LaVerne Ausman has been selected to receive Honorary Recognition by the UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences for his long and distinguished career as a dairy farmer, public servant and community leader.
“LaVerne Ausman represents the highest standards in professional agriculture, public service, and personal commitment to his community,” says former U.S. Congressman Steve Gunderson. “He is by any standards the ideal patriot farmer — living his love for agriculture and America. No other citizen of Wisconsin has been able to contribute to the betterment of rural America at literally every level of government and society.”
In 1949 Ausman and his wife Beverly began farming in Elk Mound, Wis., where he built and managed Melody Pines, a successful dairy operation recognized as a model of innovation, cost control, and soil conservation. His son, John, now manages the 948-acre farm.
After Ausman served two terms as a state representative in the 1970s, Congressman Gunderson tapped Ausman as his agricultural advisor and office director in 1981. But Ausman soon returned to Madison to become Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
As secretary, Ausman guided the agency as it implemented farmland preservation and soil conservation laws, and landmark groundwater and pesticide legislation. The agency also reorganized its consumer protection programs and created marketing order boards during this period. Ausman earned the respect of agency constituents and staff alike.
Ausman then held several positions in Washington, including three years as the head of Farmers Home Administration. There he played an important role in turning around the bad debt situation, while moving to consolidate services and develop programs to help rural communities.
From 1994 to 1996, Ausman again worked for Congressman Gunderson. He was instrumental in developing the 1996 Farm Bill, including reforming dairy policy.
Ausman was the executive chair of this year”s Farm Progress Days, held in Dunn County in September.
During his career, Ausman has been recognized for his distinguished service by the UW-Madison Farm and Industry Short Course alumni, the UW-River Falls, the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, the Wisconsin Chapter of the Soil Conservation Society of America, and the honorary fraternity Alpha Gamma Rho. This year, Wisconsin Agriculturalist magazine honored him as a Master Agriculturist.
Ausman”s connections to the College reach back to 1949 when he attended Farm and Industry Short Course. Currently he serves on the board of directors of WALSAA.