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Award Honorees

Meg Plucinski, D&M Family Farm

2020 : Rising Star

Meg Plucinski and her husband, Derek, have been dairy farming for the majority of their lives. Together, they operate D&M Family Farm, a 341-acre dairy farm in Wisconsin where their animals graze intensively on well-maintained, award-winning pastures. In addition, they raise certified organic beef, pork, and poultry sold from their online farm store.

Meg first reached out to the Organic Trade Association in October 2018 to gain a greater understanding of what the trade association and its newly formed Organic Dairy Council do to assist farmers. She had heard other small farmers question whether the trade association was, in fact, a good fit for the small-scale certified producers. Rather than accepting their doubts about the trade association at face value, she reached out to the Organic Trade Association to judge for herself. Through phone conversations and other outreach, she excitedly chose to join, with the goal to play a role in spreading her positive messages within its Dairy Council, and bring some of those small-scale concerns to the forefront of the organic dairy industry.
She soon found she was also a perfect fit for the trade association’s Farmers Advisory Council (FAC). FAC provides the Organic Trade Association’s Board of Directors and staff with input from small- and medium-sized organic farmers, ranchers, and growers on matters pertinent to the advancement of organic agriculture, with a specific focus on the trade association’s policy agenda.
Just a few months after joining the trade association, she was headed in a minivan with a babysitter and her 9-month old son to D.C. for her first trip to the East Coast to join other FAC Members on Capitol Hill to advocate for organic. She met with lawmakers, including Wisconsin Senator Tammy Baldwin, to outline the trade association’s policy agenda while sharing her struggles and joys of being a small-scale organic dairy farmer.
Her story was spot-on for showing the challenges faced by young couples who want to farm organically, and obtain the land to do so. She and her husband currently are purchasing their farm in a transition agreement with the present owner--a fine example and inspiration for other organic farmers who are trying to set up their own farm but are struggling with conventional loans and purchase agreements.