The Vernon County Cooperative Association will present two “Friends of the Cooperative” awards at the annual Vernon County Dairy Gala held at the Viroqua VFW, Thursday, Oct. 19. Winners of the award are the Kevin and Julie Larson Family of Viroqua, and the Orlan and Denise Bakkum Family of Westby.

The Larsons

Kevin and Julie Larson, along with their children Thomas (23) and Katherine (21) live on a 250-acre crop and small dairy heifer farm in rural Viroqua.

The Larson’s love living on a farm, are thankful to have raised their children in this environment and are very proud that both children are in a career/major in agriculture. Thomas graduated from UW-Madison in May 2016 with a degree in Biological Systems Engineering (ag engineering) and works as a Precision Agricultural Specialist. Katherine is a senior at UW-Platteville majoring in ag business.

Along with the farm, Kevin is a Sales Agent for DuPont Pioneer and Julie is Vice-President/Client Business Leads at Filament, an agricultural marketing company in Madison.

The Larson’s believe in giving back and paying it forward and have wanted to help others through their leadership and mentoring in 4-H, FFA, Jr. Holstein Assn., and the Vernon County Dairy Youth Fund, FFA Alumni (Julie), county fair board (both), county board, chairing the county dairy breakfast, County Holstein Association Board and serving on the Viroqua Athletic Booster Club Board (Kevin).

The Larson’s have been employed by cooperatives in Vernon County (Premier Co-op/Kevin and Accelerated Genetics/Julie) and do business with Chaseburg Farmers Union Co-op, Premier Co-op, Select Sires, Vernon Electric, Vernon Telephone and WCCU.

The Bakkums

Orlan and Denise Bakkum reside on a scenic ridge between Coon Valley and Westby. In 2015 they sold their dairy herd after over 43 years of dairying. Currently Orlan and Denise raise corn, soybeans, hay, and dairy heifers.

The Bakkum’s have four adult children (Jamie, Andrew, Patrick, & Stacy) and three grandsons (Ben, Henry, & Theo). During their dairy careers Orlan and Denise have been and continue to be involved in off-farm activities.

Orlan is on the town board, serves on the local fire commission, and is a member of the Vernon Electric Coop Board. Denise was a 4H general leader and the coordinator of the Vernon County 4H Shooting Sports for many years. She was a member of the Chaseburg Legion Auxiliary, a local homemakers group, and continues as a member of the serving committee at the Coon Valley Lutheran Church.

While milking cows the Bakkum’s were members of the Coon Valley Coop Creamery and AMPI. Currently they are members of Vernon Electric Coop, WCCU, Chaseburg Farmers Union, Premier Coop, and Select Sires. Orlan also served as a delegate to Accelerated Genetics for several years.

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Dorothy Robson is editor of the Westby Times. Contact her at 608-637-5625.

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