Meet the nine board members of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.
Chair Miranda Leis (Term June 12, 2017 – May 1, 2023)
Miranda Leis, a project manager for CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley in LaFarge, is presently Director of the Monroe County Farm Bureau. She has been an active member of the Wisconsin Farm Bureau since 2005, currently serving on the Policy Development Committee. Previously she held the position of Young Farmer and Agriculturalist Chair on both the county and state Farm Bureaus. Miranda is also involved with the La Crosse Chapter of the Project Management Institute and received her degree in animal science with an emphasis in dairy production and nutrition.
Andy Diercks (Term June 12, 2017 –May 1, 2023)
Andy Diercks, along with his father, owns and operates a 2,800-acre potato and vegetable farm in Coloma. Andy has been farming since 1993 and received his bachelor of Science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Agriculture Engineering. He was elected President of the Wisconsin Agricultural Stewardship Initiative in July 2001 and was elected President of the Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association in February 2002.
Dennis Badtke (Term May 1, 2013 – May 1, 2019)
Dennis Badtke of Rosendale is currently Chief Appraiser for Badgerland Financial. He also raises cash crops along with his brother on their family farm near Rosendale. Dennis is on the Board of Directors for the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers and serves on the Plan Commission and Board of Appeals for the Town of Springvale in Fond du Lac county. He is an appointed member of the Fond du Lac County Condemnation Commission and serves as a Council Member and Treasurer of the Rosendale United Church of Christ. Dennis holds a B.S. and M.S. degree from UW-Platteville.
Dean Strauss (Term May 1, 2013 – May 1, 2019)
Dean Strauss of Sheboygan Falls is managing partner of Majestic Crossing Dairy. Dean, his family and partners milk 1900 cows and farm 3,000 acres dedicated to alfalfa, corn, wheat, and soybeans. Dean is past President of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and previously served on the Wisconsin Beef Council board of directors. Currently, Dean serves on the Executive Board for the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board and is the current chair of the Dairy Policy Committee for the Wisconsin Farm Bureau. Dean received his bachelors of animal science from the University of Wisconsin Platteville.
Nicole Hansen (Term June 5, 2013 - May 1, 2019)
Nicole Hansen manages 850 acres of cranberries near Necedah. After growing up on a dairy farm near Ontario, she obtained her bachelors of science degree in 1997 with a biology major and chemistry minor. Nicole currently serves on the Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association Board, chairs the research committee, the best management practices working group, serves on the education committee and represents the cranberry industry on the National Institute for Sustainable Agriculture Producer Board.
Paul Palmby (Term April 13, 2015 - May 1, 2021)
Paul Palmby has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Seneca Foods Corporation since 2005. He grew up on a farm in Southeastern Minnesota and is a 1985 graduate of Iowa State University with a Degree in Agricultural Business. In his 28 years with Seneca, he has served in various management roles in the company beginning in the agricultural department and progressing through various operations responsibilities to his current role. Paul has served on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Food Processors Association, the Midwest Food Processors Association, the American Frozen Food Institute and Wisconsin FFA Foundation. He has also served as board member and Chairman of the Board for the Wisconsin FFA Sponsor’s Board as well as the Produce for Better Health Foundation. He served two appointments by Secretary of Agriculture Ann Venneman and Secretary Mike Johanns to USDA’s Fruit and Vegetable Industry Advisory Committee from 2002-2006 and currently serves on the Board of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.
Greg Zwald (Term July 28, 2015 – May 1, 2021)
Greg Zwald, along with his wife, have owned White Pine Berry Farm near River Falls since 2012. Prior to that, he was a partner with his brother at Bomaz, a 500 cow Registered Holstein farm, operating about 1400 acres. Greg served on the AMPI (Associated Milk Producers Inc.) board for 15 years, including years as Treasurer and Vice President. He has also been active in the Wisconsin Farm Bureau, serving on the Policy Development, Dairy and Volunteers for Agriculture committees in previous years. Greg has also been involved with local land use issues and zoning issues in St. Croix County. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and the Leadership Wisconsin program.
Kurt Hallstrand (Term January 5, 2017 - May 1, 2021)
Kurt Hallstrand and his wife Christina own the original family homestead farm founded in 1884, located in Prentice, Wisconsin. Kurt, along with his family, operates a registered Black Angus Ranch. The ranch consists of about 1600 acres of hay, corn, oats, and pasture land. Kurt also owns and operates a timber harvesting business. He is active in many other cattle organizations and is currently the President of North Central Wisconsin Cattlemen’s Association. Kurt has three children and one granddaughter.
Paul Bauer (Term October 11, 2017 - May 1, 2023)
Paul Bauer has been the CEO of Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery in Ellsworth, Wisconsin since
2008. He received a degree in Agricultural Business from the University of Wisconsin – River
Falls. He previously held positions with the Burnett Dairy Cooperative, Antigo Cheese and
Blackfoot Cheese, and Kraft Foods.