Farm News: Faldet Named WPVGA Presidentcomments
“In unity, each has the strength of the sum of the parts.”
Those were the words of out-going Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) President Kirk Wille of Wysocki Produce Farms, Bancroft as he passed the leadership gavel to Brad Faldet of Faldet Farms in Iola as the 2012 president. The WPVGA held its Annual Meeting in Stevens Point.
Wille cited several examples of how industry unity played a key role in the success of the WPVGA over the course of the past year.
“Our water task force team has worked tirelessly to ensure that we do not end up with legislation based on casual observations, passion, or gut feelings,” Wille said. “They have worked to gather data from all our growers to develop and test actual scientific methods on which to base our regulatory decisions for water use.”
Wille also commented on the tremendous effort of growers and industry leaders throughout the U.S. to keep potatoes on the menus of school lunch programs.
“As we saw the threat of potatoes being removed from our school lunch programs across the nation, the issue was attacked from many different angles to show our legislators the nutritional value and importance of potatoes in our diets and those of our children,” he said.
Wille also pointed to unity as one reason the potato industry has been profitable for six consecutive years, something he said was “unheard of in our industry.”
“Although there are many contributing factors, growers working together in ‘United of Wisconsin’ and ‘United of America’ have played a vital role,” he said. “The communication between growers and the self-discipline not to overplant is the key difference from the old days when profitability and prices made major swings from year to year. We must be careful not to become complacent in our willingness to work together.”
“Whether it is as simple as providing data or filling out a survey; or being actively involved on one of the many boards or committees—we all can, and need to contribute in one way, shape or form,” Wille added. “In unity, each has the strength of the sum of the parts.”
WPVGA Executive Director Duane Maatz pointed out several highlights of the organization in 2011, including paying off the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility and naming two new potato varieties from the SpudPro program.
“I am happy to announce that we have retired the debt on the storage research facility located at the Hancock Research Station,” Maatz said. “Bank loan payments were completed last spring and we handed over the keys to the facility to the University of Wisconsin. Thank you to everyone who has donated time and money to make this happen. The facility is fully utilized and includes some storage studies on vegetables other than potatoes.”
“We are continuing to address issues to improve the effectiveness of the UW Potato Breeding Program,” Maatz added. “Through the SpudPro program, we are continuing virus cleanup in our advanced breeding program clones. We have recently named and released two new varieties and intend to promote these new varieties to the industry.”
The WPVGA board of directors elected Brad Faldet of Faldet Farms, Inc., Iola, President for 2012. Faldet succeeds Kirk Wille who served as Board President in 2011. Jeremie Pavelski of Heartland Farms, Inc., Hancock was elected Vice President, while Ron Mach of Mach’s Sunny Acres, Antigo was elected Secretary and Rob Schroeder of Schroeder Bros. Farms, Antigo was re-elected Treasurer.
Two new board members were elected for 2012: Steve Diercks of Coloma Farms, Coloma was elected in District 2; and Andy Wallendal of Wallendal Supply, Grand Marsh, was elected as the Grower At-Large. They replace Kevin Sigourney of Kevin Sigourney (Farms), Coloma (District 2) and Rick Beggs of Reb’l Acres, Plainfield (Grower At-Large). In addition to the officers and newcomers, the rest of the WPVGA board includes: Larry Alsum of Alsum Farms and Produce, Friesland; Paul Sowinski of Sowinski Farms, Rhinelander; and Wille.
The WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors re-elected Danny Wysocky of Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative, Friendship, to be its President for 2012. Wysocky is in the second year of his second term on the Associate Division board. The rest of the officers from 2011 were also re-elected to their positions in 2012. They include: Cathy Schommer of Badgerland Financial, Baraboo (Vice President); Brion Hackbarth of Jay-Mar, Plover (Secretary); and Mike Maguire of United FCS, Stevens Point (Treasurer).
Schommer and Maguire were incumbent Associate Division board members who were re-elected to the board for their second terms. Newcomers elected to the board were Chris Brooks of Central Door Solutions and Integrated Technology Consultants, Plover, and Butch Fencil of Fencil Urethane Systems, Wisconsin Rapids. Brooks and Fencil replace Dale Bowe of Wisconsin Public Service, Wausau and Sean Timm of North Central Irrigation, Plainfield, who completed their second terms on the board.
In addition to the officers and newcomers, the rest of the WPVGA Associate Division Board of Directors for 2012 includes: Paul Cieslewicz of Big Iron Equipment, Plover and Eugene Mancl of Ron’s Refrigeration, Wisconsin Rapids.