My husband, Doyle, and I have three children and live northeast of Waupun, in Fond du Lac County. We own a farm next to the Rock River, in the Horicon Marsh zone. A neighbor rents the cropland and our children raise animals for their FFA and 4-H projects.
My husband is a project manager for M.P.B. Builders, Inc., in Ripon. He manages the sales team.
In December, our oldest son, Dylon, will graduate from UW-Green Bay with a bachelor’s degree in supply chain management. After graduation, he will work for Paper Transport, Inc., in De Pere.
Our daughter, Katrina, is a sophomore at Marian University with a double major in business administration and health administration. She plans to work in public health.
Our youngest son, Cameron, is a junior at the Waupun Area Junior/Senior High School. His goal is to be an engineer.
When each of our children were in sixth grade, my husband and I set each child up with a small business. Dylon is a beekeeper. Katrina makes value-added beeswax products out of the wax and traveled to Haiti to teach her skills. Cameron raises laying hens, broilers and garden produce. He has an agreement with the local food pantry, and most of his produce and products go to the pantry. He also has some regular customers through private sales.
Community service and making our community a better place is a core component of our family and our children’s small businesses.
What is your connection to agriculture?
I have deep agriculture roots being raised on a registered Brown Swiss and crop farm in Monroe. I was your typical farm kid spending time in the barn and the field, and actively involved in 4-H, FFA and showing and judging cattle.
I attended UW-Platteville where I earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in agricultural-related areas. I also received an MBA from UW-Oshkosh. I’ve held positions including: UW-Extension dairy and livestock agent in Sheboygan County; local markets specialist with MorganMyers on the Wisconsin Milk Marketing account, now Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin; program manager with Professional Dairy Producers; and executive director of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association before taking on my role at WFBF.
What is your favorite food or meal?
Meal: A good deep-dish pizza with a lot of cheese, and a piece of creamy milk chocolate.
Favorite season or time of the year?
It’s a toss-up between spring and fall. I love the new beginnings that springtime brings us, but I also enjoy the colors of fall and sweatshirt weather.
How would you describe yourself in one word and why?
Driven. Throughout my life, I have been labeled not smart enough, not fast enough, didn’t go to the right college, etc. That has given me the drive to overcome those labels, it has served me well.
Who inspires you?
My friends – Judy Batker and Kelly Crowdis – are servant leaders and volunteer their time and resources to those in greatest need, through their animals – both in the U.S. and around the world. And do so through education versus handouts. So, people learn how to be independent and more self-sufficient through better care of their animals.
What is the best piece of advice that you have received?
Not to let others define who I am.
Favorite Wisconsin product?
A tall glass of cold milk!
If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?
My family. As my children have become older and gone to college, I miss the kitchen full of noise and everyone around the dinner table with the kids joking and teasing each other and talking about their activities.
What motivates you through challenging days?
A good veterinarian friend of mine introduced me to veterinary missionary work a few years ago. Every year I travel with her to Haiti, and the U.S. Pine Ridge Reservation, to help with animal-care education and to provide medical services to animals.
Those experiences have changed my life and when I feel sorry for myself or I’m frustrated with challenges, I think about my days in Haiti and on the Pine Ridge Reservation and I realize how lucky I am to have the ‘first world problems’ I have.
What is your favorite Wisconsin sports team?
The Waupun Warriors. I enjoy supporting and watching our son’s cross country and track teams.
What is something that most people don’t know about you?
I was a supreme dairy showman at the Wisconsin State Fair. I also won the State 4-H Dairy Judging Contest and was second place individual and a member of the first-place team at the National Intercollegiate Dairy Judging Contest. UW-Platteville’s only winning team at the National Intercollegiate Contest.
What Makes Wisconsin Farm Bureau most unique?
Farm Bureau is unlike other organizations because it represents all-sizes of farms, all-types of agriculture commodities, individuals with different goals and ambitions in agriculture, all while remaining true to its commitment of being a grassroots organization.
What is your vision for the future of WFBF?
I’m learning and evaluating the internal and external staff team, systems, programs, relationships, etc. Once I have a good grasp of the dynamics, I will build a plan; however, as with any business or organization, it starts with a great staff team. Making sure that I’m supporting the team and addressing concerns and challenges is where I need to start. From there, as a team, we will implement the WFBF Board’s strategic plan in the best way possible.
We also need to know our members better, making sure our internal systems can assist us in communicating better, providing services and supporting our members is essential.