VALDERS (WKOW) -- Last January Mark and Angie Ulness of Valders were selected the 2016 winners of Wisconsin's Outstanding Young Farmer award.
"There's a 60 year history of award winners and they're all obviously accomplished farmers and you know, so it's prestigious to be a part of that list," Mark said.
Mark and Angie both graduated from UW-Madison with Dairy Science degrees and shared the dream of farming. They have a herd of 76 registered Holsteins and about 120 young stock. Along with farm and family responsibilities, this young couple also manages to give back to the community.
"We're also heavily involved with Junior Holstein Association and the dairy youth of the county, so what we like to do is try to instill some passion and just give the kids the opportunities in agriculture that there are and show them the possibilities," Angie said.
Criteria for the award are based on community involvement, conservation, land stewardship, and progress in an agricultural career. For the Ulnesses it seems like destiny.
"For Mark and I to win the award, I guess it goes down our family line," Angie said. "My mom and dad had won the award, and my aunt an uncle, Jim and Penny Wautier, had won the award."
The program works to foster relationships between farmers and urbanites, as well as form a network to exchange best practice and land stewardship ideas between farmers across the nation. It's all something that Mark says is part of the Wisconsin DNA.
"Just being a part of the rich tradition in Wisconsin, having a dairy farm is enjoyable and gives us a lot of pride."