Boyke Family Members Named 2020 Badger Of The Year

A local Fond du Lac area family has earned a new title. The Fond du Lac Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association has selected Boyke Family members Gary Boyke, Katie (nee Boyke) Grinstead and JR Boyke as the Chapter’s 2020 Badger of the Year. 

Gary Boyke is a 1972 graduate of UW-Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course. A native of the Fond du Lac area, he returned to the family farm upon graduation and helped grow Vir-Clar Farms into a world wide leader in genetics. Today, Vir-Clar is home to 2,400 cows and working 3,000 acres.

Gary, and his wife Rose have four children:  Katie (Grant) Grinstead, Angie (Ryan) Matthias, Tiffany (Nick) Venne, and JR (Samantha). Gary is semi-retired during winter months as he has left the farm in capable hands as JR, and Katie and Grant.  Katie and JR both graduated from UW-Madison; Katie in 2000 with a degree in Agricultural Journalism emphasizing in Sales and Marketing; and JR receiving his dairy management certificate in 2007


JR Boyke attended UW Madison’s Farm and Industry Short Course, receiving his dairy management certificate in 2007. While in school, JR was a part of the short course judging team that placed fourth high individual at the World Dairy Expo – a highlight of his judging career.

The Badger of the Year award will be presented at the Fond du Lac chapter’s annual Founder’s Day dinner Tuesday, March 31.  In addition to the Badger of the Year award, the evening will include a presentation entitled, “Earth Day @ 50: Our Roles as Global environmental Citizens” by Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at UW-Madison. Robbins guides the institute in serving as a world leader in addressing rapid global environmental change.

The Founders’ Day event will be held at the THELMA Sadoff Center for the Arts in Fond du Lac, with a reception starting at 5:30 p.m.  Dinner will follow at 6:15 p.m. with the program scheduled for 7:00 p.m. To register or for more details, visit or contact Chapter President Steve Leaman at 920-979-1762.