WISCONSIN DELLS, Wis. — Wisconsin Custom Operators (WCO) members selected three new directors, a new president and new officers during the annual meeting held in conjunction with the Forage Symposium Jan. 25 at the Chula Vista Resort.
Newly elected board directors include operator representatives Ray Liska, owner of Apollo Vale Enterprises in Cochrane and Derek Ducat, from Ducat Farms Custom Work in Kewaunee. Josh Bartholomew, territory manager for Oxbo International, was elected as corporate representative. Bryce O’Leary, owner of O’Leary Brothers Chopping Service LLC in Janesville was selected as the group’s new president.
Liska owns and operates Apollo Vale Enterprises and custom raises poultry for Gold’n Plump Farms. He was very active in FFA and is a 10-year member of Wisconsin Farm Bureau where he has served as young farmer chairman, membership chairman, voting delegate, and is a graduate of the Farm Bureau Leadership Institute.
Ducat owns and operates Ducat Farms Custom Work with his family in Kewaunee. In addition to his work as a custom farmer, the family owns Deer Run Dairy, LLC a 1600-cow dairy farm also in Kewaunee. The Ducat family has been actively involved with Peninsula Pride Farms, a farmer-led environmental stewardship group in Kewaunee and southern Door counties.
Bartholomew lives in Clear Lake and serves as the territory manager for Oxbo International, an equipment company that serves the custom farming industry with forage mergers and dump carts. In addition to forage, Oxbo International manufactures equipment for seed corn, fruits, vegetables, olives, grapes and coffee.
O’Leary has been active in WCO since the early days of the organization and was first elected to the board in 2015. With a passion for safety and policy, O’Leary was among WCO’s first group of Safety Certified operators. He has also chaired the Safety and Regulations Committee since 2016. In addition to his work with WCO, O’Leary currently serves on his town board and has been town supervisor for six years. He also served nine years on the Rock County FSA board including seven years as chair. O’Leary holds a degree in agriculture education from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
O’Leary replaces Kathy Vander Kinter of Vander Kinter Farms in Green Bay.
Other officer changes included Josh Bartholomew as secretary. Operator representative Cole Olson of Diversified Farms LTD in Alma was re-elected as vice president and corporate representative Chuck Rabitz of Denmark State Bank in Denmark was re-elected as Treasurer. Retiring board members Kathy Vander Kinter, Green Bay, Isaac Lemmenes, Manitowoc and Troy Meyer, Dorchester were honored for their service to WCO.
WCO is an organization comprised of individuals throughout the state who derive their income in whole or part from providing custom farming services. To learn more about the Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc. including membership and event registration, go to www.wiscustomoperators.org or firstname.lastname@example.org
— Wisconsin Custom Operators, Inc.
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