Ag Faces in the Crowd

Wisconsin State Farmer
Sally Ladsten

Ladsten to succeed Hicken at DPI

Sally (Albers) Ladsten has accepted the Agriculture Food and Natural Resources Education Consultant position at DPI.  She will fill the position formerly held by Jeff Hicken who died June 18, 2021. She is dual licensed and currently teaches courses in agriculture and biology at Sauk Prairie High School where she is also a co-advisor to the FFA. 

She is a former state FFA officer and worked for the National FFA Organization as a State Officer Leadership Program Facilitator. She will start at DPI on Jan. 31, 2022.

Shari Black

Black is WI State Fair interim CEO/Executive Director

The Wisconsin State Fair Park Board announced Shari Black will serve as Interim CEO and Executive Director. She replaces Kathleen O’Leary who is retiring.

Black has been involved in the fair industry for more than 20 years and served as Executive Director for the Waukesha County Fair in Waukesha, Wis., for 15 years. In 2016 she transitioned to Wisconsin State Fair Park as Senior Director of Event Services, which included managing year-round facility rentals as well as the Fair’s Amusement Ride and Game area, SpinCity.

She was promoted to Chief Programs Officer in 2019, which included overseeing Agriculture, Vendor Services, Competitive Exhibits, Entertainment and all rides and attractions for the State Fair event.

Kari Schoenike

FB announces new appointees 

Kari Schoenike of Dodge County, Tammy Wiedenbeck of Grant County and Clara Hedrich of Calumet County have been appointed to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau’s Promotion and Education Committee by the organization’s Board of Directors. Their terms begin at WFBF’s Annual Meeting and Young Farmer and Agriculturist Conference, Dec. 3-6, in Wisconsin Dells.

Schoenike grew up on her family’s crop farm in rural Dodge County and works ith the Wisconsin Department of Corrections as an Offender Classification Specialist.

Tammy Wiedenbeck

Wiedenbeck serves as a Business Development Manager for Hilbert Communications and Bug Tussel Wireless Internet. Tammy is a lifetime member of the Grant County Cattlemen’s Association, Lancaster FFA Alumni and UW-Platteville Alumni.

Hedrich grew up on a dairy farm in Northeastern Wisconsin before going on to teach high school agriculture for 39 years. Clara and her family founded LaClare Family Creamery in Pipe, Wis. She serves as the Calumet Co. Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom coordinator and Promotion and Education chair.

Clara Hedrich

Rural Organizers expand Farmers Union’s reach

Forrest Humphrey, Anthony Pahnke, and Michelle Ramirez-White have joined Wisconsin Farmers Union as Rural Organizers.

The trio will help with compounded issues that WFU’s family farms face today, and provide collective action to create meaningful change and revitalize rural Wisconsin.

Humphrey, a native of Vernon County, brings five years of experience in rural organizing to WFU. Pahnke grew up on his family’s dairy farm near Fond du Lac, and became active in the Family Farm Defenders, and in various immigrant rights movements, especially in the Midwest. Before being hired at WFU, Ramirez-White performed outreach work during the presidential election and for Madison non-profit Freedom Inc.

Anne Moore

Moore joins Farmers for Sustainable Food organization

Farmers for Sustainable Food (FSF) has added communications professional Anne Moore to expand the promotion of the organization’s work, especially the efforts of farmer-led watershed conservation groups that FSF supports. 

In the new role with FSF, Moore is developing storytelling approaches that shine the spotlight on farmers and their supporters as they implement innovative conservation practices.

Compeer Financial adds new faces to Board of Directors

Joining Compeer Financial’s board of directors is Wisconsinite Kimberly Wedig of Darlington, Wis. Wedig and her husband, Joe, have dairy and cow-calf show cattle beef operation, and she has served on Compeer Financial’s Client Advisory Council.

Eric Johnson

Johnson recognized as Cattleperson of the Year

Acknowledging his dedication to excellence within Wisconsin’s beef industry, the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association (WCA) named Eric Johnson the 2021 Cattleperson of the Year.

Johnson is a former WCA president and currently acts as a legislative representative for the organization. He and his family operate Johnson Valley Shorthorns, a small seedstock and cow/calf operation outside Lodi. In addition to his WCA involvement, Johnson is a past board member of the Wisconsin Shorthorn Association.

Friar receives national Outstanding Service to Ag award

Frank Friar has received the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s (NASDA) 2021 James A. Graham award for his outstanding service to agricultural producers in Wisconsin. Friar is a financial consulting and farm transition specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection’s (DATCP) Farm Center.

Frank Friar

Since joining DATCP’s Farm Center almost 14 years ago, he has helped guide hundreds of Wisconsin farmers through complex challenges.

Kaczmarek awarded WALSAA Daluge Red Jacket Award

The late Bob “Badger Bob” Kaczmarek was presented the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association’s WALSAA Daluge Red Jacket Award at the WALSAA Football Fire-Up event on Sept. 11. Kaczmarek was named this year’s recipient because of his dedication and service to WALSAA for many years.

He served on the WALSAA Board for nine years and was president of the organization in 1997-98. Kaczmarek served the organization as the WALSAA treasurer during WALSAA’s transition from Ag Hall to a self-sufficient organization.

Brenda Boetel

Boetel named adviser of the year at UW-River Falls

Brenda Boetel, professor of agricultural economics, has been named Adviser of the Year at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Boetel is the fourth faculty member from the Agricultural Economics Department to receive the award since its inception in 2000.

Boetel joined the faculty at UW-River Falls in 2002 accepting a joint teaching and Extension appointment. In this position she also serves as the state-wide ag marketing specialist focusing on the areas of livestock marketing and price analysis for UW-Madison Division of Extension. 

O’Brien to replace Gallagher at DMI

Dairy Management Inc announced that Barbara O’Brien will succeed Tom Gallagher upon his retirement as CEO. O’Brien served as president of DMI and CEO of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

In her current role, O’Brien has instilled a sales growth and outcomes-based mentality within her leadership team and staff, overseeing operating structures for business development, domestic and international sales, science and insights, marketing communications and finance.

Abdullah Hussaini

Hussaini receives licensed commodity broker status

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association announced that Abdullah Hussaini has passed the complex Series 3 Commodity Broker exam. Hussaini will assist with commodity brokerage through Allendale, Inc. and coordinate cattle contracts.

DATCP appoints Otterson as Communications Director

Wisconsin DATCP appointed Sam Otterson as DATCP’s new Communications Director. Otterson served as a Research Assistant with Rep. Dave Considine, the ranking minority member of the Assembly Agriculture Committee. She has also served several other legislative offices in the Wisconsin State Capitol. 

Chantel Bastian

Bastian promoted to Reedsville office manager

Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales Association has promoted Chantel Bastian to office manager at the cooperative’s Reedsville location. Chantel has worked at Equity Reedsville for nearly two years. As office manager, she will oversee all of the office functions and office staff at the Reedsville market in her expanded role.

Guenther named to Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40

Lakeside Foods Agriculture Manager Cody Guenther has been named to the Fruit + Vegetable 40 Under 40 list, honoring 40 outstanding young professionals in the industry. In 2019, Guenther was promoted to Ag manager for the company’s Random Lake location, overseeing the planting and harvesting of 13,000 acres of peas, sweet corn and lima beans.

Shawn Bartholomew

WFU welcomes pair to membership team

Shawn Bartholomew and Alicia Razvi have joined the Wisconsin Farmers Union team as regional membership coordinators. The membership coordinators will be responsible for membership engagement, chapter support, partnership development, and continuously improving outreach efforts for Wisconsin Farmers Union.

Alicia Razvi

Former Foremost Farms CEO dies

Donald Storhoff, who served as president and CEO of Foremost Farms USA dies on Oct. 14 at the age of 86. Storhoff was employed for 47 years in the dairy industry, beginning his career at the Preston Creamery Association. He would eventually take over leadership roles for Wisconsin Dairies Cooperative before it was renamed as Foremost Farms USA in 1995. He retired in 2021.

2021 WI Soybean Marketing Board election results

The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) has certified the 2021 Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board election results. The following soybean producers will serve a three-year term as elected members of the Wisconsin Soybean Marketing Board:District 2: Justin Bauer, Eau Claire and District 6: Steve Wilkens, Random Lake.

Grace Atherton

Atherton joins WCMA

The Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association has welcomed Grace Atherton as its new Director of Communications. In this position, Atherton will guide the organization’s messaging, develop a variety of outreach materials and content, and communicate with consumer and industry media outlets.

Most recently, Atherton served as the Communications Director at the Wisconsin DATCP.

Grummer among National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award winners

Dr. Ric Grummer of Fitchburg, Wisconsin is being honored with National Dairy Shrine’s Pioneer Award this year in recognition of his significant contribution to the dairy industry. Grummer, an Emeritus Professor, Dept. of Dairy Science, UW-Madison, is a respected dairy cattle nutrition researcher, educator, and consultant whose lifetime of industry leading work in transition cow nutrition and management has benefited dairy farmers worldwide. 

Ric Grummer

Grummer was appointed to the National Research Council’s Subcommittee on Dairy Cattle Nutrition that wrote the 2001 revision of the Nutrient Requirements of Dairy Cattle. In addition to authoring or contributing to several chapters of that publication, Grummer’s studies also led to the equations for predicting dry matter intake of transition cows, estimates which became benchmarks for use on commercial dairies. As a result of his research, he received the American Feed Industry Award (1995), Nutrition Professionals Applied Nutrition Award (2004), and American Dairy Science Association’s “Fellow” Award (2010), and in 2002 was named a “Highly Cited Researcher” by the Institute of Scientific Information.  

Vivienne Kerley De La Cruz

Kerley-de la Cruz signs on as WFU Policy Coordinator

Vivienne Kerley-de la Cruz will advocate for family farmers as the new policy coordinator for Wisconsin Farmers Union. In her new role, Kerley-de la Cruz will engage WFU members and other stakeholders in policy initiatives that reflect the priorities of WFU’s grassroots membership, particularly the Special Orders of Business adopted annually at the State Convention.

Gerbitz joins WI Farm Bureau team

Rachel Gerbitz has been hired as WFBF’s Director of Sustainability Communications and Partnerships. In this newly-created role, Gerbitz will oversee WFBF’s sustainability communication efforts. She will create educational resources and write a variety of pieces for Farm Bureau publications focused on environmental topics.

She will work with stakeholders and media to forward agriculture’s sustainability story and assist with events regarding environmental stewardship.

Rachel Gerbitz

Irwin named Vita Plus dairy specialist

Brock Irwin recently joined the Vita Plus Columbus team as a dairy specialist.  Based in Columbus, WI, Irwin will provide nutrition and management expertise to help dairy producers reach their production goals. In addition, he will remain up to date on cutting-edge technologies to better serve customers now and in the future.

Sand County Foundation welcomes Witt

Sand County Foundation has hired Parker Witt as an Agricultural Conservation Specialist. Witt completed a field study abroad in water quality, ecosystem interactions, and resource management practices of Poland, Germany and the Czech Republic. He had agronomy internships with agricultural cooperatives, and spent two seasons as a watercraft inspection intern with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

Parker Witt
Newsmakers in the agricultural world