By Rose Oswald Poels
On Tuesday, WBA Director – Government Relations John Cronin reported back after participating in an eventful day of visits of Governor Tony Evers; Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) Secretary Kathy Blumenfeld and a team from DFI; and Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection (DATCP) Secretary-Designee Randy Romanski. Denmark State Bank (DSB) hosted the event with local farmers and members of the business community joining Denmark President/CEO Scot Thompson, board members, agribusiness lenders, and bank staff.
The visits were designed to be purely informative for the Governor, DFI, and DATCP. The hosts provided on-the-ground perspective for all attendees, discussed what they are seeing day-to-day, the ways they work collectively to be strong contributors to our state’s heritage and economy, and the challenges they face. Denmark facilitated the day – Collins Dairy and Riesterer and Schnell have long standing relationships with the bank.
This painted community banking in a very positive light and demonstrated their value to influential government officials and the Governor. Scot and his team did a tremendous job organizing and giving our industry visibility. It shows WBA members are actively engaged in what happens in state government.
Advocacy can take many forms, but this is one of the most effective. Activities like this go a long way with decisionmakers, and we encourage (and stand ready to help) our members engage in these types of events. “Take your legislator to work” visits are an effective tool to showcase our industry and work.
This type of activity helps your bank earn the BIGG (Bankers Involved in Grassroots and Government) Award, WBA’s highest award for advocacy. Help us unleash the power of our membership!
A roundtable discussion at Denmark State Bank included a Q&A with Gov. Evers, the $100b impact of the ag industry on Wisconsin’s economy, challenges in the banking and ag industries, and an overview of the bank and its agribusiness focus.
A visit to Reisterer & Schnell, a local John Deere dealer serving Wisconsin since 1931, was hosted by its CEO, Thomas M. Vande Corput, and included a tour of the store and discussion of farming trends in the area — for example, the role of technology over the life of equipment, helping farmers increase their yield and efficiency, workforce, education for the employment pipeline (WTCS, apprenticeships, and tuition assistance), and supply chain issues/timeliness (domestic and international).
Collins Dairy, LLC owners Kevin J. and Lisa M. Collins provided a tour and tasting as well as a discussion on dairy issues and the role state agencies can play in issues such as succession planning (average farmer age is 58), land/water conservation, technology, and workforce. They emphasized the key relationship between Denmark State Bank and the dairy and how they’ve worked together to grow.