Nina Leopold Bradley of Baraboo, Ron Caldwell of Arlington, Howard “Dan” Poulson of Palmyra, Orville and Marie Strachota of West Bend, and Gary Tauchen of Bonduel will receive Honorary Recognition awards Oct. 23 from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The awards will be presented at a banquet in the Memorial Union on the UW-Madison campus. Also at the banquet Len Maurer, retired associate dean for external relations and director of the College”s communications program, will receive the CALS Distinguished Service Award.
Nina Leopold Bradley is a longtime supporter of the College”s Department of Wildlife Ecology. Since returning to Wisconsin in the 1970s, she has worked on ecological education programs and carried out long-term ecological research and restoration work at the Leopold Memorial Reserve and through the Aldo Leopold Foundation.
Ron Caldwell has helped hundreds of Wisconsin farm families weather difficult economic times. Caldwell directed Wisconsin”s Farmers Home Administration from 1983 to 1993, assisting more than 40,000 farmers during the worst farm recession since the Great Depression. From 1993 to earlier this year, he served as ombudsman and financial consultant to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, resolving conflicts between farms and government agencies and policies.
Howard “Dan” Poulson runs a 250-acre grain operation near Palmyra, and has served as president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation for the past 12 years. He currently serves on the state”s Natural Resources Board, and has given his time to many other local and national groups and foundations, including the College”s Board of Visitors.
Orville and Marie Strachota started the Dairyland Seed Company, a family owned, Wisconsin-based company that released the first hybrid alfalfa seed to market, and produces and evaluates germplasm for international clients as well as customers throughout Wisconsin and the nation.
Gary Tauchen and his family built a 60-cow Holstein farm with a stall barn into a showcase of progressive dairying. Tauchen Harmony Valley farm now milks 900 cows in a double-16 parlor, and owns or rents 1,200 acres for forage production and nutrient management needs. For more than 10 years, Tauchen has chaired the advisory board of the UW Center for Dairy Profitability.
Honorary Recognition, the highest honor bestowed by the College, recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions toward the development of agriculture, protection of natural resources, and improvement of rural living. Since 1909, the College has honored nearly 500 people with these awards.
The banquet will be held at the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The reception to meet past and current honorees begins at 5:30, with dinner at 6:30. Dinner selections are roast strip loin of beef ($23) and oven-roasted vegetables in a puff pastry ($17). For reservations, please call CALS Outreach Services, (608) 263-1672. Parking spaces ($3.50) are available in Lot 6 under Helen C. White Library on Park Street across from the Union, and at the Lake Street ramp.
rjc honrec 9/03
Nina Leopold Bradley
She carries one of the most respected names in conservation history, and Nina Leopold Bradley has lived up to that name. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has chosen Leopold for an Award of Distinction for her service to the College, the land, and the people of Wisconsin.
“The Department of Wildlife Ecology owes its existence and current structure and philosophy to Aldo Leopold and the ongoing support and influence of his family; most notably his daughter, Nina Leopold Bradley,” says department chair Scott Craven. “Nina is a strong supporter of our department and conservation causes throughout Wisconsin. She is a willing and effective speaker, conveying her father”s ”land ethic” and environmental sensitivity to numerous UW classes, student organizations, and faculty forums. As a result, Aldo Leopold”s heritage and writings are infused in dozens of UW classes.”
Nina Leopold studied lead poisoning of waterfowl in the 1940s, biology of Hawaii”s Nene geese in the 1950s, behavior of waterbuck on Botswana”s Chobe Game Reserve in the 1960s, and taught at the University of Missouri.
After her husband, Charles Bradley, retired from the University of Montana, in 1976 the couple returned to Leopold”s childhood home in the sand counties of Wisconsin. There they initiated long-term ecological research and restoration that continue today at the Leopold Memorial Reserve.
In 1982 Leopold and her siblings founded the Aldo Leopold Foundation to perpetuate their father”s vision of a land ethic and protect the now-famous Leopold shack. Foundation programs include education, land conservation, management, and restoration, with initiatives for stewardship of private lands. For many years she served as a full-time volunteer for the Foundation; full-time staff were first hired in 1996.
Leopold and Bradley helped establish a program of ecological education, restoration and research called the Leopold Fellows; most participants conducted their research on or around the Reserve. The Leopold Fellows program has generated a number of master”s theses and doctoral dissertations, along with more than two dozen publications in scientific journals.
“Nina possesses a gift of empowering those around her, which she has used selflessly to inspire ecological understanding in others,” says Jed Munier, a graduate student in wildlife ecology. “She has demonstrated the ability to turn ignorance into curiosity, to turn frustration into enthusiasm, and to promote positive action. Her understanding of people is no less profound than her understanding of the natural world, and she has found a way to blend the two beautifully. The motto of the Leopold shack, and of leave-no-trace user ethics, is to leave things better than you found them. Nina has certainly left this mark on communities she has touched and individuals she has mentored, as well as the fortunate many she has inspired over the years.”
rjc Leopold Bradley honrec 2003
Throughout his career in Wisconsin agriculture, Ron Caldwell”s motto has always been “Plain Talk, Prompt Attention and Courteous Treatment.” Hundreds of family farmers throughout Wisconsin can attest to the Caldwell approach. This year the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences has chosen Caldwell for an Award of Distinction for his service to the farm families of Wisconsin.
Caldwell served as ombudsman/financial consultant to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection from 1993 to 2003, working one-on-one with more than 160 medium sized dairy/livestock projects and successfully resolving conflicts between the farms and government agencies and policies. He initiated Wisconsin”s first Beginning Farmer Loan Program and created the One Stop Shop at DATCP.
As Wisconsin”s Farmers Home Administration director from 1983 to 1993, Caldwell presided over a $2 billion portfolio and an $11 million operational budget, supervising 285 employees across the state. During his tenure the FmHA assisted more than 40,000 farmers through the most difficult farm recession since the Great Depression. Caldwell modernized the agency and reduced statewide staffing by 7 percent while improving customer service, and he built the Wisconsin FmHA guaranteed loan program to become the best in the nation.
From 1958 to 1983, Caldwell owned and operated Caldwell Farms, farming more than 4,000 acres on the Arlington prairie. The farm produced and marketed alfalfa, corn, peas, snap beans, cattle and hogs. The Caldwell farm was chosen to represent the nation”s farms on the first worldwide television program shown via satellite.
Earlier this year Caldwell established RCAC, an agricultural consulting firm, to continue a role as an ombudsman and financial consultant in the private sector. He is also actively involved with his farm, sharing obsolete buildings with the Amish community and restoring other buildings as Caldwell heritage. The farm has been in the Caldwell family for 136 years.
Caldwell has always been active in farm and community organizations, serving on the boards of the International Chamber of Agriculture, Wisconsin Rural Health Development Council, Wisconsin Rural Leadership Program, St. Mary”s Hospital, Production Credit Association, Poynette School District, and Columbia County Cattlemen, to name just a few.
Caldwell”s career in agriculture has been distinguished by his willingness and effectiveness in helping his fellow farmers. “It was because of Ron”s effort at FmHA, where he insisted producers get the extra chance and be treated fairly by a Federal agency, that some producers and their sons and daughters can say they are still farming today,” wrote Ben Brancel, who worked with Caldwell when he was Wisconsin ag secretary.
“People are aware of Ron”s big successes, including building a 4,400 acre farming operation, feeding out 5,000 cattle and 2,500 hogs a year, and his success as state FmHA director. But for each of the big successes there are many individual successes,” writes Everett E. Chambers. “It might be salvaging a failing employee but understanding and directing that person, or helping a producer who was at his wits” end with nowhere else to turn. It might be gaining forbearance for a producer from a lender, working through siting issues to meet the requirements of all stakeholders, or just sorting through the numbers and giving a business direction and a way that will work.”
Or, as one grateful recipient of Caldwell”s assistance stated, “We would not be here today without his help.”
rjc Caldwell honrec 2003
Howard “Dan” Poulson
As a leader in Wisconsin”s agriculture industry for almost 50 years, Howard “Dan” Poulson has a distinguished record of service to both the state”s farming community and to the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. This year, Poulson has been honored with an Award of Distinction, the highest recognition bestowed by the College on citizens of Wisconsin.
“It is difficult to talk about Wisconsin agriculture without Dan Poulson”s name being mentioned,” says Rick Daluge, a CALS Assistant Dean and Director of the Farm and Industry Short Course program. Poulson began his service career shortly after graduating from the Short Course program in 1955, when he was elected president of the state”s Future Farmers of America program.
For the past 12 years Poulson, who has a 250-acre grain operation near Palmyra, has been the president of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation. Under his leadership membership has increased-including involvement by young farmers-and several legislative goals have been achieved, such as the implementation of use-value assessment on farmland. He currently serves on the state”s Natural Resources Board and has helped to set board land acquisition policy that preserves the rights of farmers, according to Herb Behnke, a fellow board member.
Poulson has served on the CALS Board of Visitors and for other local and national non-profit groups and foundations. He has worked with a range of organizations, including local school boards, 4-H and the Trade Advisory Committee for the American Farm Bureau Federation. In all his efforts, Poulson “is not driven by his own ego, but rather gets satisfaction seeing the accomplishments of farmers working together and seeing other farmers become leaders in agriculture and in their communities,” says Daluge.
Poulson”s friends and colleagues say that his ability to motivate others makes him a true leader. “Dan”s intellect combines an excellent balance of vision with practicality, and enthusiasm with realism,” says Tom Lyon of Cooperative Resources International. “While climbing the leadership ladder, he never forgets the views of those he represents. He is of the highest integrity, and his word is always good.”
kw Poulson honrec 2003
Orville and Marie Strachota
As the founders and owners of Dairyland Seed Company, Orville and Marie Strachota guided their business, based in West Bend, as it became the largest privately-held seed company in the United States. Throughout the years, the Strachotas have demonstrated a commitment to research and support for both Wisconsin”s farm industry and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. This year, the College has chosen the Strachotas for an Award of Distinction, the highest recognition it bestows upon citizens of Wisconsin.
“In spite of expanding national and international interests, Dairyland Seed has retained its Wisconsin interests and continues to support the research and educational efforts of the College,” says Dan Undersander, a CALS professor of agronomy. He notes that the company spends twice the industry average of revenue on research, and has produced germplasm that set standards for the seed industry.
Orville and Marie married in 1944, and operated his family”s store and the Strachota Seed Company, which bought and sold white clover, in St. Killian. Orville took responsibility for his family”s business after the untimely death of his father a few years earlier; he left Marquette University after three years to support his mother and sister.
The Strachotas eventually decided to sell the store and concentrate on the seed business, expanding into the alfalfa market. As their business grew, they offered a full lineup of both forage and hybrid and corn seed, which no other seed suppliers were doing, says Undersander. As time went on, the Strachotas expanded their operation to include research facilities, plants, offices and warehouses in Wisconsin, California, Indiana, Illinois and Iowa. Today, Dairyland Seed produces and evaluates germplasm for international clients, as well as customers across the United States.
“Dairyland spends 15 percent of its revenue on research, in contrast to an average of seven percent for the rest of the seed industry,” explains Paul Sun, the Vice President of Research at Dairyland. “This is a big undertaking for a family-owned company. However, under Orville Strachota”s leadership, the first hybrid alfalfa seed was released to market. This endeavor has benefited many American farmers and alfalfa growers worldwide.”
Dairyland”s success has brought the Strachota”s opportunities to sell. However, they want to keep it “a Wisconsin family-owned company in Wisconsin,” says Ray Reisdorf, past President of L.L. Olds Seed Company. “Orville and Marie are of the highest integrity and raised their family with the same values.”
Today, the Strachota”s three sons are running the company, and following the good example set by their parents: individuals of great integrity, leaders in their local community and strong spokespersons for the seed industry.
kw Strachota honrec 2003
Over the last 27 years, Gary Tauchen has helped to build his family”s dairy farm into a showcase of progressive dairying, while sharing his expertise and leadership skills with the College and dozens of county, state and national agricultural organizations. This year the College will honor Tauchen with an Award of Distinction, the highest recognition it bestows upon citizens of Wisconsin.
Tauchen is herd manager of Tauchen Harmony Valley, Inc., a family owned and operated dairy farm near Bonduel. Tauchen”s parents and three brothers fill out the farm”s management team. The farm employs 14 people, and hires professionals to assist in herd nutrition, milk quality, nutrient application, crop and environmental management, and other areas.
The Tauchen family moved to their current farm in 1976, initially milking 60 Holsteins in a stall barn. By the early 1990s they were milking 120 head and looking to modernize. They completed their second modernization project in 2000, and now milk 900 cows in a double-16 parlor. Today Harmony Valley owns or rents 1,200 acres of land, which meets its needs for nutrient management and forage production for the dairy herd. The herd averages 26,850 pounds of milk, 975 pounds fat, and 810 pounds protein.
Tauchen has chaired the UW Center for Dairy Profitability advisory board, and has served on the dairy science department”s advisory committee since 1990. He is a founding board member of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin, and also of Cooperative Resources International, the nation”s first agri-business holding cooperative. He has served on USDA national advisory committees and with many agricultural organizations and advisory committees in Wisconsin, at both the county and state level.
“Gary Tauchen is the herd manager and a partner in a very successful, progressive dairy farm business. Their business is often presented as a model of modern dairy farm organization and management,” says Lou Armentano, chair of the dairy science department at UW-Madison.
“Gary has given generously of his time and leadership to a broad array of community, state and national organizations, including dairy farm organizations, agricultural cooperatives, state and county government, education, and the USDA,” Armentano says. “Gary”s participation in these positions of leadership brings a vision of a progressive future and views the issues from the perspective of what is best for society as a whole. He serves with great humility, honesty and integrity.”
rjc Tauchen honrec 2003