Ag Faces in the Crowd

Wisconsin State Farmer
Newsmakers in the agricultural world

New board members join cooperative leadership

FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative welcomed three new faces to the cooperative board of directors. These new directors include Steve Brock from Daggett, MI, Bob Dietzel from East Dubuque, IL, and Wayne Gajewski from Athens, WI. Brock succeeds Peter Kleiman in District 1, Dietzel succeeds Joe Schmitt in District 6 and Gajewski succeeds Kelly King in District 4. Re-elected to a three-year term on the board is Randy Geiger for District 2 and Kathy Bauer for District 9.

In addition, the board also elected its officers following the annual meeting, electing John Rettler of Neosho, WI, to serve as president, Randy Geiger of Reedsville, WI, as vice-president, Kathy Bauer of Faribault, MN, as secretary, and Rich Meyer of Unity, WI, as treasurer.

Connie Seefeldt

Seefeldt elected to National Dairy Board

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board of Directors announced the appointment of Connie Seefeldt as Vice Chair to the USDA’s National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB).

Seefeldt of Coleman, WI, will serve a one-year term as Vice Chair for NDB. Seefeldt also represents dairy farmers in Wisconsin’s District 2 on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and previously served as the Board Chair for five years.

Lynn Vollbrecht

Vollbrecht to serve tart cherry industry

The Cherry Marketing Institute and Cherry Industry Administrative Board welcomed Lynn Vollbrecht to their team. Vollbrecht joined the nonprofits’ staff in mid-February as its new director of strategic marketing. In this role, Vollbrecht will work with CMI and CIAB to increase the awareness and consumption of American-grown Montmorency cherries by leveraging existing marketing strategies and seeking out new and innovative opportunities.

Pearse Lyons

Alltech president and founder dies

Alltech announces the passing of its founder and president, Dr. Pearse Lyons on March 8 at the age of 73. Lyons was a visionary entrepreneur who transformed the agriculture industry beginning with his innovative application of yeast technology in animal nutrition. Lyons was considered an "entrepreneur, salesman, marketer and scientist all rolled into one", and was widely regarded in the agribusiness sector as an innovator and industry leader. His son, Dr. Mark Pearse Lyons, serves as the company’s Chairman and President.

Patty Edelburg

Edelburg is NFU vice president

On March 5, the grassroots Farmers Union membership elected Wisconsin dairy farmer Patty Edelburg as NFU vice president. Edelburg milks 120 cows with her husband, Gary, and their children on their 350-acre Amherst farm, Front-Page Holsteins. She is a past state executive director for the Farm Service Agency, having served in that role from April 2016 through January 2017. She also has been active on the FSA State Committee for many years. Edelburg is active with the Wood-Portage-Waupaca Farmers Union. She served on the WFU Board of Directors for 12 years.

Ron Hovest

Hovest promoted at Remlinger Mfg.

Ron Hovest was promoted to the title of president at Remlinger Mfg. of Kalida, OH, a farm equipment manufacturer. Hovest is the oldest grandson of the founder, the late Wilbur Remlinger. Hovest has been with the company for over 30 years, most of which has been as chief engineer. His background in manufacturing and his overall understanding of Remlinger Mfg. Co. will make this an easy transition and allow the company to continue to provide the world with quality Remlinger products.

Jackie Bartels

Bartels joins Bio-Vet

Bio-Vet, Inc. announced that Jacquelyn (Jackie) Bartels has taken over the role of Accounting Manager following the retirement of Betty Bakken. Bartels previously worked for Compeer Financial in Dodgeville as a senior tax consultant serving a portfolio of clients. She and her husband, Kevin, live on a beef farm in southern Richland County.

Jenn Rountree

Rowntree named calf and heifer specialist

Dr. Jenn Rowntree has recently joined Vita Plus as a calf and heifer specialist.  Rowntree will provide on-farm support for sales staff within the company’s market area for all calf- and heifer-related subjects.  She will provide custom solutions to help dairy producers’ meet their calf and heifer program goals by utilizing current research and her practical experience as a veterinarian.

Rowntree most recently, she worked as an associate veterinarian servicing small and large animal owners across southwest Wisconsin.

Katrina Pokorny

Pokorny awarded leadership scholarship

Katrina Pokorny of the Waupun Area FFA Chapter was selected to receive one of only 14 Washington Leadership Workshop Scholarships from the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association, Inc. Each year, FFA members from all over the United States travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the Washington Leadership Conference.

Michael Schwindle

Schwindle promoted at Mills Fleet Farm

Mills Fleet Farm noted that Michael Schwindle has been appointed Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”). Schwindle was most recently CFO at Payless Shoe Source, and previously held CFO positions at both Harry & David and Musician’s Friend, a subsidiary of Guitar Center.

Jennifer Raboine

Raboine tapped as training coordinator

Jennifer Raboine has been promoted to training coordinator for SCR North America. Based in Madison, Raboine will coordinate the development and delivery of online and in-classroom training for SCR internal staff, partners and customers to support animal monitoring sales in North America.

Steve Breher

Breher is WCO Employee of the Year

The Wisconsin Custom Operators (WCO) recently honored an Elkhart Lake man for his hard work and dedication to a custom farming business. WCO’s 2018 Employee of the Year award was given to Steve Breher, an employee of Kraus Custom Forage Harvesting, on Feb. 21 during the organization’s annual meeting at the Forage Symposium. Breher has worked for Kraus Custom Forage Harvesting for 15 years, engaged in all aspects of harvesting, packing bunkers, merging hay, hauling silage and manure, maintaining and repairing equipment, and washing equipment during the winter.

Cris Peterson

Farmer appointed to UW Board of Regents

Governor Scott Walker recently appointment Cris Peterson to serve on the UW Board of Regents. This is the first time a farmer has held this position in more than a decade. A dairy farmer from Grantsburg, Peterson is also a nationally-known children’s book author. Numerous books written by Peterson have been named Book of the Year through Wisconsin’s Ag in the Classroom program.

Jose Soto

Soto named director at VitaPlus

Dr. Jose Soto has recently joined Vita Plus as the director of swine nutrition and product development. Soto will stay current on swine research and how it can be used to provide customers with cutting-edge products and nutritional services.  Soto will work closely with the Vita Plus swine team to continue to grow and develop the Vita Plus brand across the market area.

Soto grew up in Chile, a small country in South America, where he received undergraduate and graduate training in agricultural sciences and agricultural economics, respectively.

Dan Smith

Cooperative Network taps Smith

Daniel Smith has been selected to lead Cooperative Network as its President & CEO, effective Feb. 28, 2018. In this role, Smith will direct all activities of the two-state operations. His primary duties include working with all cooperative sectors, membership recruitment, directing the legislative and regulatory agenda in both Minnesota and Wisconsin, and working closely with cooperative directors, managers and employees.

Smith has spent the last four years serving as the Agricultural Development Division Administrator at the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Smith was tasked with farm and agri-business development services and marketing on a state, national and international level. Smith succeeds Interim President & CEO Gary Weber.

John Manske

Manske retires from Cooperative Network

After over 25 years of service to Cooperative Network and its more than 400 members, John Manske has announced his retirement from the organization, following the 2018 legislative session. During his time with Cooperative Network, and its predecessor organization, the Wisconsin Federation of Cooperatives, Manske was instrumental in the support of legislation that furthered the cooperative way. He helped establish the Dairy Investment Tax Credit and Co-op Care, which allowed farmers to form a cooperative for the purpose of purchasing health insurance. He also led efforts to modernize the two statutes that govern cooperatives in Wisconsin: Chapters 193 and 185.