The Wisconsin Agri-Business Association’s 2019 Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic, held annually at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, had a strong presence this year with over 1,200 attendees and exhibitors.
Participants were able to earn over 40 continuing education units for their Certified Crop Advisor certification during the three-day conference, which also includes an extensive 100,000 square foot trade show.
Featured speakers included Former Defensive Back and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Member, Nick Collins, Incoming DATCP Secretary Brad Pfaff, Wisconsin Association of FFA President Amelia Hayden and Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Bros. For the second 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 2019 Wisconsin Agri-Business Association (WABA) Annual Meeting, where the following new board members were elected: Bruce Ceranske, Legacy Seeds Inc.; Garry Gard, Didion Inc.; Tony Grapsas, Jay-Mar Inc.; Howard Hartmann, Hartmann Farms. The 2019-2020 officer team was also named and includes President: Guy Mathias, AG Systems, Inc.; Vice President: Thomas Hoffman, ProVision Partners; Secretary: Rob Evans, Rosen’s Inc.; and Treasurer: Mike Christenson, Countryside Cooperative.
Recipients of the 2018 WABA Awards, recognized on Tuesday, were:
- Distinguished Organization Award (for exemplary industry professionalism): The DeLong Company
- Education Award (for leadership and commitment to educational excellence): Damon Smith, UW-Madison, Department of Plant Pathology
- Outstanding Service to Industry (for dedication and support to WABA and its members): Bruce Barganz, Retired, Insight FS
- Friend of WABA Award: Representative Amy Loudenbeck, 31st Assembly District
- President’s Service Award (for dedication, service and leadership): Joey Kennicker, Greg’s Feed & Seed, Inc.
- Board Member Service Award (for full-term Board of Directors service): Jon Accola, Premier Cooperative; Doug Cropp, Landmark Services Cooperative; Marc Powell, Hanna Ag, LLC; and Mike Wichmann, West Central Distribution LLC
WABA’s 2018-19 Scholarship Recipients were acknowledged during Wednesday’s program and included Lauren Jorgensen and Shayna Moss, UW-Madison; Joshua Kaufman and Jessica Helwig, UW-Platteville; Shannon Troye, UW-River Falls; Tanner Schmidt, UW-Stevens Point; Mathew Maveus, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College; Mckenzie Glodowski and Michaela Mallo, Northcentral Technical College; Conner Geurts and Sheila Weninger, Fox Valley Technical College; Sarah Marks and Dwayne Robinson, Lakeshore Technical College; Deanna Meyer, Sheila Weninger, Katelynn Zimmerman and Kiana Leeder, Wisconsin Association of FFA members. WABA provides over $20,000 in scholarships to students from across the state each year.
Finally, WABA unveiled three new member programs for 2019:
- Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training – a partnership with Fox Valley Technical College designed to provide the knowledge base to successfully pass the Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) Airman Knowledge Test, Part 107;
- Privacy and Cybersecurity Threats and Trends in the Agribusiness Industry Webinar co-presented with Michael Best; and
- Preventative Controls for Animal Food Course – designed to qualify an individual as a Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI).
“It is an incredibly difficult time for our members and their customers given the nature of the current agricultural economy,” says Tom Bressner, WABA Executive Director. “Our organization is driven to provide the tools needed for our members to not only survive these trials, but also thrive. The Wisconsin Agribusiness Classic is the perfect place for them to come together to grow, network and see all that our organization, and industry have to offer.”