On June 5, Governor Scott Walker announced plans to create a new Dairy Task Force which will make recommendations on actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in our state. Governor Walker directed DATCP Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and UW System President Ray Cross to appoint the task force.

WBA was quick to connect with the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors about the new task force and solicit bankers who might be interested in serving on the new task force. WBA wishes to thank several agricultural bankers from around the state who indicated an interest.

Today, while attending the Farm Technology Days in Marshfield, Governor Walker announced the selected members of the new Dairy Task Force 2.0. Three Wisconsin agricultural banks have been selected:

  • Mike DeLong, VP at First Bank of Baldwin
  • Brad Guse, SVP of Agribusiness Banking at BMO Harris Bank, NA in Marshfield
  • and Rene Johnson, VP of Agricultural Lending at Union Bank & Trust in Evansville.

See the full press release below for more information.  

DeLong, Guse, and Johnson are all veteran Wisconsin agricultural bankers, all with past volunteer experience serving the dairy community and Wisconsin's banking industry. All three bankers have served at least six years in the past as members and officers of the WBA Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors, and all three have also served on the national level with ABA in various capacities regarding their Agricultural & Rural Banking Committee and/or the National Agricultural Bankers Conference Planning Committee. Guse also serves as the school director and faculty member of WBA's annual Agricultural Lending School.

WBA looks forward to working with these three bankers along with our Agricultural Bankers Section Board of Directors to find ways to maintain a healthy dairy industry in the state. Bankers wishing to share ideas or feedback are welcome to contact either WBA's Lori Kalscheuer via email or at 608-440-1250 or WBA's Jon Turke via email or at 608-441-1215.

Full press release (also available online): 

Governor Walker Announces Dairy Task Force 2.0 Members at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days

MARSHFIELD — Governor Scott Walker today announced the members of the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 at Wisconsin Farm Technology Days. The Governor directed Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary Sheila Harsdorf and University of Wisconsin System (UW System) President Ray Cross to establish the Task Force in early June. The Task Force will focus on making recommendations on actions needed to maintain a viable and profitable dairy industry in our state.

“The members of Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 reflect the breadth and depth of the Wisconsin dairy industry,” said Governor Walker. “From dairy farmers to milk processors to allied organizations, the Task Force stands ready to discuss and recommend actions that will ensure our state’s proud dairy heritage remains strong moving forward.”

In 1985, the UW System and DATCP Secretary appointed a Wisconsin Dairy Task Force comprised of 31 individuals including dairy farmers, milk processors, and allied organizations. The Task Force met numerous times over the course of 14 months, and at its conclusion, unanimously approved an 82-page report that included findings and 75 recommendations for the industry. Many of the recommendations have been implemented over time to retain Wisconsin’s recognition as a dairy leader.

“As Wisconsin’s dairy industry continues to face challenges, it is more important than ever that the industry as a whole works together to find ways to maintain our status as a leading dairy state,” said DATCP Secretary Harsdorf. “The diverse and wide-ranging Task Force membership will allow for an important conversation, and I look forward to their recommendations.”

The economic impact of the dairy industry in Wisconsin is significant, employing nearly 80,000 jobs and generating $43.4 billion in statewide economic impact every year – nearly half of agriculture’s total economic impact.

“The partnership between the dairy industry and the University of Wisconsin goes back a long time, and it has played a vital part in Wisconsin becoming America’s Dairyland,” said President Cross. “The UW System looks forward to continuing to work with farmers and dairy producers to develop and implement innovative and forward-thinking solutions for the Wisconsin dairy industry.”

The Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0 members include:

Farmers:

  • Moriah Brey, Brey Cycle Farm LLC, Sturgeon Bay
  • Andy Buttles, Stone-Front Farm, Lancaster
  • Janet Clark, Vision Aire Farms, LLC, Rosendale
  • Tom Crosby, Crosby's River Valley Dairy, Shell Lake
  • Dave Daniels, Mighty Grand Dairy, Union Grove
  • Patty Edelburg, Front-Page Holsteins, Scandinavia
  • Don Hamm, Sandy Loam Farm, Fredonia
  • Ryan Klussendorf, Broadland Grass Farm, Medford
  • Shelly Mayer, Mayer Farm, Slinger
  • Dan Pearson, Pearson Farm, River Falls
  • Amy Penterman, Dutch Dairy, Thorp
  • Brody Stapel, Double Dutch Dairy, Cedar Grove
  • Charles Untz, Untz Farm, Lake Mills
  • Darin Von Ruden, Von Ruden Farm, Westby

Milk Processors and Marketers:

  • Steve Bechel, Eau Galle Cheese Factory, Durand
  • Dave Buholzer, Klondike Cheese Company, Monroe
  • Rob Byrne, Schreiber Foods, Green Bay
  • Ted Galloway, Galloway Company, Neenah
  • Paul Scharfman, Specialty Cheese Company, Reeseville
  • Jerry Schroeder, Schroeder Milk Transit, Oconto Falls
  • Jeff Schwager, Sartori Cheese, Plymouth
  • David Ward, Cooperative Network, Madison
  • Elizabeth Wells, Organic Valley, La Farge

Allied Organizations:

  • John Accola, Premier Cooperative, Prairie du Sac
  • Dennis Bangart, AgCountry Farm Credit Services, Marshfield
  • Michael DeLong, First Bank of Baldwin, Baldwin
  • Bradley Guse, BMO Harris Bank, Arpin
  • Dr. Melissa Haag, Lodi Veterinary Hospital, Lodi
  • Rene Johnson, Union Bank and Trust Co., Evansville
  • John Schmidt, Landmark Services Cooperative, Appleton
  • Chad Vincent, Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Mark Stephenson, Director of Dairy Policy Analysis at UW-Madison, will chair the Wisconsin Dairy Task Force 2.0. The Task Force is working to schedule their first meeting in August.

Wisconsin Farm Technology Days have been held annually since 1954. This year’s event is hosted by D&B Sterweis Farms and Weber’s Farm Store/Heiman Holsteins in Wood County. The event lasts three days to showcase improvements in agriculture including research and technological developments. Last year almost 26,000 people attended the event held in Kewaunee County.

Governor Walker declared July 10-12, 2018 as Wisconsin Farm Tech Days.