News: Clark County FFA (Awards - 25 Sep 2011)


Contact: Verna Quicker



Surnames: Bendixen, Penterman, Meissner, Stieglitz


----Source: Marshfield News Herald (Marshfield, WI) 10/12/2011


The Clark County University of Wisconsin-Extension honored the 2011 Outstanding Young Farmer for Clark County at a luncheon held Sept. 25 at the Munson Bridge Winery.

Maria Bendixen, Clark County dairy and livestock agent, presented awards to the three outstanding young farmer nominees: Sander and Amy Penterman, Jeremy and Lindsay Meissner and Nick and Danae Stieglitz. The nominees were judged on progress in agriculture career, soil and water conservation and community involvement.

Sander and Amy Penterman, Dutch Dairy LLC, won the outstanding young farmer award and will compete in January at the state level in Eau Claire. All the nominees would be competitive at the state level. Their commitment to the communities they live in and theirperformance as agriculturalists is impressive.

The Penterman farm, or Dutch Dairy, as it is better known, is operated by Sander and his brother Rolf with 850 cows and 500 heifers. The heifers are raised off the farm once they reach 6 months in age. The cows produce an average of 26,000 pounds of milk with a 3.1 protein and 3.8 fat test with no BST. Milk quality is a priority for the farm and the average SCC is 200 on digested solids bedding. Reproduction is watched closely and the conception rate is 20 percent. They use automatic scrapers to keep the cows clean, and the cows have access to an automatic cow brush to increase comfort. Stalls are deep beds, and there is a fresh cow area with a bedded pack. They have calf hutches and a calf barn for their young stock and also have a dry cow barn. The farm was involved in a recent UW study on antibiotic resistance in mastitis causing bacteria. They are very interested in improving knowledge for the industry as a whole and looking for ways to improve the operation. They hire an intern every year to give experience. Fostering the next generation of farmers is important to Sander.

The Petermans are interested in preserving productive farmland for future generations, and with that in mind, they have a comprehensive nutrient management plan that they follow to ensure that soil fertility is maintained and to control phosphorus levels in the soil. They also rotate their crops on a 3- to 4-year rotation to prevent soil-born plant diseases. They like to use cover crops on corn silage acres because the residue is minimal. This year, they are trying tillage radish as a cover crop. They have used winter wheat in the past. They use conventional tillage, and have grass waterways. For the feed bunkers, they have a leachate system for runoff control. The current pit has 190 days of storage, and they plan to increase its size and line it with concrete next year.

They are active members of the Thorp FFA Alumni, and this year they donated land for a corn maze. Their children are 4-H members of the Reseburg Ramblers 4-H club. They allow other kids from the 4-H club to show cattle from their farm and teach them about farming. They are members of the Holstein Association and have registered cattle on the farm. As a member of PDPW, Sander participates in the educational meetings they offer and sends his employees to their trainings. He also attends the PDPW Annual Conference in March. He is also a member of DBA. In 2009, they hosted the county dairy breakfast and Chick Days which is an annual gathering of farm women.

Jeremy and Lindsay Meissner of Norm-E-Lane Farm were nominated. Jeremy's grandparents, Norm and Elaine Meissner, spent their farming lifetime building a legacy fostered by their children and passed on to them as their grandchildren. Jeremy and Lindsay are UW-River Fall graduates with Jeremy having an agriculture business degree and Lindsay an agriculture education degree. They farm in partnership with Jeremy's parents, Tammy and David Meissner, his aunt and uncle, Jerry and Diane Meissner, and his cousins Josh and Sheri Meissner. They are very good record keepers and keep financial records, production records, employee records, crop records, reproduction records and others. Monthly meetings are held with the co-owners and the local banker, nutritionist, etc., to discuss and analyze records. Farm decisions are made collectively, and more meetings are held if needed.

They have implemented best management practices to minimize soil movement. They use erosion control efforts such as crop rotation and maintaining grass cover near waterways. They have a methane digester where cow manure is collected and heated in the digester tank, which creates methane gas. This biogas fuels a large engine to produce renewable electricity. Odor is nearly eliminated, and weed seeds and pathogens are killed during the digestion process, thus reducing the need for herbicides and pesticides on the farm. Also, a useful byproduct is bedding that can be used on their dairy. The digester generates about 500 kilowatts of renewable energy, capable of powering 330 homes.

Jeremy was very active in the Marshfield FFA and learned many of the logistics of farming through the SAE program. His family has extensive involvement with Marshfield Clinic which goes back to 1982, when his grandpa Norm worked on the very first Auction of Champions. The auction was held on the farm in 2001. During the years it has raised $2 million to support the National Farm Medicine Center, which focuses on evolving issues in agriculture health andsafety. Lindsay works as an agricultural education instructor for the School District of Greenwood. Jeremy has served on their church council, they both have volunteered at Marshfield's Rotary's Winter Wonderland and Lindsay is serving as vice president of the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Educators.

Nick and Danae Stieglitz of Stieglitz Dairy LLC were nominated. Nick and Danae both grew up on dairy farms, and Nick attended the UW-Madison short course after high school as preparation for a partnership in the family farm. Danae became a certified veterinary technician and now uses those skills on the farm. They currently milk 340 cows, but have a total of 750 dairy stock on the farm. Nick and Danae have a goal of creating a great working environment on the farm, while trying to strengthen the dairy business in the community and creating a strong operation to pass onto their children if they want to farm. Danae would like to see the farm diversify by creating and selling dairy products from the farm to the consumer.

Their reproduction and cull rate on the farm has caused an overflow of heifers on the farm. To overcome this challenge they have started to sell some extra replacements that they have raised. Employee management is an important part of the operation, and Nick and Danae try to make sure that their employees are happy by offering health insurance, pay incentives and treating them like family.

Nick and Danae farm with Nick's parents, Wes and Jody, and his brothers Louie and Eric. They also have four part-time and four full-time employees on the farm. They milk 370 cows and run 1,000 acres of land. They use Dairy Comp for all their cow records and now utilize the computer software program Quick Books to monitor their financial performance. Recently, they added a new manure pit that has 14-month storage with their 340 herd size now, and they have plans to expand in the future.

The Stieglitzes update their 590 nutrient management plan each year to allocate their manure in the most effective and environmentally friendly way possible. They utilize grass waterways to protect surface water in the area. They implement spring tillage on more erodable land and have installed tile line in the wetter fields. They use chisel plowing instead of moldboard plowing to conserve the soil.

Nick and Danae are members of the Greenwood FFA Alumni. Nick is a delegate for Accelerated Genetics. Nick enjoys working with and helping out new producers in the area. Danae is a member of the Learn-A-Lot Preschool and serves as the secretary.

Call the Clark County UW-Extension office 715-743-5121 to nominate a young farmer for the 2012 award.



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