Ag Faces in the Crowd: What's new and who's who in dairy industry

Compiled by WIsconsin State Farmer Staff
Newsmakers in the agricultural world

Compeer honored by WI 4-H Foundation

The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation announced that Compeer Financial was honored once again as a major partner and contributor at the 2018 Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Ceremony and Gala.

According to Brenda Scheider, executive director for the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation, Compeer helps 4‑H create cutting-edge, relevant programs for young people to learn real-world skills that will prepare them for the challenges of today and tomorrow, moving communities, the state, our country and the world forward in ways no other youth organization can. Compeer Financial is a member-owned, farm credit cooperative.

Kelly WIlfert

Wilfert honored at AFBF convo

Kelly Wilfert, representing Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation was the third-place finalist in the Discussion Meet held at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s 100th Annual Convention. During the Discussion Meet, participants are evaluated on their ability to exchange ideas and information on a predetermined topic during a committee meeting format.

Wilfert received a Case IH 40” Combination Roll Cabinet and Top Chest and a $500 Case IH parts card and  $2,000 worth of Stanley Black & Decker merchandise.

WCGA names officer team

The Wisconsin Corn Growers Association (WCGA) elected several new members to its Board of Directors at the WCGA Annual Meeting held during the 2019 Wisconsin Corn/Soy Expo. Zeb Zuehls, was re-elected to serve his third term with the WCGA Board of Directors. Affiliate Director Andrew Grebner, was also re-elected for his final two-year term.  

James Giese and Steve Knoebel were each elected to serve their first three-year term as directors. They will be replacing Crystal Romanowski of Stanley and Steve Duwe of Johnson Creek.

This year’s officer team includes: Rebout, President; Zuehls, Vice President; Mark Hoffmann, Secretary/Treasurer. At-Large Directors include Ben Augustine, Mike Berget, Jim Emmert, Giese, Casey Kelleher and Knoebel. Andrew Grebner and Loren Jesch continue as an Affiliate Directors and Joe Lauer of UW-Extension as Ex-Officio.

Jarrod Blackburn

Blackburn named dairy specialist

Jarrod Blackburn recently joined the Vita Plus Loyal team as a dairy specialist. Based in central Wisconsin, Blackburn will provide customized feed and nutrition strategies as well as management expertise for every area of the dairy farm.  Utilizing farm-specific ration formulation and cutting-edge technologies, Blackburn will help dairy producers reach their unique production goals. 

As a graduate teaching assistant at Kansas State University, Blackburn was the lead on dairy nutrition research projects focused on monitoring dry matter variation in corn silage with a hand-held near-infrared device and the use of a starling-resistant concentrate in dairy cattle feed.

Brody Stapel

Edge board re-elects Stapel as president 

Brody Stapel was re-elected president of Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative by the board of directors at the co-op’s annual business meeting last month during the Dairy Strong conference. Stapel has been in this role for the past year after the passing of John Pagel. Stapel will serve for the next three years. 

Stapel owns and operates Double Dutch Dairy in eastern Wisconsin with his brother and father. He serves on Edge’s finance committee and has traveled to Washington, D.C., to advocate on behalf of members. 

Jim Winn

Incumbent Jim Winn was re-elected as secretary and will serve another three-year term. Winn is a lifelong dairy farmer who co-owns Cottonwood Dairy in southwestern Wisconsin. He has served on Edge’s board since the co-op’s inception. Jim also formerly served on the board of directors of the Dairy Business Association, a state policy group in Wisconsin. 

Todd Doornink remains vice president while Mitch Davis is treasurer.  

Equity Coop receives Marketer BQA award

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association is the 2019 winner of the 2019 BQA Marketer Award given by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA). The award was recently presented during NCBA's 2019 Cattle Industry Convention in New Orleans.

The National BQA Award recognizes outstanding beef and dairy producers that demonstrate animal care and handling principles as part of their day-to-day operations.

Christi Keeler

Christi Keeler joins Bio-Vet

Christi Keeler has joined Bio-Vet as the company’s new Business Development Manager-Beef. Keeler comes to Bio-Vet with over 20 years of hands-on cattle industry experience in cow/calf, grower, stocker and feedlot production, along with 15 years of sales experience.

In her new role at Bio-Vet, Christi will steer efforts to promote the demonstrated benefits of Bio-Vet’s microbial and nutritional products for the beef industry.

GENEX council elected

Give cattle producers were elected to three-year terms on the GENEX cooperative’s 13-member council during the cooperative’s annual meeting on Jan. 23 in Bloomington, Minn.. Kay Olson-Martz of Friendship, Wis. Was re-elected to the council.

Following the annual meeting, the GENEX council elected officers. Those holding officer positions for 2019 include John Ruedinger of Van Dyne, Wis. Who will serve as president.

Amber Queiser

Equity welcomes Amber Queiser in Barron

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association announced that Amber Queiser will be serving as the new office manager at the cooperative’s Barron location. Queiser started working the dock at the Barron market last November, and has significant experience in the agriculture industry.

As Office Manager, she will oversee all of the office functions and office staff at the Barron.

Farmers Union honors members

Wisconsin Farmers Union members Tom and Helen Quinn were honored for their dedication to the family farm organization at the 88th annual Wisconsin Farmers Union State Convention Jan. 25-27 in Appleton. The Dunn County couple received the Builders Award, which recognizes outstanding commitment to building Farmers Union through county involvement, leadership development and member recruitment.

Tom Quinn

The Quinns were one of three young Wisconsin farm couples chosen to participate in the American Farm Project, an effort by National Farmers Union to connect young farmers from around the country in shared learning about the history of farm policy and rural culture. Helen worked on faculty at UW-Stout while Tom worked as a farmer, logger, feed mill worker and organizer.

Lisa Soyring of the Amnicon-Douglas Farmers Union received the Go-Getter Award at the convention. This award recognizes youth program recruitment efforts that help Wisconsin Farmers Union involve more members and youth, increase volunteer engagement, and develop greater leadership.

Helen Quinn

Mary Dougherty of Bayfield was honored for her work in building membership within the newly formed Ashland-Bayfield Farmers Union. Three Wisconsin Farmers Union chapters also received recognition for excelling in membership growth in 2018. They included the Chippewa, St. Croix and Wood-Portage-Waupaca chapters.

Midwestern BioAg becomes 4R Partner

Midwestern BioAg (MBA), a leader in soil health and sustainability, has become a 4R Partner in the 4R Nutrient Stewardship program through The Fertilizer Institute.

Jim Krebsbach, Midwestern BioAg Vice President of Sales said becoming an official 4R partner was a natural step forward for the company to continue strengthening its position as a leader in soil health in the industry.

The goal of 4R Nutrient Stewardship is to achieve economic, social and environmental performance objectives in relation to nutrient management and growth in sustainable agricultural, including key contributing factors to sustainability such as profitability, soil health, reduced losses to the environment, rural development and food security, land conservation and habitat protection.

Dean Strauss

Strauss earns top advocate award

Dean Strauss of Majestic Crossing Dairy in Sheboygan Falls was chosen as the recipient of the Dairy Business Association’s annual Dairy Advocate of the Year award.

Strauss serves on the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center board; the board of the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; the executive board of Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; and as chairman of the Dairy Policy Committee for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. He’s a past president of the Professional Dairy Processors of Wisconsin and a former member of the Wisconsin Beef Council board of directors.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” Strauss said of his donation of time and energy. “People are important, the community matters.”

Jeff Riley

Riley Brothers win Soybean Yield Contest

Jeff and Suzanne Riley, of Riley Brothers Farms in Darlington, Wis., along with their son Mitchell, sister-in-law Cheryl, and her son Josh, were awarded the top spot in the Division 4, 2018 Wisconsin Soybean Yield Contest. The Riley’s won the contest with harvested yields of 99.58 bushels per acre.

Riley grew Asgrow AG2636 soybeans treated with Cruisermaxx® from Syngenta and optimized the program with a sound fertilizer and chemical program to address specific needs throughout the growing season. The Riley’s worked closely with the team at Insight FS in Darlington, Wisconsin.

The contest was sponsored by the WI Soybean Program. Insight FS is headquartered in Jefferson, Wis..

Wisconsin Farmers Union President Darin Von Ruden.

Von Ruden re-elected WFU President

Westby dairy farmer Darin Von Ruden was re-elected president of the Wisconsin Farmers Union during the organization’s 88th annual State Convention in Appleton. Von Ruden is a lifelong Farmers Union member, and since 2007 has served as the organization's District 5 director, representing Crawford, Grant, Green, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, Rock, and Vernon counties.

He also leads the WFU Foundation Board of Directors, serves on the National Farmers Union Board and is chairman of the NFU Membership Committee. Darin and his wife, Joann, live in Westby, and recently transitioned the farm to the fourth generation, when their son Brett purchased the machinery and 50-cow dairy herd.

Von Ruden is the 11th president in WFU's 88-year history and presently serves on the Dairy Task Force 2.0.

Keith Kelling

WPVGA Honors Kelling with Hall of Fame Induction

University of Wisconsin-Madison Soil Scientist Dr. Keith Kelling was inducted into the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) Hall of Fame at the industry’s annual awards banquet held February 6, 2019 in Stevens Point.

The WPVGA Hall of Fame honors lifetime achievement in the development of the state’s potato industry. Kelling was a longtime Professor and Extension Soil Scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He established a large research program that addressed practical nutrient management issues in potato production systems.

 Potato research comprised less than half of his research activities, yet his program had impacts on nutrient management throughout Wisconsin, the surrounding region, and beyond. Research programs in potato were targeted at management of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, and other essential nutrients for optimal yields and minimal impacts on the environment.

Kelling was a leading researcher in the development of nutrient management systems for potato nationwide for over 20 years. He also evaluated countless non-traditional fertilizers and nutrient amendments for their impact on crop growth, yield and quality. He has continued to publish much of his potato work in scientific journals.

The 1999 WPVGA Researcher of the Year, Kelling has been a member of the Potato Association of America for more than 35 years. He was a key member of the potato and vegetable extension team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Gary Tauchen

Tauchen receives Distinguished WPA award

The Wisconsin Pork Association presented Representative Gary Tauchen with their 2018 Distinguished Legislator Award on February 1 during their annual convention. As a staunch voice for Wisconsin agriculture, Representative Tauchen knows farming because he is a farmer.

Representative Tauchen is also a leader in several organizations including Wisconsin Farm Bureau, Badger AgVest, Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium, Cooperative Resources International, Ag Source Cooperative and University of Wisconsin Center for Dairy Profitability along with several others.

He will also chair the Assembly Ag Committee for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session. Representative Tauchen will serve as vice chair on the State Affairs committee.

WPA Membership Elects Directors, Delegates

Wisconsin Pork Association members gathered for the 2019 Annual Meeting on January 31 in Wisconsin Dells. During the meeting, the membership re-elected Nathan Brickl, Sauk City, and Ray Ibeling, Clinton, to the WPA Board of Directors. Christina Meylor, Darlington, was also elected to the WPA Board to fill the seat previously held by Jonathan Wyttenbach.

Elected to serve as 2019 officers of the association were: Jim Magolski, President; Mike Salter, Vice-President; Tom Knauer, Treasurer; and Brian Klubertanz, Secretary. The WPA membership also elected delegates to serve at the 2020 National Pork Industry Forum. Elected to serve as Pork Act Delegates were Brickl and Klubertanz. Ibeling and Salter were selected as alternates.