Ag Faces in the crowd: Cordonnier is new grain manager

Wisconsin State Farmer
Newsmakers in the agricultural world

Heikes named CRI CEO

The Cooperative Resources International (CRI) board of directors has announced Keith Heikes as the agricultural holding cooperative’s next CEO. Heikes succeeds Doug Wilson, who will retire in August after 39 years with CRI.
Heikes, who previously served as chief operating officer of the cooperative’s GENEX subsidiary, will now lead CRI, an organization with more than $189 million in annual revenue and 1,350 employees across the globe.

John Ruedinger, CRI board chairman Van Dyne dairy producer says Heikes is a strong leader with an extensive background in cooperative leadership and experience in both domestic and global marketing.

Keith Heikes

Pierenza wins Equine Education grant

Valerie Pierzina, Trempealeau, WI, was awarded the Harry Sebring Memorial Grant through the American Morgan Horse Educational Charitable Trust.

Pierenza is a Master Equine Massage Therapist and will utilize the grant to further her equine therapy education as she apprentices with Greg Gage of Therasage Equine Massage Certification school to become his program’s first employed equine massage instructor.

The apprenticeship and training is expected to take approximately two years to complete.

Louis Muench

Muench elected president of AAMP

Louis E. Muench was elected president of the American Association of Meat Processors during the 78th Annual Convention of Meat Processors and Suppliers’ Exhibition in Lexington, KY.

A third-generation meat processor, Muench is the president of Louie’s Finer Meats, located in Cumberland, WI. Muench has been inducted into the Wisconsin Meat Industry Hall of Fame and the National Cured Meats Hall of Fame, and was a member of the inaugural class of Wisconsin Master Meat Crafters.

He was inducted into AAMP’s Cured Meats Hall of Fame in 2003 and earlier this year was named UW-RF 2017 Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist.

Melissa Ploeckeman

NFMC hires outreach specialist

The National Farm Medicine Center at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute has hired Melissa Ploeckelman as its new outreach specialist.

Ploeckelman is the former ag instructor, FFA advisor and Youth Apprenticeship coordinator in the Colby School District.

Her first tasks at the Farm Center include assessment of the center’s outreach efforts and taking the lead on the center’s website and social media strategy. 

Kristi Fiedler

Fiedler is VP of production

Kristi Fiedler of Cecil, WI, has been named the Vice President of Production for cattle genetics cooperative GENEX.

In her new role, Fiedler will provide leadership in the areas of bovine semen collection and processing, livestock management, and crop production.

Previously, Fiedler served as the GENEX Associate Vice President of Technical Services managing a dedicated team of dairy account consultants and developing value-added programs.

She began her new role July 1. The former Vice President of Production, Glen Gilbert, will serve in a mentorship role until his retirement.

Eric Westphal

Westphal, Gudex take top honors at ECSS banquet

Eric Westphal and Eric Gudex were both honored during East Central/Select Sires annual employee awards banquet on June 24, 2017.

Gudex of Oakfield, was again named member service representative (MSR) of the year, while Westphal, Byron, was awarded area sales manager (ASM) of the year.

The honorable outstanding-effort awards were presented to Kurt Barnes, Kiel, MSR; Ken Elliott, Marshall, relief ASM and Barb Bohnert, Waupun, executive assistant.

Eric Gudex

Cordonnier is new grain manager

CHS Larsen Cooperative has hired new grain department manager, Marcus Cordonnier.

The new manager brings 22 years of experience, managing country elevators and rail terminals. Cordonnier has worked for ADM and Bunge as well as being the Grain Manager of several co-op’s.

Since his arrival, Cordonnier has already greatly expanded CHS Larsen Co-op grain contract offerings to help patrons manage price risk on their farm.

Marcus Cordonnier

NCGA welcomes McKay

Sarah McKay is the new manager of market development in the St. Louis office of the National Corn Growers Association.

In this new position, McKay will provide key support to NCGA's animal agriculture, industrial use and new use efforts as a direct report to the director of market development.

McKay most recently worked as a part of the procurement/supply chain team supporting dairy operations at General Mills.

WMMB taps Kroeplin as Digital Content Manager

Sarah McKay

Ben Kroeplin is the new Digital Content Manager for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Kroeplin has more than a decade of experience in marketing, communications, and broadcast journalism. Most recently, Kroeplin worked as a senior communications specialist at University of Wisconsin Whitewater.

As Digital Content Manager, Kroeplin will develop strategy for the organization’s digital marketing campaigns including acting as lead in the development and production of WMMB’s new Wisconsin to Table recipe video series.

Ben Kroeplin