2022 Indiana Dairy Producer of the Year
Alan Kuehnert

 
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Alan, along with his family, own and operate Kuehnert Dairy Farm, a proud Indiana family farm that has been in operation since 1897 in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. In April 2021, Alan was unexpectedly killed in a farming accident.  Alan was the fourth generation in his family to farm.  Alan prided himself in breeding strong, profitable, long lasting, highly productive cows. He was vested in the registered Holstein breed and was a 40 year member of the National Holstein Association.  Alan was proud and humbled with how their top cows have performed in the freestall barn and in the show ring, however, he was most proud when their cows equally performed great in someone else’s barn. 

Alan was proactive in adapting to new technologies in the dairy industry.  His sons, quoted him for saying when pertaining to new technologies, “we don’t want to be the first, but we definitely don’t want to be the last, so go do your research!” Over the years, the Kuehnert family has incorporated various innovative dairy technologies to better their 300 cow dairy, such as 4 Lely robotic milkers, AI-24 heat detection and a robotic calf feeder. 

Along with producing top quality milk and genetics, the Kuehnert’s have been very active with milk promotion by hosting many groups and farm tours as well as having neighbor appreciation breakfasts at the farm.  In 2013, they opened their farm up to the public by hosting a 7-week Kuehnert Dairy Farm Fall Festival, giving the general public an opportunity to experience the daily operations of a working dairy farm as well as providing a variety of fall entertainment for all ages to enjoy.  Alan knew no strangers.  His favorite thing to do was to interact with the guests that attended the festival on his farm.  He loved to tell his family’s story with the goal of instilling a trust in the quality of products that US farmers produce.  Alan was a true advocate for Indiana agriculture, leading and serving on the boards of various organizations including previously serving on the IDP board. 

Alan was a proud husband, father and grandfather who loved to work alongside his family.  According to his family, Alan’s drive in life was his faith in God, his family and his farm.  He was a faithful servant to his community where he truly helped and touched so many lives.

 

2022 Indiana Young Dairy Producer of the Year
Greg Brawner

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Thank you for selecting me as the young producer of the year! I’m Gregory T. Brawner, a proud 2004 graduate of Southwestern High school and a proud Ag Ed graduate of Purdue University in 2008. Since graduation I have been a partner with my parents on our dairy in southern Indiana. Located in Hanover, IN, our dairy farm consists of 250 milking cows 2x a day with 250 heifers. We raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and wheat on 5,000 acres. We all enjoy what we do each and every day.  I am so proud of where we are, but we do have so much more we want to do in becoming a more efficient dairy farm.

 

On behalf of my family, myself and everybody who works hard each and every day to make our family dairy farm successful, we all say thank you. As you all know, It takes more than just one person to manage and take care of a dairy farm 365 days a year; milking morning and night, cutting the hay timely, mowing the fence rows, helping the calving mother, feeding the growing heifers, planting and harvesting the growing corn crop, the list goes on and on.  It takes a lot of hard work, but we all do this, as dairy farmers, because we love it. Born and raised on a dairy farm, I could not have asked for a better life.

 

Through my parents, Greg and Teresa Brawner, I’ve learned how to work hard, to complete the task not just start it, to persevere through tough times, and more importantly, how to be a good parent. I share these adolescent learning experiences with my three younger sisters, LaTisha Idlewine, Kristen May and Kamille Borcherding. As proud as I am to have been raised on a dairy farm, I am even more proud to raise my family on a dairy farm as well. I want to thank my beautiful wife, Erin, for being by my side through the long days that are needed. I am so grateful to be the father of three young children- Michelle (8), Brooklyn (6), and Joseph (4) - who love to spend their free time at our farm. In time, they will learn how to work hard and be responsible through chores and responsibility on a dairy farm.

 

2022 Indiana Dairy Producers Scholarship Recipient: Alaina Weaver

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My name is Alaina Weaver. I am a senior at North Miami High School. My parents are Phil and Amy Weaver who milk about 330 cows in Miami County. I work on the farm feeding calves and other miscellaneous jobs.

I am a member of North Miami’s FFA program where I am a Chapter officer, and I participate in several activities dairy judging, soil judging, and poultry judging. This summer will be my tenth year in 4-H where I show dairy, poultry, and sheep at the county level.

Next fall I plan to attend either Purdue or Huntington University to study ag economics and animal science.

 

2022 Kuehnert Dairy Scholarship Recipient
Audrey Knoper

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Audrey Knoper, our 2022 Kuehnert scholarship winner, shares what she believes to be our industry’s biggest challenge:

I believe that the biggest challenge facing the dairy industry is the reputation of dairy products among the general public. Many people that are disconnected to the dairy industry choose to consume alternative forms of milk or other dairy products because they do not trust dairy products. This trend has gained popularity especially in recent years and will only continue to grow without an effort to teach the general population the truth about the health and honesty that make up dairy industry. The growth of this trend will cause dairy products to be consumed less and less which will hurt milk prices and the sustainability of being in the dairy industry. But, if the people in the dairy industry work to help others understand our industry, then this challenge can easily be reversed.