February 2, 2018
By Ed Byrne
The Brillion News
WATERTOWN – Andy Fisher, a partner in the Riverside Dairy farm between Clarks Mills and Collins, is Wisconsin’s Outstanding Young Farmer for 2018.
The honor was announced Saturday at a banquet in Watertown, where Fisher was chosen over three other finalists.
Now, Fisher’s name goes into the hat for the National Outstanding Young Farmer (OYF) competition. Wisconsin has been choosing an Outstanding Young Farmer for 65 years, and a Wisconsin OYF winner has earned national honors 17 times.
The honor was special for Fisher because his grandparents, Lawrence and Orabelle Fisher, were chosen for the very first Wisconsin Outstanding Young Farmer Award in 1952.
Lawrence died in 1990, but Orabelle survives and was in Watertown on Saturday when the 2018 award was given to Andy.
“I was nominated by our UW-Extension agent, Scott Gunderson,” Andy said. “He said he felt I would be a great candidate, and out of respect for Scott, I felt this was what I needed to do.”
The award is based on three weighted criteria: progress in an agriculture career (50 percent value), soil and water conservation practices (25 percent) and constructions to the community, state or nation (25 percent).
Andy has farming in his nature.
“I was born and raised on my family’s dairy farm, just south of Valders,” he said. “I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t enjoy farming. Sometimes people will say ‘farming is in your blood’ and I can testify to that. It’s the case for me and I enjoy all aspects of it.”
When Andy graduated from Valders High School, his parents gave him some advice: Try something else for a career.
“I was an automotive technician for about three years, but during that time I was still milking cows in the morning and milking cows when I got home,” Andy said. “Finally I decided to go into farming, because I was just delaying the inevitable.”
He can still fix cars, though, and said being an auto mechanic taught him how to deal with customers – a great lesson.
In high school, Andy was in Future Farmers of America (FFA) and was president of the Valders chapter in his senior year.
“I think FFA now is so much more important than it was when I was in high school and before that with my dad’s generation, because years ago there were so many farms and so many opportunities to get into farming,” Andy said. “To spark interest in young people or get them involved in agriculture, I think FFA is crucial now.”
There are so many career options related to farming these days, and FFA serves as the gateway for exploring them.
Please see the complete story in the February 1, 2018 edition of The Brillion News.