#WyoStrong: Local farm takes 1st in commercial hay at World Forage Superbowl

    #WyoStrong stories, brought to you by Wyoming Community Bank, highlight Wyoming perseverance, ingenuity, creativity and resilience.

    The Bappe Farm located west of Riverton won 1st place in the Commercial Hay Division at the 37th annual World Forage Analysis Superbowl last week.

    Typically held in Wisconsin during the World Dairy Expo, this annual event moved to a virtual format this year due to COVID. This year, there were over 260 entries from sixteen states, and awards went to the top five in eight divisions, according to Hay & Forage Grower.

    Having entered hay into this annual event since 2011, Mark Bappe shared, “it’s a big honor [to win]. I’ve been working on it for a lot of years.”

    Mark, his wife Becky, and their son Luke work year-round on their 170-acre family farm. In addition to growing alfalfa hay, they raise sheep and most recently began raising dairy cows.

    They attribute winning to the folks from the county and state fairs that moved their entered hay on to the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, as well as, Scott Keith who helped put Wyoming on the map for quality hay.

    “My hay is no better than my neighbors,” Mark explained. “It’s just that I took it to the county fair and they took it on.”

    While Wyoming entries seem to do well in the World Forage Analysis Superbowl, it’s likely that the Bappe’s are one of the few, if not the only, who use antique farm equipment.

    “It’s not easy for him to put up our hay,” Becky shared. Some of their equipment is over 40 years old and inherited from her dad when they bought her family farm several years ago. If something breaks, parts can be really hard to find. “I’m glad he [Mark] is a good mechanic.”

    The hay is evaluated on several things like feel and smell, the two primary categories are relative feed quality and pounds of milk per ton, Mark explained. The full evaluation of finalist results can be read by clicking here.

    Not to give away all the secrets for award-winning hay, Mark shared the real reason is that “Wyoming is closer to heaven than most other states.”

    They are already looking ahead to next year as they wrap up their third cutting this year. “I’m a competitor, and always have been,” Mark said. He’s got an eye on the Quality Counts honors. This year it went to one of the perennial World Forage Analysis Superbowl Wyoming winners Lazy 2K from Wheatland.

    Learn more about the Bappe Farm by clicking here, and the World Forage Analysis Superbowl here.

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