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Ag Faces in the Crowd

Wisconsin State Farmer
Pete Curran

Curran is membership director for WFU

Wisconsin Farmers Union announced that Pete Curran has been hired as Membership Director. In this role, Curran will be responsible for membership support, growth and engagement.

Curran has spent 30 years in marketing, sales and nonprofit management. Most recently, he served as a sales representative for Pioneer Seeds. He also served as a volunteer for the 2019 Farm Technology Days and helped coordinate fundraising and planning of Ag Career Day, an educational event for students.

An avid photographer, Curran is also known for his Facebook page, “When I listened to a farmer:” which celebrates farmers as the original American entrepreneur.

Cory Vande Wettering

Keller, Inc. names Vande Wettering as president

Cory Vande Wettering has been named President of Keller, Inc., replacing Wayne Stellmacher who had been President and CEO since 2006.  After spending 12 years in sales, Vande Wettering intends to continue to lead Keller into the future, while still maintaining the integrity Keller has earned over the past 60 years.

Stellmacher will continue to be a critical member of the Keller team as their Chief Executive Officer, remaining highly involved until his retirement in the first quarter of 2021.  Stellmacher will remain a Keller Board Member beyond his retirement date. 

WI members to serve on AFBF Issue Advisory Committees

Three Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation members have been named to American Farm Bureau’s Issue Advisory Committees. The 13 committees will meet in Washington, D.C. at the end of February.

 AFBF’s Issue Advisory Committees provide an avenue for Farm Bureau’s grassroots leaders to contribute their issue expertise to the organization’s policy deliberations.

Joe Bragger
Don Radtke

Outcomes of the committees’ deliberations include advice and counsel to the AFBF Board of Directors on policy-related actions AFBF might be advised to take, recommendations for state Farm Bureau policy development and policy recommendations to the AFBF Resolutions Committee.

Joe Bragger of Independence was selected to serve a two-year term on the water committee. This committee covers Clean Water Act issues, national and regional water storage programs, Army Corps of Engineers water related efforts and flood control. Bragger is a dairy and poultry farmer and serves as WFBF’s President.

Robert Nigh
Dave Daniels

Don Radtke of Merrill was appointed to a two-year term on the agricultural labor committee. He and his fellow committee members will explore topics like guest worker programs, OSHA regulations, employment taxes and health care. Radtke is a Marathon County Farm Bureau leader and former WFBF board member.

Robert Nigh of Viroqua will serve a two-year term on the animal care committee. This committee will examine current animal care and animal health standards, antibiotic use and livestock processing. Nigh is a dairy farmer and serves as the District 3 Director on WFBF’s Board.

Dave Daniels of Union Grove was selected to serve a two-year term on the farm policy committee. This committee discusses risk management, crop insurance, price and income support programs and conservation programs. Daniels is a dairy farmer and WFBF’s Vice President.

Sally Turpin

Turpin named to AFBF Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee

Sally Turpin has been appointed by the American Farm Bureau Federation to its Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee for the 2020-2022 term beginning in March.

The national committee is comprised of 16 positions representing all regions of the U.S. An individual or a couple may hold each committee position. Turpin is also a member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Agriculturist Committee.

Turpin worked as an agronomist for several years and then as a dairy consultant for the past six years. She is now an energy services representative for WPPI Energy

Charitee Seebecker

Seebecker joins Wisconsin Holstein Association staff

Charitee Seebecker was recently hired as the director of sales and membership for the Wisconsin Holstein Association. She began her new duties in Nov. 2019.

 In her role, Seebecker is responsible for membership recruitment and maintenance, leading sponsorship efforts and educational programming, helping sell advertisements for the Wisconsin Holstein News and assisting with WHA events. 

Prior to joining the team at WHA, Seebecker served as the AmeriCorps farm to school specialist where she educated kids about Wisconsin agriculture.

Matt Lippert

Lippert expands duties with UW Extension

Clark County Extension has a new Dairy and Livestock Agent. Matt Lippert, also the Wood County Agriculture Agent, is now serving Clark County half time. Lippert has worked with many dairy producers across North Central Wisconsin offering help with nutrition, raising heifers, facility design, genetics, herd health and many other dairy management related topics.

He has first-hand experience as a member of his family dairy farm. Lippert is excited to be a part of Clark County the largest dairy county in Wisconsin.

WCMA adds staff as Member Services Expand

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (WCMA) recently welcomed Ellie Herman to its staff as Communications, Education and Policy Coordinator, as the organization’s member services continue to grow.

Ellie Herman

Herman will help members engage in industry-specific trainings, workforce recruitment initiatives, communications presence and major events. Herman has experience managing social media campaigns and organizing events.

WCMA also recently promoted Sara Schmidt to the role of Office and Member Service Manager, running the Association’s scholarship program, elevating its online and print member directory, welcoming new members, and guiding special projects. She also manages WCMA’s accounting and database systems, and has been with WCMA since August 2018.

Jayne Krull

Krull named to new post at DATCP

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has hired Lake Mills native Jayne Krull as the director of the Agriculture and Farm Center, a bureau of DATCP’s Division of Agricultural Development.

As director of the Ag and Farm Center, Krull will lead a staff of agricultural program specialists who provide support and assistance for farm issues such as business and financial planning, transition and succession planning, production concerns, starting or exiting farming, conflict resolution, and counseling services.

Krull also will oversee staff who manage the Something Special from Wisconsin, Alice in Dairyland and Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin programs; agricultural marketing boards; and the cultivated ginseng program.

Bulgrin new president of National Onion Assoc.

Doug Bulgrin, the onion packing shed manager for Guma Farms of Endeavor, Wis., is the new president of the National Onion Association. Bulgrin was elected to the two-year term in December, at the association’s annual convention in Naples, Fla.

Bulgin has been with Gumz Farms and its predecessor, Lewiston Corp., for 30 years. He plans to focus on increasing NOA membership and member participation. He has been involved in the association, working on food safety issues, and has visited Washington, D.C., on industry business last year.

Doug Bulgrin

WALSAA welcomes new members to Board of Directors

The Wisconsin Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association (WALSAA) is named Helen Holtz and Kay Maas as the newest members of the WALSAA Board of Directors. Holtz completed two years at FISC and  works on her family’s beef and lamb farm and has started her own business installing native pollinator habitats and micro prairies.

Maas is a consulting clinical registered dietitian nutritionist. She attended UW-Madison and CALS to earn an undergraduate degree in bacteriology, meat and animal science, and a master’s degree in meat and animal Science. Maas is a lifetime member of WALSAA and is interested in focusing on scholarship opportunities for CALS students while serving on the Board of Directors.  

Rick Roden

DFW Board appoints Roden

Dairy farmer Rick Roden has been appointed to the board of directors of the Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. Roden will serve as the representative for District 18 covering Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha Counties.

Roden filles the position formerly held by Sheboygan Falls dairy farmer and former DFW board member Dean Strauss following his untimely death. Roden will serve District 18 through the remaining term.

WI Agribusiness Classic

During the Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic, new board members were elected during the 2020 Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) Annual Meeting. They include: Chris DeLong, DeLong Company; Ashley Gausman, Rosen’s Inc.; and Dawn McCluskey, Allied Cooperative.

The 2020-21 officer team was also named and includes President: Thomas Hoffman, United Cooperative; Vice President: Rob Evans, Rosen’s Inc.; Secretary: Tony Grapsas, Jay-Mar Inc. and Treasurer: Garry Gard, Didion Inc.

Recipients of the 2019 WABA Awards, that were recognized include: Distinguished Organization Award (for exemplary industry professionalism): ProVision Partners Cooperative; Education Award (for leadership and commitment to educational excellence): Wayne Nighorn, Agres Consulting LLC; Outstanding Service to Industry (for dedication and support to WABA and its members): Stan Buenzow, BASF (Retired); Friend of WABA Award: Joel Nilsestuen, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation; President’s Service Award (for dedication, service and leadership): Guy Mathias, Heartland AG Systems, Inc.; and Board Member Service Award (for full-term Board of Directors service): Mike Christenson, Countryside Cooperative; Erik Huschitt, Badger State Ethanol; Guy Mathias, Heartland AG Systems, Inc..

Eric Sanden

Sanden UWRF Adviser of the Year

Eric Sanden, professor of conservation and environmental planning, has been named the 2019 Adviser of the Year at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He was formally presented with the award at the UWRF Spring Semester Opening Meeting January 21.

Current students and recent alumni submitted nominations for the award which was established by UWRF in 2000. The Faculty Senate Advising Committee then reviewed the nominations and made a recommendation to the Chancellor. 

Sanden joined the faculty at UW-River Falls in 1992 after earning his Ph.D. in range science from Texas Tech University. In 2015, Sanden was honored with the Outstanding Faculty Award for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science (CAFES) at UWRF. That same year he was named director of the CAFES Internship Program, a long-standing program in the college.

Liz Matzke

State Fair Dairy Promotion Board welcomes Matzke

The Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board announced the addition of Liz Matzke as program assistant. Matzke will provide support to Executive Director Katy Katzman in this newly-formed position by assisting with volunteers, sponsorships and marketing materials.

Matzke brings a variety of skills and experiences to the position. For more than a decade, she was employed by World Dairy Expo. Most recently, she developed a full retail store and marketing materials for Chrome Six Nine and Matzke Diesel. Matzke grew up on a dairy farm near Monroe and participated in numerous Wisconsin State Fair activities as a youth exhibitor.e Fair Dairy Promotion Board on Facebook.