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PRAIRIE DU SAC - The board of directors of Scenic Central Milk Producers Cooperative has chosen a successor for General Manager Ron Statz, who plans to retire in June 2017.

Terry Hanson, who has been a field representative for the co-op and worked as spot sales manager, took the position of Director of Operations in December 2016 with plans for the transition to take place over the succeeding six months as he learns management of the co-op from Statz.

Statz is only the second general manager of the young co-op. It was managed in its formative years by Ken Boll who worked with a group of farmers who wanted to create a new marketing group for their milk in south-central Wisconsin. Today the co-op procures milk in 3 districts of the state plus 1 in Minnesota – their original Scenic Central region, as well as Packerland and Montfort. The group also procures organic milk from about 40 farmers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Last year they also began procuring milk from a new group of dairy farms using only non-GMO feed for their cows, believing that this is a growing opportunity, Statz said. They also procure milk under a “cows first” program, working with a local cheesemaker who has buyers that want assurances that their products are made from cows who are kept in certain conditions.

Clayton Bare, the co-op’s board president said the board had reviewed several resumes from outside candidates but decided Hanson was the best choice to succeed Statz.

“We plan on making Terry as prepared as possible to assume his new responsibility,” Bare told producers.

Hanson was a dairy farmer himself near Prairie du Sac, in Sauk County, where he milked 130 cows in a 92-stanchion barn from 1982-2002 until a back injury ended his career with cows. He sold the cows and then raised his young stock and sold them and began work with the Wisconsin office of the National Farmers Organization (NFO.)

Hanson worked at NFO for 10 years where he wore several hats -- sales, field representative, quality coordinator and reload manager. He and Statz worked at NFO during the same time frame.

“I’ve known Ron quite a while. I got to Scenic Central six years ago and Ron became General Manager a short time after that,” Hanson said. “Ron followed me here and became my boss.

“I appreciate the board voting me into that position,” he said last week at the co-op’s annual meeting in Muscoda.

When the board made that decision, Hanson hired Chris Jones Anding as the co-op’s new field representative to take over the farms he worked with in southern Wisconsin. She comes to Scenic after working with farmers as a sales representative for Agri-King and most recently for Midwestern Bio-Ag.

She joins a staff that includes three full-time field staff members in southern Wisconsin and one in the Northeast region of Wisconsin as well as a part-time field staffer in Minnesota and a part-time field staff member in northwest Wisconsin.

Statz thanked the founding members of Scenic Central and the first General Manager Ken Boll for the “hard work they put in to build a solid base” for the cooperative. “I’ve done my best to build on that base,” he wrote.

“We’ve had some success and also some challenges along the way. Every day, running a dairy co-op, as with running your farm, brings a new set of challenges. We have to make what we think is the best choice at the time and move on to the next challenge.

“Terry understands the priorities of a members-first cooperative. I know that he will be able to count on the same support from the members and staff that I have had over the years. With this support Terry will continue to grow in his ability to manage the cooperative for many years into the future,” Statz added.

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