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Legendary Farm Broadcaster Les Leonard Passes
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 02/19/2016

Wisconsin has lost one of its very first farm broadcasters. Lesley (Les) Leonard, 92, died Wednesday in Marshfield.

As an employee of the Milwaukee Stockyards in 1953, Les began broadcasting the Milwaukee Livestock Market Report. He later became farm director for WISC-TV in Madison, and hosted that station's noon agricultural show, while also establishing a state-wide radio market report for Equity Co-op Livestock Sales. In 1976, Leonard moved to Marshfield to start the Goetz Farm Radio Network, which began with just six Wisconsin radio stations. The network grew to dozens of stations throughout the Midwest, providing daily programming and special reports from events like World Dairy Expo and Farm Progress Days.

In the 1980s, Leonard created and fostered the 'Auction of Champions,' an annual event which sells off the Grand Champion Steer of the Central Wisconsin State Fair. To this day, the proceeds of the sale are designated to the National Farm Medicine Center in Marshfield.

Les has received numerous citations for his broadcasting efforts and service to Wisconsin agriculture, including honors from the Wisconsin Agri-Business Council and the Wisconsin Cattleman's Association. He is an inductee of the Wisconsin Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Funeral services for Les Leonard will be at 11:00 a.m. Monday at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Marshfield.

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