MADISON — The Wisconsin Agri-Business Association’s 2020 Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic was once again a success as industry representatives and organizations came together to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and prepare for the new growing season.
Held annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison and in partnership with UW-Extension, the Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic welcomed over 1,200 attendees and exhibitors.
Participants were able to earn continuing education units for their Certified Crop Advisor certification during the three-day conference, and had numerous opportunities to network at the redesigned tradeshow.
Featured speakers included DATCP Interim Secretary Randy Romanski, Wisconsin Association of FFA President Collin Weltzien, Fireman Rob Verhelst and Matt Hamilton, Olympic Gold Medalist in Curling.
For the third year in a row, the Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic presented the Agribusiness Connections Program, an afternoon of networking for agribusiness representatives and students majoring in agricultural programs across the state.
In addition, the Classic hosted the 2020 Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) Annual Meeting, where the following new board members were elected: Chris DeLong, DeLong Company; Ashley Gausman, Rosen’s Inc.; and Dawn McCluskey, Allied Cooperative. The 2020-21 officer team was also named and includes President: Thomas Hoffman, United Cooperative; Vice President: Rob Evans, Rosen’s Inc.; Secretary: Tony Grapsas, Jay-Mar Inc. and Treasurer: Garry Gard, Didion Inc.
Recipients of the 2019 WABA Awards, recognized on Tuesday, were:
- Distinguished Organization Award (for exemplary industry professionalism): ProVision Partners Cooperative
- Education Award (for leadership and commitment to educational excellence): Wayne Nighorn, Agres Consulting LLC
- Outstanding Service to Industry (for dedication and support to WABA and its members): Stan Buenzow, BASF (Retired)
- Friend of WABA Award: Joel Nilsestuen, Assistant Deputy Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation
- President’s Service Award (for dedication, service and leadership): Guy Mathias, Heartland AG Systems, Inc.
- Board Member Service Award (for full-term Board of Directors service): Mike Christenson, Countryside Cooperative; Erik Huschitt, Badger State Ethanol; Guy Mathias, Heartland AG Systems, Inc.
WABA’s 2019-20 Scholarship Recipients were acknowledged during Wednesday’s program and included Alexis Schultz and Annalisa Stevenson, UW-Madison; Bailey Hermanson and Joshua Pickel, UW-Platteville; Noah Massie, UW-River Falls; Laurel Deitch, UW-Stevens Point; Morgan Biba, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College; Bailey Bootz and Camila Freund, Northcentral Technical College; Ben Schmidt and Jodie Weyland, Fox Valley Technical College; Tamra Lawrence, Western Technical College; and Sarah Albers, Seth Cupery, Jacquelyn Rosenbush and Brandon Strupp, Wisconsin Association of FFA members. WABA provides over $20,000 in scholarships to students from across the state each year.
Finally, WABA unveiled a new member program for 2020: The Executive Leadership Academy. In response to member feedback, the Executive Leadership Academy will build off of WABA’s Leadership Development Academy and feature advanced training topics such as strategic leadership, strategic communications, business planning and resource allocation and organization culture, structure and processes.
“2019 was a difficult year for the industry as a whole,” says Tom Bressner, WABA Executive Director. “WABA is proud to represent our members’ interests and help them to find ways to overcome years such as this with valuable networking, programming and education. We look forward to seeing what 2020 will bring.”
The Wisconsin Agri-Business Association, Inc. (WABA) is a non-profit trade association. The mission of the Wisconsin Agri-Business Association is to represent, provide programs and services, educate, train, manage regulatory and legislative affairs, and to be a strong unifying voice for the agribusiness industries of Wisconsin. To learn more, visit www.wiagribusiness.org.
— Wisconsin Agri-Business Association
For more news from Wisconsin, click here.