National Outstanding Young Farmers chosen from diverse agriculture backgrounds
An Iowa couple is one of the four top winners in the National Outstanding Young Farmer (NOYF) competition. Sixth generation farmer Michael Jackson of Oskaloosa tells Brownfield he uses conservation practices to preserve the land in case one of his three children chooses to follow in his footsteps.
“That doesn’t happen overnight,” Jackson said, following the announcement that he and his wife were one of the top four winners, “so we have to really be thinking about the next generation, not about Mary Beth and I.”
Jackson’s wife Mary Beth says all three children show an interest in agriculture by asking for bottle calves to raise.
“I think that’s humbling and very wonderful that our kids are wanting to have these animals and wanting to take care of them,” she told Brownfield Ag News, “instead of us saying ‘this is something you need to do,’ so it’s just wonderful that they’re wanting to do it on their own.”
Also among the top four winning NOYF couples are Doug and Maria Bichler of Linton, North Dakota; Brandon and Ashley Bonk of Kent County, Delaware and Will and Heather Cabe of Redhill, Georgia.
The four winners are chosen based on the innovation they use on their farms as well as their contributions to conservation and to their communities. They’re selected from a field of ten finalist couples including Russell and Karli Schiermeir of Idaho; Stuart and Tracy Goble of Illinois; Ned and Olga Gaine of New Jersey; Matthew and Jennifer Lansford of New Mexico; Brooks and Heather Barnes of North Carolina and Adam and Chrissy Seibel of Wisconsin.
The ten couples’ enterprises range from organic dairying to livestock to row crops to tobacco to potatoes and even oysters.
Brownfield interviewed the couples at the NOYF Awards Congress in Westbrook, Connecticut.