(WFRV) – Two Wisconsin couples brought home a national honor from the National Outstanding Young Farmers (OYF) Awards Congress in Hilton Head Island, SC.

The class of 2021 and 2022 were recognized for their contributions to the industry of agriculture.

The OYF program began in 1954 as a National Priority program for the US Jaycees. Wisconsin’s first winner was named in 1952 and 66 state programs have been held since. Wisconsin has had winners on the national level, 19 in the national program’s 66-year history including 10 in the last 20 years.

According to the organizers, today’s farmer is an entrepreneur in a complex agribusiness. He or she must understand all aspects of farming, including computers, farm implements, and other equipment used in today’s operations. He or she must also comprehend the complexities of nutrients and chemicals to raise the high volume and quality crops demanded by consumers worldwide while preserving and protecting the environment.

Two Wisconsin families were recognized as such as national OYF winners – in the Class of 2021 Phil and Laura Finger of Oconto, WI, and in the Class of 2022 Joe and Ashley Dudkiewicz of Crivitz, WI.

Phil and Laura Finger both hold degrees in Dairy Science, and operate a dairy farm while growing alfalfa, corn, and soybeans on their 5th generation farm. Finger Family Farms has a goal of 7lbs of fat per cow, per day, and uses technology to maximize its sustainability and conservation efforts.

Joe and Ashely Dudkiewicz grow row crops and cattle on 1,500+ acres, and a portion of their acreage was bought in 1927 by Joe’s great grandfather. His deep roots in agriculture stem from his early childhood, leading him to earn an associate’s degree in Farm Business and return home to the farm. Ashley focuses on cattle management, bookkeeping, and marketing, and has expanded its business locally, by selling farm products directly to consumers.

In 2023, the National OYF Awards Congress will be held in Appleton, WI. For more information or to view a full list of past Wisconsin winners, visit http://www.wi-oyf.org/