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Common Ground
Farm Credit Services of America Blog

Ag-Ceptional Woman Guides Farm, Family through Tragedy

by FCSAmerica Staff Reports | Feb 03, 2015

Women have always played an integral role in the family farm. The Ag-ceptional award recognizes one woman each year for the excellence she brings to agriculture. Dawn Winkelbauer -- whose family farm near Norfolk, Nebraska, includes a cow-calf operation, beef feedlot, custom work and corn and soybeans -- was named Ag-ceptional Woman of the Year in late 2014.

Dawn, raised as a town girl, learned farming by working alongside her husband, Matt. Today, she and her four children carry on the family’s farming legacy. Matt died in a farming accident in the fall of 2013. The Ag-ceptional Woman of the Year award, part of the Northeast Nebraska Community College’s Ag-ceptional Women’s Conference, recognizes the hard work and professionalism Dawn brings to farming. As her children say in this video, they continue to live by their father’s motto of “never weaken” and their mother’s daily commitment to her family and farm. 

FCSAmerica is proud to have been part of an award that recognizes the contributions of a valued customer-owner.

1 Comment

  1. 1 Karen Johnson 07 Mar
    Congratulations, Dawn!! You have done a wonderful job raising your 4 children while being an excellent farmer and model for your family. My heart breaks for you that you had to loose Matt in 2013. You stayed strong and you persevered. Way to go!

    My husband Bill upset a tractor in August 1989 while feeding a bale to our beef cows. He did survive: after being pinned under his tractor for an hour and a half, being life-flighted to Omaha to a trauma hospital, and then spending 4 1/2 mos. in hospitals. He stayed positive and worked like a trooper at rehab to recover. 

    I worked very long hard hours to keep our farm going in Bill's absence. We had two kids in college and a 12-yr old son who helped me and Bill's brother Duane was a Godsend to help me while Bill was in Intensive Care Occasionally I was pleasantly surprised by neighbors and relatives who showed up to help with tasks. The world is full of good people with big hearts!

    I always considered myself quite lucky because I was raised on a farm and had always worked alongside Bill on our farm, so I knew how to do most chores and tasks and was used to hard work.
    While Bill was hospitalized, I spent many long hours dong tasks like windrowing 200 A. of alfalfa  for 3rd and 4th cuttings. I hired the hay baled, and hauled it home, with help on weekends from my son. I took care of hogs in our finisher, hired corn loaded out to empty bins before harvest (I don't drive a truck like Dawn). I took care of our beef cows and calves and hogs--whatever needed done on our farm. 
    I learned one can do what we have to do when it's necessary and keep on going.

    For both Bill and I, staying positive, staying strong, and carrying on are of utmost importance.  

    Again, I commend you, Dawn, for all you have done and continue to do. I'm sure your children are very proud of you as is your Matt. Good luck in all you do as you go forward in life. Keep smiling!

    Sincerely, Iowa Farm Wife,

    Karen Johnson
    Avoca, IA


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