Bob Hagenow of Poynette, Mary Klecker of Cambridge, and John Louis of Richland Center, will receive Honorary Recognition awards Oct. 26 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.
Honorary Recognition is the highest honor bestowed by the College. It recognizes people who have made outstanding contributions toward the development of agriculture, protection of natural resources and improvement of rural living. The College has honored more than 400 people since the award was established in 1909.
The awards will be presented at a banquet in the Memorial Union on the UW-Madison campus. Also at the banquet, Bernard Wentworth, UW-Madison Professor Emeritus of Animal Sciences, will receive the CALS Distinguished Service Award.
For information on attending the banquet, please call CALS Conference Services, (608) 263-2421.
Bob Hagenow – Volunteer and mentor
Bob Hagenow’s day job is sales manager at Vita Plus, but he has a second full-time job as a tireless volunteer. From coach to mentor, chairman, board member and instructor, Hagenow gives his time to numerous agricultural organizations, with a particular emphasis on youth dairy efforts.
“It boggles my mind where he finds the time to help out so many organizations,” says Ric Grummer, chair of the dairy science department. “But Bob does not volunteer his time for recognition or accolades. He does it out of a sincere interest to keep the Wisconsin agricultural community moving forward.”
Hagenow takes a special interest in youth dairying efforts, including working with state- and county-level 4-H clubs, judging dairy and goat shows, and serving as assistant superintendent of the Wisconsin Dairy Expo for 20 years.
“I have known Bob since I started to dairy judge when I was ten years old,” writes Mark Henize, now a Columbia County dairy farmer and a dairy judging coach himself. “He has helped nurture my dairy judging career, and now that I am farming with my family Bob is still a valued resource.”
A graduate of the College with a degree in dairy science, Hagenow and his wife, Lisa, were the first off-campus advisors for the Badger Dairy Club. He has also served as an instructor at numerous Badger Dairy Camps, helped lead WALSAA fund-raising efforts, and served as a board member for the Association of Women in Agriculture. He estimates that he has written several hundred letters of recommendation over the last twenty years for students and other people competing for scholarships or awards.
On a professional level, Hagenow is renowned as an effective leader and an able communicator, according to David Rischmueller, General Manager of the Middleton Farmers Cooperative Company. “He facilitates the hard or difficult questions that need to be addressed and helps guide those involved to an effective but non-threatening solution. I have never encountered a man as passionate to help those around him, or someone as committed to agriculture as Bob Hagenow.”
Mary Klecker – Educator and conservationist
As an agricultural science teacher at Madison East High School for 29 years, Mary Klecker has inspired her students to pursue advanced degrees in everything from genetics to botany to veterinary science.
Through her leadership in the classroom and community organizations, she guided a generation of young people to careers in agriculture, the life sciences and natural resources.
“Although Wisconsin has produced thousands of outstanding educators, Mary Klecker stands out as the number-one educator in the field of agriculture,” writes Milton McPike, a retired Madison high school principal and current member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. “She has had an impact on thousands of students and opened the doors for hundreds to pursue careers in all areas of science, technology and teaching.”
As the agriculture science instructor at East High School, Klecker plans curriculum, oversees a greenhouse and five-acre laboratory plot, writes grants, arranges field trips and other hands-on learning opportunities, and advises the district’s year-round FFA program.
“Mary plans activities that open her students” world to the outdoor classrooms of the fields, greenhouses, zoos, stables and farms,” says McPike. “She exposes urban youth to experiences they never dreamed of, and with expectations to get their hands and minds involved. She expands the traditional view of agriculture through scientific study, bus
iness education and technology.”
A farmer herself, Klecker owns Out West Farm, Inc., near Cambridge, a 231-acre bison operation that uses low-input, sustainable practices. She also holds numerous professional affiliations and positions, including Director of the Dane County Conservation League, Superintendent of the Dane County Fair Association, and Vice-President of the Wisconsin Association of Agriculture Instructors. An alumna of the College, Klecker has presented at state and national seminars on women in agriculture, teaching non-traditional students, biotechnoloy, and sustainable agriculture.
“Mary is one of the first women in the nation to teach agriculture and is a trailblazer in a male-dominated profession,” says Dan Kvalheim, advisor for the Deforest Future Farmers of America program. “She has earned the respect of everyone who works with her and has raised the bar in agricultural education.”
John Louis – Skilled farmer and research partner
If you like your apple pie with a slice of cheese, you can benefit from both of John Louis’s farm enterprises.
As the senior manager of Oakwood Fruit Farm and Applouis Registered Holsteins in Richland Center, John Louis has built one of Wisconsin’s premier orchards and established a showcase operation in the dairy industry – and has helped UW-Madison researchers advance science in the process.
“Through John’s leadership and use of the UW research, his operation has become a showcase,” says Steve Kohlstedt, an associate professor and UW-Extension agent in Richland County. “It is a prime example of how what a person learns in Short Course can be immediately put into practice on the farm, and how knowledgeable cooperators can work with UW researchers for on-farm research. This is truly the Wisconsin Idea.”
A 1956 graduate of the UW-Madison Short Course program, Louis was allowed to make many of the management decisions on what was then his father’s fruit farm. Under his guidance, the apple orchard has grown to more than 200 acres and includes a retail and wholesale operation. Louis also finds time to hold numerous volunteer and leadership positions, and is known as a wise decision-maker and consensus builder.
In the spirit of the Wisconsin Idea, Louis welcomes University of Wisconsin scientists to do research and demonstration trials in his orchards, where environmental pressures favor different types of pests than those found in the College’s experimental orchards near Sturgeon Bay. Louis and his family are respected as collaborators who understand the importance of research and of following scientific methodology, says Kohlstedt.
Louis’s operation also includes one of the best Holstein herds in southwestern Wisconsin, which he established based on his experience showing cattle in 4-H and the Short Course training he received. Honored with an Outstanding Holstein Breeder Award by the Richland County Holstein Breeders, Louis uses science to keep his operation on the cutting edge of technology. He also allows Short Course to use his farm as a training site, and welcomes international trainees and field day visitors.
“John embodies the best characteristics of a modern businessman and farmer, with a generosity of spirit that makes him most deserving of this award,” says John Aue, a fruit grower consultant who works closely with Louis.