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Ulnesses Earn Top Honors at National NOFA Congress
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/13/2017

Wisconsin's candidates for the National Outstanding Farmer of America Award came home as winners this past weekend. Mark and Angie Ulness of Valders, who earned top honors at the state level last year, were one of the top four national winners during the competition held in Greenville, South Carolina. Nine other farm couples from around the country also competed for the award.

Sponsored by the Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer program, Foremost Farms, CP Feeds LLC and Nutrition Professionals Inc., the Ulnesses went through an extensive interview and testing process over the weekend.

The Manitowoc County farm couple began their operation after purchasing the family farm from Mark's mother in 2002--the same year they were married. At that time, Angie worked for the Holstein Association as a regional field representative, but joined the operation full-time three years later. Owners of Ragnar Holsteins, they milk 80 Registered Holsteins and farm about 200 acres.

The Ulnesses were honored as the Holstein Association's Distinguished Young Holstein Breeders of the Year in 2008. And the farm has earned the organization's Progressive Breeder Award for 19 of the past 20 years.

The couple has four children. Angie is also involved with the local 4-H program as a dairy leader and a coach for the county Jr. Holstein Association's dairy bowl team.

The three other national winners named during the weekend were from Mississippi, Georgia and Illinois. The candidates were judged on the progress in their agricultural career, soil and water conservation practices and contributions to their community, state and nation.

The Ulnesses are Wisconsin's 18th national winner since the program began in 1955.

Meanwhile, this year's top OYF state winners, Sam and Jennifer Zimmermann of Ringle, will also compete for the honor during next year's national competition in Sacramento, California.

Formerly known as the Jaycees Outstanding Young Farmer Congress, the NOFA program is the oldest farmer recognition program in America.

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