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Marinette County Farm Couple Wins 67th State OYF Award
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 01/27/2020

A northeastern Wisconsin dairy farm couple has been named the winners of the 2020 Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Award. Philip and Laura Finger of Oconto earned the title in Chippewa Falls on Saturday night after competing against five other finalists.

Phil is the fifth generation on the farm, which has been in his family for nearly 150 years. They took ownership of the operation in 2009, but his parents are still actively involved with the farm on a daily basis. The Fingers currently milk over 500 cows and grow 1,400 acres of crops, including corn silage, grain, alfalfa, rye and winter wheat.

"We were honored to just be nominated for the award and overwhelmed to actually become the top winner," Phil told Wisconsin Ag Connection. "All the contestants were all so passionate about their animals and good stewards of their land. We definitely made some life long friends and we're extremely excited to represent the other farmers across Wisconsin and the nation through the OYF program."

Both Phil and Laura have dairy science degrees, with his being from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Laura with Iowa State University. The couple also has four children between the ages of 6 to 18 and they all play an active role with farm chores.

Also on Saturday, Katy Schultz from Fox Lake was named first runner-up in the OYF competition and received the Speak Up for Agriculture award. Jeremy and Heather Natzke, Greenleaf, were second runners-up.

Other finalists in the competition were Kelly & Rachel Fruit, Viola; JJ & Chase Pagel, Kewaunee; and Laura & Tyler Raatz, Cecil.

Meanwhile, last year's state winner, Adam and Chrissy Seibel of Bloomer, were recently named top 10 finalists for the National OYF competition, which is slated for February 6-9 in Connecticut. Wisconsin has had 18 national winners in its six-decade history of the program.

The Wisconsin OYF program was developed in 1954 to recognize the younger generation of successful agriculturists in the state. Winners are selected based on progress in their agricultural career, soil and water conservation and contributions to community, state and nation.

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