Ag Faces in the Crowd

Wisconsin State Farmer
Dale Beaty

Dairy groups DBA and Edge hire Beaty

The Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative have hired

Dale Beaty, an experienced farm organization leader, to be director of member relations. Beaty will help expand services to farm members, including recruitment and member engagement, for the advocacy-focused sister organizations. Both are based in Wisconsin and, between them, they represent farmers and related businesses throughout the Midwest.

Beaty worked for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation for the past 15 years, first as a director of trainings and leadership development and most recently as chief administrative officer.

Compeer Financial recognized

The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation recently recognized partner Compeer Financial as a top 4-H donor.  Acknowledged as a Platinum Clover supporter, Compeer Financial contributed $20,000 to support Wisconsin 4-H programs through the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation. 

Karen Blatter-Schieler, Senior Corporate Giving Specialist at Compeer, said giving back is one way Compeer Financial champions the hopes and dreams of rural America. We support 4-H because it has a proven track record of creating successful, innovative programs that reach out to young people.

Barlass moves to new position at DBA and Edge

Nicole Barlass, who had been director of member relations for Dairy Business Association and Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative, has been named director of corporate relations, a new position.

Barlass is a former agricultural educator and Wisconsin Alice in Dairyland who has been with DBA and Edge for five years.

Nicole Barlass

Hecker named Select Specialist of the Year

Scott Hecker of Howards Grove, Wis. has been named the 2020 Select Reproductive Solutions® (SRS®) Specialist of the Year. This award recognizes an individual with excellent knowledge of reproductive physiology and unmatched service to customer-owner herds.

Hecker’s service to Select Sires began in 2006 as a large-herd A.I. technician for NorthStar Cooperative. In 2015, he transitioned to East Central/Select Sires. Today, as a member of the CentralStar team, Hecker fills the roles of  reproductive specialist, professional A.I. technician supervisor and CowManager® specialist. 

In his role, Hecker works with customer-owners to review reproductive performance and develop strategies to not only meet but exceed their herd goals. 

Weigel recipient of faculty award for excellence

Kent Weigel

Kent A. Weigel is the recipient of the Robert G.F. and Hazel T. Spitze Land Grant Faculty Award for Excellence. Weigel is a professor and chair of UW-Madison Dairy Science. He has served as the department chair since 2010 and is one of the most active faculty advisors of dairy science undergraduate students.

Weigel is considered to be one of the world’s top quantitative geneticists. He has helped improve the health, fertility, and productivity of dairy cattle through genetics and genomics research, which has been shared with a multitude of people. He is a highly sought-after speaker at Extension meetings throughout the state, country and world.

Weigel has also been a productive researcher throughout his career. He has authored or co-authored over 190 peer reviewed journal articles, and he has been awarded $3.8 million in grants as the principal investigator over the past 10 years. He is a co-investigator for other project awards that total $3.0 million since 2010.

Landmark welcomes Seibert

Lacey Seibert

Landmark Services Cooperative has hired Lacey Seibert as vice president of the grain division, effective June 1, 2020. In this role, Seibert will lead the grain team focusing on strategic planning, business profitability and employee growth and development.

Seibert most recently held the role of Farm Advisement Director for a marketing group with 130 million bushels of licensed storage capacity.  For the last 12 years, she has been working in the grain industry and specializing in on-farm grain origination and merchandising.

Wiepz named superintendent

Rebecca Wiepz has been named superintendent of Peninsular Agricultural Research Station (PARS), the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s 120-acre research farm located near Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, on the Door Peninsula.

Wiepz, who starts as superintendent on June 1, has specialized experience in fruit crop research and familiarity with PARS where she was once a research gardener. She returns to the station to oversee a robust orchard fruit program that serves the state's fruit crop industry and UW–Madison researchers. Her work will also consider the distinct soil structure at PARS to address the unique nutrient management challenges on the Door Peninsula.

Rebecca Wiepz

Amend promoted at Equity

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association announced the promotion of Hut Amend as assistant manager at the cooperative’s Sparta location. Amend has a degree in Ag Business Management from Fox Valley Technical College and he has an auctioneering certifi cate from Continental Auctioneer School.

 In his role, Amend will balance his time between serving producers in the country and also assisting in the sale barn offering his expertise on cattle passing through the facility. He started working part-time as a yard worker at Equity’s Lomira market 5 1/2 years ago. In addition to Lomira, he also was helping at the Arlington, Johnson Creek and Monrore markets.

Kim Pokorny

Pokorny named WFBF’s Chief Administrative Officer

Kim Pokorny has been selected as Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation’s Chief Administrative Officer. Pokorny will oversee all day-to-day operations and staff for the Madison-based, Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation, which is the state’s largest general farm organization.

Pokorny most recently served as the executive director for the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association where she led operations of the organization. Additionally, she led the Food Armor® Foundation. Prior to her involvement with WVMA, Pokorny served as a program manager for the Professional Dairy Producers.

Kim grew up on a registered Brown Swiss farm in Monroe. Today, she and her husband, Doyle, reside on a small farm in Waupun with their three children Dylon, Katrina and Cameron. 

Pokorny succeeds Dave Daniels, who served as the WFBF’s interim CAO. She begins her duties as CAO on August 17.

Blazek to WEDC’s Office of Rural Prosperity

Kelliann Blazek has been named the first director of the newly created Office of Rural Prosperity within the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC).

The governor called for creating the Office of Rural Prosperity as a “one-stop shop for folks to navigate state programs and resources tailored to rural communities, businesses and workers.” Blazek is currently staff counsel for U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine, where she oversees a policy portfolio including agriculture, rural development and trade.

Most recently, Blazek developed comprehensive federal legislation focused on climate-smart farming to promote environmental and economic resiliency in agriculture. She has also worked on agriculture policy at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and Harvard Law School’s Food Law and Policy Clinic.

Kelliann Blazek

Seffrood joins Equity office in Monroe

Sandy Seffrood is the new office manager at Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association’s Monroe location. Seffrood has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, with an emphasis on dairy.

As Office Manager, she will oversee all of the office functions and office staff at the Monroe market. She lives in South Wayne with her husband, Stuart, on their beef farm.

Zlesak named CAFES Outstanding UWRF faculty member

David Zlesak, professor of horticulture, has received the 2020 Outstanding Faculty Award from his colleagues in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at UW-River Falls.

As the 2020 recipient, Zlesak is also honored nationally with the Teaching Award of Merit from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) in recognition of meritorious efforts in college teaching.

David Zlesak

Zlesak is a Wisconsin native and 1993 graduate of the horticulture program at UW-River Falls. He returned to UW-River Falls as a faculty member in 2009.

Queiser tapped to lead Altoona office

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association announced that Amber Queiser is now also serving as office manager at the cooperative’s Altoona location. Queiser serves as office manager at the cooperative’s Barron location as well.

She began working the dock at the Barron market in November 2018, and was named Barron office manager in January 2019. She has significant experience in the agriculture industry. As office manager, she will oversee all of the office functions and staff at the Altoona market in her expanded role.

Snodgrass to head Armor Animal Health

Armor Animal Health™, a privately held provider of animal health and veterinary products, announced that Lynn Snodgrass has been named as President and Chief Executive Officer. Bryan Meier, who has been acting Chief Executive Officer as well as Chief Financial Officer for the last two months will continue as Chief Financial Officer.

Snodgrass has more than 20 years of senior management experience, on both the manufacturer and distributor sides of the industries of human health/pharma, small and large animal health, consumables, diagnostics and equipment. 

Lynn Snodgrass

Buttles, Orth, Schultz re-elected to PDPW board

Three incumbents were re-elected to the Professional Dairy Producers® (PDPW) Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 year. Members re-elected Andy Buttles of Lancaster, Wis.; Steve Orth of Cleveland, Wis.; and Katy Schultz of Fox Lake, Wis. to their second three-year terms during its Virtual Business Conference.

Buttles owns and manages Stone-Front Farm with his wife Lyn. The dairy consists of 1,250 cows and employs 25 team members. Orth is co-owner and general manager in his family farm, Orthland Dairy Farm LLC, which consists of 1,100 cows and 900 heifers, operates 2,300 acres of land and is supported by 18 team members. Schultz owns Tri-Fecta Farms Inc. with her siblings Kari and Nick. The farm has 500 cows, raises all their young stock and manages 2,000 acres. Schultz is the on-farm manager for daily operations, including livestock and employees.

Lauren Laubscher

Laubscher joined member services team

Lauren Laubscher, a professional with a broad range of experience working with farms and other agricultural businesses, has joined the member services team at Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

Laubscher is delivering member engagement and verification services for Edge members throughout the Midwest. Laubscher had served in marketing and sales roles related to animal care, genetics and reproduction, rendering and other areas before starting at the co-op in February.

She had worked with dairy farmers in Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula as well as hog, poultry and feed mills around the country. She and her husband own a 500-calf veal farm in Shawano, Wis.

Equity announces board of directors

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association’s regional board of director officers includes the following: Les Danielson, Chairman of the Board, Cadott, WI (District VI) David Wilke, Vice Chairman of the Board, Ripon, WI (District II) Steve Schleis, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board, Kewaunee, WI (District III) Karl Merow, Assistant Secretary/Treasurer of the Board, Sparta, WI (District VII).

Other directors include: Adam Quandahl. Waukon, IA (District X) Brad Solchenberger, Richland Center, WI (District IX) Allan Cihlar, Mosinee, WI (District V) Pete Kleiman, Wilson, MI (District IV) Daniel Leischer, Neosho, WI (District I) Dwight Truttmann, Mt. Horeb, WI (District VIII).

Peterson, Lee named CAFES Outstanding Seniors at UWRF

The College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls recently announced that Gabrielle Peterson and Virginia Lee are recipients of the Rochelle Junkman Seymour Award and the Dr. Earl Hildebrand Memorial Award. Both annual awards honor outstanding seniors.

Gabrielle Peterson

Peterson, an animal science-companion animal major from Glenwood City, is the recipient of the Rochelle Junkman Seymour Award for the graduating senior with the highest GPA in the college. She was a member of the Honors Program, on the staff at the University Center, and an officer for the Companion Animal Respect and Education (CARE) Club.

Lee, of Mequon, is the recipient of the Dr. Earl Hildebrand Memorial Award, honoring a student who best exemplifies a combination of scholastic achievement, extracurricular involvement and leadership roles in CAFES. Students are nominated by faculty and the recipient is selected by the CAFES Scholarship Committee.

Lee is among the first class of graduates of the agricultural engineering program. She will return to Ecuador this August as a Year-Long Volunteer (YLV) at the Working Boys’ Center where she will teach two classes. After returning from Ecuador, she plans to enter the workforce for a few years before considering continuing her education in a graduate program.

Virginia Lee

FTD announces scholarship recipients

Coming up on the third year since the Kewaunee County Wisconsin Farm Technology Days took place, the Executive Committee announced the second group of students who will be receiving funds from the Second Half Scholarship Fund.

Those awarded were to have graduated from high schools including Algoma, Denmark, Kewaunee, Luxemburg-Casco, Mishicot, and Southern Door. This year’s recipients include: Michael Moede, Algoma,  graduate student in Dairy Science at UW Madison; Jeremy Schlies, Denmark, attending UW-Madison Farm & Industry Short Course; Brynne Wolfe, Kewaunee, graduate student at UW-Milwaukee;  Taylor Paye, Luxemburg-Casco High School, attending UW-River Falls; Kimberly Van Donsel, Luxemburg-Casco, attending UW-Platteville; and Molly Thorne, Mishicot, attending UW-River Falls.

A total of $6,000 was awarded in 2020, and a total of $60,000 will be awarded over a 10-year period.

Newsmakers in the agricultural world