Wisconsin Beef Council elects leadership

Wisconsin Beef Council
Pictured are outgoing Wisconsin Beef Council board member Dave Koning, of Monroe; new board president Val Gaffney, of Barneveld; past president Arin Crooks, of Lancaster; and Wisconsin Beef Council Executive Director Tammy Vaassen.

MADISON, Wis. - At the recent Wisconsin Beef Council (WBC) Board meeting, directors elected leadership positions. Val Gaffney, a seedstock producer from Barneveld, was elected to serve as president for the next two years. In this role, she will lead the 23-member board in building on the Council’s mission — to build beef demand that is sustainable for future generations. Gaffney represents the Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association and assumes the president’s role following Arin Crooks, a Lancaster native and Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association representative.

“Serving on the Wisconsin Beef Council board allows me to see how our dollar is used to build demand for beef,” Gaffney said. “Social media, creative advertising campaigns and face-to-face visits with everyone involved in the beef industry help the Wisconsin Beef Council make our dollar impactful.”

In addition, Rosie Lisowe was elected to the president-elect role. Lisowe is a dairy farmer from Chilton and represents the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. Elected for the secretary-treasurer role was Tod Fleming, Baraboo. He holds one of Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales’ five seats on the Wisconsin Beef Council Board.

In addition to Gaffney, Lisowe and Fleming, three committee chairs and two at-large members were elected to serve one-year terms on the Executive Committee. Those individuals include:

Curt Larson, Baraboo (Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales) — Consumer Information Committee; Eric Johnson, Dane (Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association) — Promotion Committee; Jim Rychtik, Belgium (Milwaukee Stockyards) — Industry Information/Producer Communications Committee; Jay Heeg, Colby (Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin) — At-large member; Amy Radunz, Ellsworth (Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association) — At-large member

Crooks will also serve on the Executive Committee as past president.

“It has been a busy two years for the Wisconsin Beef Council,” Crooks said. “Most noteworthy is the retirement of John Freitag as our Executive Director and the hiring of Tammy Vaassen into that position. I’m glad to say that our work is paying off as Tammy is doing an excellent job leading the Wisconsin Beef Council.”

Individuals who have completed two terms on the board were also recognized for their dedication. They included: Dave Koning, Monroe (Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association); and Matt Bayer, Weston, Wisconsin Association of Meat Processors.

The Wisconsin Beef Council Board is made up of individuals who are appointed by statewide organizations, and those individuals either pay the Beef Checkoff and/or collect the Checkoff. Additional board members are listed below. Individuals serve three-year terms.

  • Dale Bakke, Watertown (Wisconsin Veal Growers)
  • Chuck Born, Sheboygan Falls (National Farmers Organization)
  • Allan Cihlar, Mosinee (Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales)
  • Tina Hinchley, Cambridge (Wisconsin Farmers Union)
  • Forrest Johnson, Menomonie (Central Livestock Association)
  • Jack Johnson, Medford (Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association)
  • Brad Solchenberger, Cazenovia (Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales)
  • Craig Statz, Waunakee (Milwaukee Stockyards)
  • Dwight Truttmann, Mt. Horeb (Equity Cooperative Livestock Sales)
  • Mark Winter, Green Bay (Packer representative, American Foods Group)
  • Brady Zuck, Ladysmith (Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association)

Farm First Cooperative also holds a seat on the Wisconsin Beef Council board and will be appointing a new representative following the passing of Randy Geiger.

Individuals who hold ex-officio positions on the Board include Cattlemen’s Beef Board members Lloyd Deruyter, Cedar Grove; Bob Mitchell, Wauzeka; and Terry Quam, Lodi. Jeff Sindelar with UW-Madison and Jeff Swenson with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection also hold ex-officio roles.

“When I attend Beef Council meetings, I do not know if I’ll be sitting next to a beef marketer, beef processor or beef producer; but we all have the common goal of building sustainable beef demand,” Gaffney said. “I look forward to helping keep beef at the center of the plate for the next generation.”