wisconsin DHIA, County Visions Cooperative and Land O’Lakes Cooperative.
“It’s very nice to see him win,” his grandmother said. “He works very hard.”
Fisher will be nominated to attend the National Outstanding Young Farmer ceremony in Moline, Ill., in February 2019.
Finalists Justin and Darci Daniels of Hixton were named first runners-up for the 2018 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer. The Jackson County couple also received the Speak Up for Agriculture Award, sponsored by The Country Today.
The Danielses currently milk 40 Holsteins and 13 Brown Swiss. They, too, were born and raised on dairy farms and are active in their communities.
This year’s other finalists included Justin and Kotti Huntz of Ogdensburg, Waupaca County, and Michael Prochnow of Menomonie, Dunn County.
Also recognized at the program Saturday night were Lloyd A. and Rose Holterman and Lloyd W. and Daphne Holterman. Lloyd and Rose were recognized for the 50th anniversary of their Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award; Lloyd and Daphne were recognized for the 25th anniversary of their Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer award.
The Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Awards Weekend included many learning opportunities for the finalists and past participants. Wisconsin’s Outstanding Young Farmer program has seen 18 state winners move on to the national program to win, including eight national winners from Wisconsin in the last 16 years.