Moving the Farm Aid festival to a new location around the country gives us a chance to meet with a wide variety of family farmers. This year’s festival, held in Wisconsin, was no different. While the gear was still being unpacked on-stage at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre, powerful events like Forward From Here: Wisconsin Profiles in Resilience & Collective Power, a tractorcade and three farm tours brought together farmers and activists from around the state and across the country.
In addition, our readers introduced us to dozens more farmers through our Farmer Hero nomination form, and I’m bringing you a few of those submissions below. You’ll see a few words pop up again and again in these entries: hard work and passion. Read on to get inspired like I am.
Ken Bates nominated Dani Boerson (and her husband Mat) and when I let Ken know I was publishing this story, he said he was on his way to help dig carrots at their farm. Farmer Heroes like Dani and Matt deserve friends like Ken!
Dani and her husband Mat run Boerson Farm, an organic farm in Green Lake, Wisconsin. They sell their produce, eggs, and beef at local farmers’ markets. She inspires me with her work ethic and passion. The Green Lake Farmers’ Market was her idea and she worked hard to make it happen. It now operates outdoors in the summer, and indoors for three months in the winter.
Not only does Dani farm, she is parent to two sons, a pilot, and plays in the Ripon College Jazz Band as a community member. I know her dedication because I volunteer at the farm two days a week. She is at it from 7:30 a.m. until 10:30 p.m. Our community has changed because of her and Mat. Without them we would not see the farm to table, market, our organic farming in our area. Plus she does this with a smile on her face and dirt on her hands.
Tammy & Dan Goessl
Jessica Dolinsky wrote in with this moving tribute to her parents, Tammy and Dan Goessl:
I’d like to nominate both Tammy and Dan Goessl, my mom and dad, as a Farmer Hero. They have built up and managed our 3rd/4th generation family dairy farm that started in 1884. I admire everything that they do. To me, they are CEO’s, business managers, accountants, agronomists, veterinarians, nutritionists, mechanics….and the list goes on.
I’ve watched them go through great times in the dairy industry, and now, watching them manage everything with record low milk prices. I’ve learned a lot from them, but the one thing they taught me and I admire them most for, is their ability to work hard for what they have. Their commitment and hard work has been there 24/7 for 40+ years, without “days off” or “weekends.”
I love them and they will always be my farmer hero.
Julie Vilney nominated Ed Klitzke without telling him and I hope he is proud to be recognized as a Farmer Hero.
Ed has been the love of my life for 33 years. He has been running the family farm most of his life. Up until 20 years ago it was a small dairy farm milking 100 to 150 cows. The bottom fell out of the milk prices and it was go big or get out. So Ed reluctantly sold the herd and moved on to crop farming and beef. Eight years ago he lost his 100-year old barn in a tornado. Thankfully there were no cattle inside. Though a lot of farm equipment stored inside was heavily damaged.
This past winter was rough on the farm with the polar vortex and a wet cold spring. Ed lost a few beef calves that got sick from the extreme conditions. But even in these tough times Ed pushes on because he loves his work 24/7 and he takes great pride in his farm and hard work and it shows on his farm and land nestled in the hills of New Glarus, Wisconsin!
He works hard in the worst of conditions…..driving rain, blizzards and extreme heat! And at the end of the day he sits back and looks out at his crops and cattle with great pride. Ed also has a passion for keeping his line up of John Deere and Farmall tractors looking pretty and the envy of many. He does some custom painting and restoration of tractors when crops are done and he gets all of that business by word of mouth! Need more be said?!
Michelle Janes nominated her son-in-law, Justin Morton, and it sure looks like the farming tradition will carry on into future generations with this family.
Justin is a dairy farmer, he grow up on the farm with his dad, whom he lost six years ago. With his high passion for farming and making his father proud he has worked so hard to keep it going. Justin inspired me every day with his hard work, dedication to his family, and friends. I haven’t known him long, but is now a part of the family, my son-in-law, and seeing him living his dream, and the passion he has for his animals and the people around him is amazing.
Whether his day is going good or bad, he always has a smile on his face, and if there is a calf to be born look out he is just beaming from head to toe with excitement. It just makes me so proud to know a person with that much heart. I could not be more proud of him, and so glad to have him apart of my family.
We’ll be featuring more of your Farmer Heroes soon, so go ahead and tell us about the family farmers who inspire you.