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

Wisconsin State Farmer
Mark Rhoda-Reis

Rhoda-Reis joins DATCP

Mark Rhoda-Reis has been hired as the director of the International Agribusiness Center (IABC), a bureau of the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s Division of Agricultural Development.

With more than 30 years of experience in international sales, business development and marketing management, Rhoda-Reis will lead a staff of economic development consultants whose job is to provide education, technical assistance and support to Wisconsin farms and agribusinesses to help them reach new international markets.

Rhoda-Reis comes to the IABC with extensive business development experience for a broad range of industries in markets in the U.S, Central and South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East. For the past seven years, he was responsible for trade development in Mexico and foreign direct investment promotion and attraction with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin’s lead economic development agency.

His industry experience includes both industrial and consumer products and agriculture. At WEDC, he helped grow the international business of many companies in key industry sectors such as agriculture, food and beverage, manufacturing, water technology, energy power control, bio-health and aerospace. In the private sector, Rhoda-Reis has been an entrepreneur and has led international sales, overseas offices, and independent agents, dealers and distributors.

Andis Foundation honored

The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation announced today that Andis Foundation was honored once again as a major partner and contributor at the 2018 Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame Ceremony and Gala. The Foundation is a supporter of the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation’s livestock judging activities for youth ages 5-19.

WI State Farmer awarded at WNA contest

Colleen Kottke

The Wisconsin State Farmer won six awards at the 2018 Wisconsin Newspaper Association’s newspaper contest. Award-winners were recognized March 7 at the WNA’s annual convention in Madison.

Editor Colleen Kottke earned two second place award for environmental reporting (Brickstead Dairy rock solid on conservation) and both a third place (Waupun community pulls together following devastating tornado) and honorable mention (Women in Agriculture: Not just farm wives) in the feature (non-profile category). She also collected a third place in business coverage (Pagel calf ranch; Welder Jerry Hubert and Kelley Creamery honor flights).

Carol Spaeth Bauer

Associate Editor Carol Spaeth-Bauer earned a second place (Evansville youth sells pig) and an honorable mention award (Blind sheep) in the feature (profile) category.

Towns to lobby for WFBF

Former lawmaker Debi Towns has been hired by the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation as its senior director of governmental relations. As a registered lobbyist for WFBF, Towns will assist Farm Bureau members in working with local, state and federal lawmakers to advance the policy directives for Wisconsin’s largest general farm organization.

Debi Towns

Towns comes to Farm Bureau from the Wisconsin Housing & Economic Development Authority where she served as the legislative relationships and government liaison. She previously served two terms in the State Assembly where she represented Wisconsin’s 43rd District. 

Dairyland Seed announces contest winners

Dairyland Seed recently announced the National and State winners for its annual Corn and Soybean Yieldmaster Contests. The Early Zone Soybean Yieldmaster was awarded to Harvest Moon Acres, LLC of Cleveland, WI, with a yield of 82.9 bushels per acre with DSR-1721/R2Y. 

Individual state winners include: Corn Yieldmasters--Moravits Farms, Inc. of Bloomington, 1; Frank Raemisch, Brooklyn, 2; Terry Engen, Beloit, 3. Soybean Yieldmasters--Harvest Moon Acres, LLC, Cleveland, 1; Michael Mader, Menasha, 2; and Dan & Cherrie Johnson, Evansville, 3.

Spencer Hamilton

Dept. of Defense honors Brakebush Bros.

Spencer Hamilton and Dan Steffens of Brakebush Brothers were nominated by employee Jonathon Kays for a Patriot Award in recognition of extraordinary support of an employee serving in the Army National Guard. Kays is a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard. The Patriot Award is only presented to employers who not only hire Guard and Reserve members, but demonstrate superior support to the military employee and his/her family.

Dan Steffens

Davidson joins Diamond V

Diamond V continues to grow its sales and service team, with Jill Davidson, Ph.D., joining the company as National Account Manager – Technical Service Specialist. In her new role, Jill will have two distinct areas of focus: providing technical assistance for key accounts and working closely with the company’s Dairy Research and Field Technical Service teams to assist with the development and execution of dairy research initiatives.

CentralStar to sponsor family night

CentralStar is kicking off its new merger by sponsoring family night at National Holstein Convention. This “platinum”-level contribution, in partnership with Select Sires Inc., will be used to host family night at Lambeau Field, Tuesday, June 25. The National Holstein Convention will be held June 24-27, in the Fox Valley region of America’s Dairyland. The convention will feature farm tours, seminars, junior Holstein contests, and more.

Mikayla Berge

Berge to head WDE Trade Show

World Dairy Expo has welcomed Mikayla Berge as Trade Show Coordinator. Berge’s responsibilities include assisting with all aspects of sponsorship and Trade Show management, from corresponding with past, present and prospective exhibitors, to floor plan design and sponsor deliverables.

Berge, most recently, she was a customer service representative for Madison based, Boviteq, USA. In addition, Berge gained on-farm experience as a Dairy Field Technician for AgSource Dairy and as a Loss Control Representative surveying farmers with Nationwide Insurance.

Sorenson is AQUA Innovations CEO

John Sorenson is the new CEO at AQUA Innovations. Sorenson has more than 20 years of executive leadership experience, including roles as chief financial officer and expatriate for an international manufacturing company.

Sorenson’s international and national executive leadership experience will be a major asset to the Wisconsin-based company as it grows and provide farmers with sustainable solutions.

Casper Bendixsen

NFMC names new director

Casper “Cap” Bendixsen, Ph.D., a research scientist specializing in social-cultural anthropology, has been named director of the National Farm Medicine Center, part of Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, effective March 3.

Bendixsen joined Farm Medicine in 2013. His own farming and ranching background has helped in bringing agricultural communities into all phases of research, with the ultimate goal of improving their health and safety. He follows in the footsteps of Barbara Lee, Ph.D., who will continue her research program as the Dean Emanuel Endowed Chair, and as director of the NIOSH-funded National Children’s Center for Rural and Agricultural Health and Safety.

WCMA recognizes contest leaders

Steve Krause
John Jaeggi

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association honored Steve Krause, John Jaeggi, and John Umhoefer for their work to support and grow the U.S. Championship Cheese Contest.

The Eggebrecht Award was given to Steve Krause, a 25-year Contest volunteer. Before retiring, Krause worked in the cheese industry for more than 50 years, starting as a third-generation cheesemaker at Krause Dairy in Morgan, Wis..

John Jaeggi who has served as a Contest judge for more than a decade was presented with the Aschebrock Award. Jaeggi works as Cheese Industry & Applications Coordinator at the Center for Dairy Research.

John Umhoefer

The Schlinsog Award was given to John Umhoefer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association. In John’s 27-year tenure leading the events, both Championship Cheese Contests have grown by leaps and bounds, growing from a few hundred entries to now thousands.

Schmitt to be inducted Hall of Fame

On May 13, the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame will be inducting Aroline Schmitt, a woman infamous for her stand on sustainable forestry. Schmitt was a pioneering woman and citizen conservationist, who worked in a man’s world during the 1930-1960s. She advanced sustainable forestry and promoted fledgling conservation organizations and initiatives in Wisconsin and the nation.

She helped organize and led the Citizens Natural Resources Association, which was the leading organization involved with banning DDT in Wisconsin.

Pete Kappelman

Kappelman joins Land O'Lakes, Inc.

Land O'Lakes, Inc. announced that Pete Kappelman joined the company as Senior Vice President, Member and Government Relations. Kappelman, a fourth generation dairy and crop farmer, brings a wealth of experience to this role, with his advocacy experience and board involvement with many agricultural organizations on the state and national level.

In his new role, Kappelman will be responsible for leveraging Land O'Lakes resources to help the cooperative's members grow profitably and to strengthen partnerships on technology, talent, branding and financial services. He will have direct responsibility for the Member Relations and Government Relations functions as well as the Business Development Services and Strategic Asset Management teams. Additionally, he will work across the enterprise to offer Land O'Lakes members value-added products and services.

Eric Wenberg

Wenberg to head SSGA

Specialty Soya and Grains Alliance (SSGA) announced Eric Wenberg has been named executive director of the organization. Wenberg began his duties with meetings with USDA officials in Washington, D.C., and will visit the Japanese embassy. Wenberg’s  knowledge and experience with agricultural exports throughout the world make him well positioned to lead SSGA and develop the organization as a leader in the global food industry.

Rowe tapped for performance

Cleary Building Corp. Branch Manager Jim Rowe was recently recognized for outstanding sales performance in 2018. He works out of the company’s Wausau, WI branch office. Rowe was presented with Cleary’s Excellence in Sales Award, given to top Cleary sales performers for exhibiting a highly professional sales personality, energy, drive and motivation leading to dedication, leadership and excellence in all aspects of sales.

Finalists selected in logo contest

Five finalists were named for the Wisconsin Rural Opportunities Foundation, Inc. (WROF, Inc.) “New Year, New Look” logo design contest. A $500 scholarship will be awarded to the winning design that best reflects the organization’s mission and vision.

The five finalists are: Adam Alan Nelson – Senior in Digital & Visual Communications at the UW-Milwaukee; Gabe Ballweg – Junior in Design and Visual Communication at the UW–Milwaukee; Maddy Sharkey – Junior in Design & Visual Communications at the UW–Milwaukee; Ryan Yaeger – Senior in Graphic Design Program at Madison College; and Sarah Weh – Sophomore in Web Design and Development at Edgewood College

The public can view the entries and vote for the top three at beginning March 27. The voting will end midnight Friday, April 19. The winner will be announced in early May.

Sarah Weh
Gabe Ballweg
Ryan Yaeger
Maddy Sharkey
Adam Alan Nelson
Newsmakers in the agricultural world