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Steve Burclaw (third from left) was honored as the first WCO Employee of the Year. Burclaw is an employee of Biadasz Farms in Amherst, W

It’s no secret that labor is a huge issue in agriculture. For custom farmers, labor is their primary challenge – but yet, there are men and women employed by custom farmers in Wisconsin who make significant contributions to their teams. Each year, The Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. (WCO) honors an employee of a custom farming operation who demonstrates excellence in the areas of safety, efficiency, customer service, environmental stewardship and profitability. This award is particularly focused on acknowledging and recognizing member-employee contributions that are beyond the normal job expectations.

All employees, both full-time and part-time, of a WCO member-business are eligible for the award. The individual must have been employed by a WCO member during the last calendar year prior to the award year. The winner will receive $750 and the nominator will receive $250.

“Many of our members have had the same crew for several years. These employees are highly skilled and keep our businesses going during the height of the season,” said Bryce O’Leary, WCO president. “Their commitment to safety, the environment and our clients is outstanding – and this award is our opportunity to honor them.”

Applications for the 2017 WCO Employee of the Year Award are currently being accepted and are due December 1. Interested members should visit for more information including eligibility, criteria and application.

This past January, WCO honored Steve Burclaw, an employee of Biadasz Farms, Amherst, Wis. as the first ever Employee of the Year.

About the WCO: WCO is an organization comprised of individuals throughout the state who derive their income in whole or part from providing custom farming services. To learn more about the Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. including membership and events, go to or email