WPVGA Presents Annual Industry Awards
In addition to its annual Hall of Fame inductions, the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association (WPVGA) presented several other annual industry awards at a banquet held February 6, 2013 in Stevens Point.
Jeremie Pavelski of Heartland Farms, Inc., Hancock, was named the WPVGA Volunteer of the Year. The WPVGA Young Grower of the Year in 2011, Jeremie was elected to serve as President on the WPVGA Board of Directors in 2013. He is the Chairman of the WPVGA Chip Committee and Co-chair of the Water Task Force. He is also one of three Wisconsin representatives on the National Potato Council board of directors, and serves as co-chair of the NPC Water and Endangered Species Sub-Committee. He also serves on the US Potato Board’s Chip Committee. In 2011, Heartland Farms was named the winner of the NPC Environmental Stewardship Award. Jeremie is a 2002 graduate of North Central Technical College in Wausau, with an Associate degree in Computer Networking; he also attended business management courses at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He is a 2006 graduate of the Potato Industry Leadership Institute and graduated from the Portage County Leadership Institute in 2008.
Shawn Bula of Bula-Gieringer Farms, Grand Marsh was named WPVGA Young Grower of the Year. With headquarters in Coloma, Bula-Gieringer Farms is one of the largest potato and vegetable operations in Wisconsin. The farm raises over 8,700 acres of potatoes, green beans, seed corn, sweet corn, peas, field corn, soybeans and sweet potatoes. In addition to those crops, they also raise 500 head of Black Angus cattle on 1,100 acres of pasture land. They also rent land in the Hastings, Florida area, raising chipping potatoes to help fill a supply gap from mid-April to early June.
Shawn Bula has been working on Bula-Gieringer Farms since he was a young boy. The son of Mark Bula, Shawn has an Associate Degree in Business and Marketing from Mid-State Technical College in Stevens Point. He is a 1996 graduate of Adams-Friendship High School. A member of the WPVGA Chip Sub-Committee, Shawn is also now a Wisconsin representative on the United States Potato Board.
The WPVGA Researcher of the Year Award went to University of Wisconsin Horticulturist Dr. Jed Colquhoun. One of the WPVGA’s base-funded researchers in the area of weed management, Jed’s Extension activities include providing educational programming for fresh market and processing vegetables and potatoes. His research activities include: Applied weed ecology, with an emphasis on practical strategies for management in horticultural crop production systems; the development of integrated strategies for weed management that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of crop production. Specific interests include crop tolerance or suppression of weed interference, weed resistance management, and parasitic weed ecology & management.
The WPVGA Associate Division presented the Associate Division Business Person of the Year Award to Danny Wysocky of Adams-Columbia Electric Cooperative, Friendship.
Danny is a long-time member of the Associate Division who just completed serving a five-year term on the Associate Division Board of Directors, including the past two years as Associate Division Board President. As one member said in his nomination letter, Danny has given generously of his time, whether it be at industry golf outings or cooking brats at field days. He is dedicated to the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry, and has demonstrated outstanding commitment and service to growers.
The Agri-Communicator Award for excellence in communication and dedicated service in presenting a positive message about the agricultural industry was presented to Jacquie Wille of Wysocki Produce Farm, Bancroft. Jacquie currently serves as the Vice President of the Wisconsin Potato Growers Auxiliary. She is also a regular author of the Auxiliary News column in The Badger Common’Tater magazine. She is a good writer and an effective communicator. Through her service at trade shows and many other industry events, Jacquie has gone above and beyond the call of duty in working to promote the consumption of Wisconsin potatoes. The industry owes her a great debt of gratitude for all of her efforts.
2012 WPVGA President Brad Faldet of Faldet Farms, Iola, presented the President’s Award to WPVGA staff members Julie Braun and Karen Walters. Julie serves as the Executive Assistant at the WPVGA, while Karen is the Financial Officer. They were cited for their outstanding service (both have worked for over 15 years at the WPVGA), reliability and dedication to the Wisconsin potato and vegetable industry. Faldet said they both do a tremendous amount of work behind the scenes and deserve a great deal of credit for performing their duties at an extremely high level.
Special Industry Appreciation Awards were presented to Dr. A.J. Bussan, Brad Faldet and Dennis Zeloski.
Dr. A.J. Bussan is another of the WPVGA’s base-funded researchers in the areas of potato and vegetable production research as well as Wisconsin muck potato research. AJ has done a tremendous amount of work in the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Storage Research Facility. He also works on several nationally-funded potato research projects, including the US Potato Board’s national chip and fry processing trials. He has also conducted research related to reducing the amount of acrylamide in processed potatoes.
Brad Faldet served as President on the 2012 WPVGA board of directors. He recently completed two full terms of service on the WPVGA board and was presented with a gavel plaque for his service as President. He was very active on the Chip Committee and was consistently among the top growers for McCain Foods USA in Plover. He was given an Industry Appreciation Award for his outstanding leadership over the past year.
Dennis Zeloski has long been active in many aspects of state and national organizations, all involving agriculture. He is a longtime member of the Potato Association of America, and was named an Honorary Life Member of the PAA in 1993, as was his father, Felix, who was elected in 1983. He is past president of the Wisconsin Seed Potato Improvement Association, the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board, Wisconsin Muck Farmers Association, and the Wisconsin Mint Board, Inc. He also served as a director on the Wisconsin Crop Improvement Association, the Mint Industry Research Council, the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, the Wisconsin Carrot Growers Association, and served on various committees of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association, including the Potato Storage Research Facility committee. He is a past member and emeritus of The Board of Visitors to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Madison. He continues to serve as a director on the Wisconsin Potato Industry Board and was inducted into the WPVGA Hall of Fame in 2006.