2023 Young Cooperator of the Year

The Young Cooperator of the Year award is announced at our annual Winter Conference. This award is given out to a couple or individual who exhibit a strong passion for the dairy industry. They are actively involved on their farm, in dairy and other agriculture related organizations, and active in their local community.

Derek & Amanda Zigan (left) with their nominators and 2022 YC of the Year recipients, Adam & Jenny Kalthoff (right)

This year’s Young Cooperator of the Year award was presented to Derek and Amanda Zigan.

The Zigans farm near Long Prairie with their four children. They have been farming since 2008 on Derek’s family farm. Amanda considers herself as a “new” or “first generation” farmer as she did not grow up in agriculture. Since taking over the farm, she has taken every opportunity to learn all she can about the industry. One of their goals they strive for each day is superior cow comfort and efficiency.

Outside of the farm, both Derek and Amanda are active in their local community and organizations. They are very active in their church, kid’s school, their local ADA board and Breakfast on the Farm committee. In 2015, their farm hosted a Breakfast on the Farm where they were able to host people from all over the community and teach them about what they do each day, and where their food comes from. The Zigans are also involved in their county 4-H program.

The Zigan Family

Together as a family, they are stepping up to the challenges in dairy farming and setting goals to better their 120-cow robotic dairy. Their vision is to have healthy cows, be good stewards of the land, to be efficient and profitable, all while making a wholesome product.

The National Young Cooperators (YC) Program provides up-and-coming leaders in the dairy industry with a better understanding of issues facing farmers and cooperatives. The program, managed by the National Milk Producers Federation, provides year-round educational opportunities to inform and build leadership abilities in the next generation of dairy farmers.

Here at First District Association, our Young Cooperator Board consists of couples and individuals under the age of 45. This group meets and plans various events throughout the year including a Bingo Night where food shelf donations are taken to give to the Melrose Area Food Shelf, a summer picnic hosted at one of our member-owners farms, and have the opportunity to attend National Young Cooperator events.

Congratulations Derek and Amanda!