One of the winners is from New York state. Julia Hudyncia, of Fort Plain in Montgomery County, won the honor along with Sarah Holm of Elk Mound, Wis. and Kevin and Erin Donnay of Kimball, Minn. They were recognized during a banquet April 10 in La Crosse, Wis.
Generation Organic is a group of Organic Valley farmers aged 18 to 35 who represent the next generation of sustainable agriculture leaders and who believe in the power of organic farming to change the world.
Here is what was written about Hudyncia by those at Organic Valley:
Julia Hudyncia thinks that farmers need to tell their story. As an agricultural science teacher, she is doing an excellent job of that herself.
Julia grew up milking cows with younger brother Ryan, her parents, and her grandfather in Fort Plain, New York. Organic Valley farmer-owners since 2006, the Hudyncias farm 450 acres and milk 60 cows. The entire family has a passion for agriculture and a special affection for registered Holsteins. Julia was active in 4-H, the Junior Holstein Club and won the title of 2007 New York State Alternate Dairy Princess. Julia still lives on the farm and does farm work on breaks and weekends.
Julia is in her third year teaching at a local high school after earning a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a master’s degree in biology and agricultural education from Cornell University. Julia’s goal as a teacher is to help her students discover a personal connection to agriculture.
This year, her class took a leap of faith and transitioned two acres that had been used to grow conventional corn into two acres of organic sunflowers. She is encouraged to see that her students are excited at the prospect of using the sunflower seeds to create bio-fuel for three school tractors.
In the future, Julia sees herself back on the farm. “I believe that my job in education is very important, but my heart lies with the farm. I am trying, at a very young age, to give back to the agricultural industry and community as much as I can.”