Badger Common’Tater October 2016 Issue
Interview with Mike Copas
Every family has its story, and the RPE Inc. farm family just happens to date back three generations. It began when brothers Louis, Francis and Greg Wysocki partnered with their father on his small dairy farm and converted the operation to a potato farm.
At that moment in the late 1950s, Wysocki Farms was born. Over the years, the farm began to expand its Central Wisconsin operation, taking shipments of potatoes to market in Chicago, and the brothers learned new and innovative ways to store and pack potatoes.
Thirty years later and a few partnerships with other local farmers, like Nick Somers of Plover River Farms and Jeff Sommers of Wysocki Produce Farm, Inc., and Wysocki Farms grew into a premier potato and onion producer.
RPE potatoes and onions are grown on farms throughout the country, and since the farm operates its own FDA-approved packaging facilities in California, Colorado, Idaho, Wisconsin, Ohio and Georgia, fresh potatoes and onions are distributed nationally.
Now, the second and third generations of the Wysocki and Sommers families are following in the footsteps of their fathers.
The operations have expanded to include growing regions throughout the country, and a few more farm families have been thrown into the mix, but the core principle that began 50 years ago still drives the company: “grow quality produce for our family and yours.”
“My family is good friends with two of the owners of the Wysocki Family of Companies, Jeff Sommers and Gary Wysocki,” Mike Copas, senior agronomist for RPE, Inc., says.
“When I was in the final stages of finishing my doctorate work at UW-Madison, the Wysocki Family of Companies was in the process of creating several new positions at RPE,” Copas continues. “Jeff encouraged me to apply for the senior agronomist position, right after hiring my sister to serve as RPE’s marketing manager the month prior.”