May 6 2022 10:30 AM

The Hoard’s Dairyman Award was presented to Brenden Wenzel of Brillon, Wis.

The Wisconsin Farm Discovery Center was the site of a graduation celebration for the dairy management program at Lakeshore Technical College. The four-year-old educational complex located in Northeast Wisconsin has a banquet facility that was the ideal location to celebrate the student’s accomplishments. Each graduating student received their plaque for completing the program from Craig Lallensack, the dairy herd and agricultural business instructor.

Each student recognized their internship farm as well as the dairy operations and veterinary clinics that opened their facilities to the students on a rotational basis. The internship opportunities were not limited to dairy farms, but also included a cheese factory and the Wisconsin Farm Discovery Center. The young adults were able to choose an agricultural position that was of great interest to them.

Front row: LTC students Lily Charapata, a second-year student graduating with an associate degree in Dairy Business Management; Kelsie Bramstedt, a second-year student graduating with an associate degree in Dairy Business Management; Kaylee Pingel, a first-year student in agribusiness; Mary Zellner, graduating with a technical diploma in Dairy Herd Management; and Sarah Jennings, graduating with Technical Diploma in Dairy Herd Management. Back row: Instructor Craig Lallensack; Elizabeth Benicke, a first-year student in agribusiness; Trey Hafkey, a first-year student in agribusiness; Brenden Wenzel, graduating with a technical diploma in Dairy Herd Management and with an associate degree in Dairy Herd Management; and Alex Diersen, a first-year student in agribusiness.

A highlight of the evening is the Hoard’s Dairyman Award presentation. The large plaque depicts the Foster Mothers of the Human Race painting. Each winner’s name is engraved on the award that hangs in the college’s dairy department. A smaller plaque is also presented to the winner for the recipient to keep. While there are numerous recognitions that students can receive inside and outside the classroom for various talents, the Hoard’s Dairyman Award is somewhat different.

No other college or university presents a Hoard’s Dairyman Award besides Lakeshore Technical College. The award is voted on by fellow students (and not professors or administration) who apply a 1 to 10 score in the areas of character, academics, and community focus. Additionally, their involvement in class activities is considered.

Instructor Craig Lallensack with the Hoard’s Dairyman Award winner, Brenden Wenzel.

The 2022 Hoard’s Dairyman Award was presented to Brenden Wenzel. Wenzel is the fourth generation on the Wenzel Hilltop Dairy. His grandparents and parents influenced his passion for farming and machinery. Wenzel was active at Brillion High School FFA and received his American Degree this past fall. After high school, Brenden enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College where he started his studies in ag power. He completed one year of the program and decided to get a more well-rounded agriculture degree, focusing on dairy.

He enrolled at Lakeshore Technical College in the Dairy Herd Management program in 2021. He set the goal of completing his associate degree by May of 2022. Determined to follow his plan, Wenzel took nine additional general education credits and completed courses over winter break, on top of his dairy program classes. In addition to a busy school schedule, Wenzel created his own maple syrup enterprise called Hilltop Sugar Shack, LLC. He is also a volunteer firefighter for the Potter Fire Department.

From the Hoard’s Dairyman team, we congratulate Brenden on all his efforts, graduation, and recognition by his peers. Best of luck to all the students as they embark on the next steps in their careers.

Patti Hurtgen

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.