The Dairy Business Association recently honored Sandy Larson, an Evansville, Wisconsin farmer, for promoting dairy farming while maintaining a vital role on her family farm. Larson shed tears when her name was announced as Advocate of the Year at the recent Dairy Strong conference in Madison, Wisconsin.

As dairy-production manager at Larson Acres, her family’s 2,400-cow farm, Larson focuses on employee management and milk quality. She also leads marketing and promotion efforts.

“I don’t think I do any more than other farmers,” Larson said. “You do what’s right for you, your family, your farm and your community.”

Larson develops programs for her employees to help engage and educate them about their roles on the farm and in the cheese-making process, said Bob Hagenow of Vita Plus Corporation, the award sponsor.

“By understanding how their jobs fit into the larger picture — understanding the why and not just the how of what they do — employees become more committed to their work,” Hagenow said.

A believer in community relations, Larson regularly opens up her dairy to the public and is involved in multiple community activities. She hosts on-the-farm picnics for neighbors, welcomes students and other groups for tours, hosts dairy breakfasts, and most recently hosted a farm-to-table dinner.

Hagenow said Larson was an early adopter of social media to communicate about the farm.

“She does a great job of being transparent and developing fun posts to keep customers and neighbors engaged with what is happening on the dairy,” Hagenow said.

Larson is active in dairy promotion organizations, including her county agricultural business council and the Ag Ambassador Program, the dairy-breakfast committee and local dairy-promotion council. With her three children, she also is involved in 4-H programs. Larson serves as dairy-project leader and helped host the first fitting-and-showing clinic for dairy project members.

The Dairy Business Association is a nonprofit organization comprised of Wisconsin dairy farmers, milk processors, vendors and business partners who work with Wisconsin dairy farmers. The association lobbies on issues that affect the dairy industry. Visit http://www.widba.com  for more information.

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