Tammy Wiedenbeck Selected as the 2019 #RootedinAg Contest Winner
Earlier this year, Syngenta asked contest participants to describe in about 200 words the person who most nourished their agricultural roots. A panel of judges then selected three finalists, including Wiedenbeck, who each received a mini touch-screen tablet and the chance to compete for the grand prize — $500 and a $1,000 donation to a favorite local charity or civic organization.
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In honor of her brother, Wiedenbeck plans to divide the $1,000 award from Syngenta to three local organizations: the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Foundation, the Lancaster FFA Alumni and the Grant County Cattlemen's Association. “I chose these organizations because of the impact they have had on the lives of so many people in my local community, including my brother and me,” she says.
“I always said my older brother was my role model growing up. Not only did he set the bar high for me, but he continues to be a role model in agriculture for everyone around him.”
Wiedenbeck is the sixth winner of the annual #RootedinAg Contest. “Every year, we’re so inspired by the stories our readers tell us. This year was no exception,” says Wendell Calhoun, Syngenta communications manager. “We’re especially proud to recognize Tammy and her older brother, whose lifelong encouragement has helped strengthen her agricultural roots and shape the person she is today.”
Wiedenbeck’s heart-warming essay and companion video are below.
Growing up, my roots in agriculture had only just sprouted. I struggled when my friends would want to hang out together and I had to stay home if my parents had work on the farm. Although I loved the animals and exploring the land, those feelings at one point were of jealousy and admiration for other lifestyles. But having a brother almost 11 years older who said at the age of four that he wanted to be a farmer, those feelings didn’t last long.
Even though I was his little sister, he taught me how to drive a 4-wheeler and a tractor. He started showing cattle after receiving a Herd Builder project from the FFA alumni, and I followed in his footsteps when I joined 4-H. He told me to join the FFA when I reached high school, and my response was that I thought it was a boy thing to do. But I joined anyway and realize that it would have been one of my biggest regrets if I hadn’t. When I lost the first calf out of my first cow, I thought that perhaps raising cattle wasn’t in the cards for me. My brother quickly reminded me, “I’ve never known you to give up.”
He still reminds me of that to this day. I always said my older brother was my role model growing up. Not only did he set the bar high for me, but he continues to be a role model in agriculture for everyone around him. He’s as close to perfect as a person can get, being a hard worker on the farm, a full-time agronomy supervisor at an agriculture research station, and a father and husband to his wife and five young children.
However, I can’t only thank my brother for keeping me rooted in agriculture. If it wasn’t for my mom and dad buying the farm from my grandparents, we wouldn’t have had the amazing childhood that we did. Our farm dates back to 1836; and as the seventh generation on the farm, there is no greater legacy for my brother and me to have lived on the same land our ancestors were raised. That truly has kept us rooted in agriculture!
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