Ag Faces in the Crowd

Wisconsin State Farmer
Mike Opperman

Opperman new executive director of National Dairy Shrine

Mike Opperman will take over as the new Executive Director for the National Dairy Shrine on Aug. 1 following the retirement of Dr. David Selner.

Opperman has more than 30 years of dairy and agriculture-industry experience, including 15 years with the marketing communications agency Charleston|Orwig, and nearly 4 years as Director of Dairy Content for Farm Journal.  He currently owns his own communications and public relations firm, Black Dirt Communications, in Fort Atkinson, Wis.

Andrews UW-RF Distinguished Agriculturalist

Kristine Andrews, associate vice president for federal relations for the University of Wisconsin System, has been named the 2020 Wisconsin Distinguished Agriculturalist by the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES) at UW-River Falls.

Kris Andrews

Andrews has a long association with UW-River Falls and CAFES and her greatest impact on UWRF and the greater agricultural community came through her role in the establishment and continued funding of the USDA-NIFA program for providing capacity building funds to non-land-grant institutions such as UWRF that have programming in agriculture and related areas.

Since 2012, there has been approximately $5 million annually in the USDA-NIFA NLGCA Capacity Building Grants Program available to fund competitive proposals in teaching, research, outreach and integrated programs across these areas.

Rutlin retires from Westby Creamery

Longtime sales manager for Westby Creamery Mark Rutlin retired this month after almost 18 years with the Co-op. His career in the dairy industry began over 40 years ago after he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Jeff Thompson

Thompson joins FarmFirst Dairy Coop team

Jeff Thompson recently joined the management team at FarmFirst Dairy Cooperative as the Director of Accounting and Finance. Jeff began his duties on March 30.  He previously worked for AgSource Cooperative and Cooperative Resources International.

Thompson brings a great deal of cooperative business experience to the position, with more than 20 years of experience overseeing all aspects of accounting while managing a team of employees, developing and coordinating budget planning, working with a board of directors and setting benchmarks to meet their goals, performing internal audits, evaluating potential acquisitions and divestments, and conducting financial analysis of new projects and continued growth.

Louie Gentine

Gentine elected to Lakeside Board

Sargento CEO Louie Gentine II was elected to the Lakeside Foods Board of Directors. Gentine is one of three non-family members on Lakeside’s nine-member board.

He is CEO and a third-generation family member of Sargento Foods, a leading manufacturer and marketer of shredded, sliced and snack natural cheese products. Gentine became CEO in 2013, after holding numerous leadership roles within the company since 2000.

Schultz elected president of PDPW board

Katy Schultz of Fox Lake, Wis. was elected president of the Professioal Dairy Producers Board of Directors for the 2020-2021 year. Joining her on the executive committee are Janet Clark, Rosendale, Wis., vice president; John Haag, Dane, Wis, secretary and Jay Heeg, Colby, Wis, treasurer.

Katy Schultz

Schultz owns Tri-Fecta Farms Inc. with her siblings Kari and Nick. Katy is the on-farm manager for daily operations, including livestock and employees. Clark and her husband Travis joined her family’s dairy, Vision Aire Farms, LLC in 2010. Janet manages the financials and calves. Heeg is dairy manager and human resource manager at Heeg Brothers Dairy LLC, which he owns and operates with brothers Mark and Gary. Haag owns and operates Haag Dairy, LLC, with his son Josh.

The newly elected advisor is Roger Olson of Zinpro Corporation

Lauren Langworthy

Wisconsin Farmers Union welcomes Langworthy

Lauren Langworthy has joined the team as Director of Special Projects at Wisconsin Farmers Union. In this role, Langworthy will be pursuing projects of highest priority to WFU members.

Langworthy worked for the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) since 2015, most recently serving as Executive Director. She had served on the WFU Board of Directors since 2016. She began her duties July 13 and is based out of the WFU headquarters in Chippewa Falls

Rebout appointed to DATCP board

Farmer Doug Rebout has been appointed to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Board. Rebout is a partner in Roger Rebout & Sons Farms near Janesville. The farm includes over 4,200 acres of cropland, 280 Holstein and crossbred steers, and 400 custom-raised heifers.

Doug Rebout

Rebout is actively engaged in public and community service, currently serving as the president of the Wisconsin Corn Growers Association and as a member of the Governor's Task Force on Climate Change.

The DATCP Board is comprised of citizen members appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Legislature.

Yahara WINS partnership exceeds phosphorus reduction goals

Local partners prevented 55,000 pounds of phosphorus from entering local water bodies in 2019 as part of the Yahara WINS project, a cooperative effort to reduce algae blooms and other water quality issues caused by excessive phosphorus in waterways. 

In the third full year of the project, Yahara WINS again exceeded its phosphorus reduction goal for the year, placing it on track to achieve the yearly phosphorus reductions necessary to meet goals set by the end of the 20-year project. The reduction in 2019 was also higher than the annual reductions achieved in the first two years of the full-scale project.

Project leaders say the reduction demonstrates growing momentum in local phosphorus-reduction efforts, but they emphasize that continued commitment is vital to the project succeeding despite climate change and other challenges. 

Greg Hutchins

Hutchins inducted into 4-H National Hall of Fame 

Long time Wisconsin 4-H Youth Development Director Greg Hutchins has been inducted into the 4-H National Hall of Fame. Hutchins joined the UW-Madison Division of Extension in 1994 as a State 4-H Youth Development Director and Assistant Dean before retiring in 2015.

Before coming to Wisconsin, Hutchins worked in 4-H programs in Kansas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Alabama. In 2019, Hutchins was one of five people inducted into the Wisconsin 4-H Hall of Fame.

Equity recognized as Green Diamond Clover donor

The Wisconsin 4-H Foundation recently recognized partner Equity Livestock Sales Association as a top 4-H donor. Acknowledged as a Green Diamond supporter, Equity contributed $100,000 to support Wisconsin 4-H programs through the Wisconsin 4-H Foundation. 

Equity Livestock was established in 1922 as a federated cooperative, and aids producers in the marketing, managing, and financing of their agricultural businesses. state.  Nearly 150,000 youth participate in the Wisconsin 4-H program each year, and more than 22,000 volunteers support the program.

Peter Scharpe

Scharpe on board member services team

Peter Scharpe has joined the member services team at Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative.

Scharpe will deliver member engagement and verification services for Edge members throughout the Midwest, primarily in Minnesota.

During his career, Scharpe has served as a news reporter, commercial loan processor, product specialist and sales consultant in different areas of agriculture. He also worked alongside farmers as a product specialist for Advanced Crop Nutrition, as a route manager and sales specialist with Profit Pro and as a representative for Farrow to Finish Pipestone Systems.

Jr. Holstein breeders tapped for awards

Four Wisconsin Junior Holstein Association members have been recognized by Holstein Association USA for breeding awards.

Recognized for bred and owned Holsteins producing over 150,000 lbs. of milk int their lifetime are Allison Breunig and Collin Wille. Ben Kronberg was also honored for having a cow in the elite category of producing over 200,000 lbs. earning a Lifetime Production award.

Wisconsin junior Christina Buttles placed two animals in the Top 10 earning a National Cream of the Crop award, which recognizes cows producing the highest combined total pounds of fat and protein during a 305-day lactation.

Anna Kitzerow

Kitzerow crowned Sheboygan County Fairest

Anna Kitzerow of Cascade, is the newly selected 2020 Sheboygan County Fairest of the Fair. Kitzerow, along with five other candidates competed for the position during the annual Fairest of the Fair Gala.

Anna Kitzerow, 19, is a graduate of Plymouth High School and is currently a Sophomore at Oklahoma State University. Anna is majoring in Animal Science & Agriculture Business.

Pralle and Sanford to join Dairy Hub staff

Ryan Pralle and Joseph Sanford will serve as faculty at UW-Platteville under the Dairy Innovation Hub. They will be employed by the UWP School of Agriculture, where they will spend 70 percent of their time in research and the remainder teaching students about their findings.

The Dairy Innovation Hub, which is being funded by the 2019-21 state budget, harnesses research and development at the campus, along with UW-Madison and UW-River Falls to keep Wisconsin's dairy industry at the global forefront in producing nutritious dairy products.

Charlie Mitchell

Mitchell is Farmer Labor Organizer for WFU

Developing grassroots power in support of farmer-labor solidarity will be the focus of a newly created position within Wisconsin Farmers Union will be the focus of new hire Charlie Mitchell as farmer labor organizer.

Mitchell’s background is rooted in food and agriculture communities and in organizations focused on policy, activism, and economic and environmental change. Mitchell began his duties July 20.

Dave Buholzer

WCMA announces 2020-2021 Board of Directors

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association announced new officers and new members for the 2020- 21 Board of Directors, with terms beginning July 1. Dave Buholzer of Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe, WI will return as Board President for his second year. Steve Bechel of Eau Galle Cheese Factory in Durand, WI, will return as First Vice President, Doug Wilke of Valley Queen Cheese Factory in Milbank, SD, will join executive team as Second Vice President.

Mike Neu of Chr. Hansen in Milwaukee, WI, will return as Treasurer, and Greg Siegenthaler of Grande Cheese Company, Fond du Lac, WI, will return as Secretary.

Four industry leaders are joining the WCMA Board, including: Jeff Gentine of Masters Gallery Foods, in Plymouth, WI, Richard Guggisberg of Guggisberg Cheese in Millersburg, OH, Chris Renard of Renard’s Cheese, Sturgeon Bay, WI, and Bruce Workman of Edelweiss Creamery in Monticello, WI.

Jessica Grunewald

Grunewald promoted at Equity

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association announced that Jessica Grunewald is now serving as office manager at the cooperative’s Reedsville location. Grunewald previously worked at the cooperative’s Marion market that is now closed.

As office manager, she will oversee all office functions and staff at the Reedsville market.

Newsmakers in the agricultural world